The Arts

Arts on the MIT campus are rooted in experimentation, risk taking, and imaginative problem solving. Eminent artists such as Erik Demaine, Junot Díaz, John Harbison, Joan Jonas, Keeril Makan, John A. Ochsendorf, Jay Scheib, and Evan Ziporyn teach at MIT, and have collectively received numerous awards, among them the Pulitzer Prize, Grammy Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, and MacArthur Fellowship.

  • The Institute offers degrees in architectural design, studio art, and in history, theory, and criticism of architecture and art through the School of Architecture and Planning, and in comparative media studies, music, theater, and writing through the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
  • Nearly 80 percent of incoming freshmen have prior training in the arts.
  • More than 50 percent of all MIT undergraduates enroll in arts courses each year—with nearly half of students participating in music and theater classes and performance groups.
  • Students can participate in more than 60 music, theater, visual arts, writing, and dance groups.

MIT's program in architecture was the first established in the United States. Notable alumnus and Pritzker Prize winner I. M. Pei ’40 designed four buildings for the MIT campus.

The MIT Museum draws nearly 125,000 visitors each year to programs and exhibitions exploring the foundations and frontiers of science and technology.

The MIT List Visual Arts Center explores contemporary art making in all media. In addition to presenting six to eight exhibitions annually, the center maintains and adds to MIT’s permanent collection of over 3,500 artworks that includes dozens of publicly sited sculptures and hundreds of paintings, prints, photographs, and drawings located throughout MIT’s campus.

The Student Loan Art Program allows MIT students to borrow hundreds of works of art to hang in their living spaces.

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT celebrates innovative talents in all arts disciplines and is one of the most generous cultural honors in the United States. Recent recipients of the award include architect David Adjaye (2016), artist Olafur Eliasson (2014), and director, filmmaker, playwright, and actor Robert Lepage (2012).

The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, established in 2012, facilitates and creates opportunities for artists to exchange and collaborate with engineers and scientists in a culture of exploration, knowledge, and discovery.