Opportunities for Exploration
Your MIT education involves much more than your classroom experience. The entrepreneurial spirit is prized and encouraged; opportunities abound! If you cannot find what you want, you can create it.
Click on one of the links below for more information on some of the opportunities at await you at MIT.
Ready to learn about the intellectual breadth of MIT's extended community and to explore an educational field in greater depth? Read this section to learn more about what's available to you.
- Academic Societies: Associated with MIT major departments, these societies provide a means for you to network with others who share similar interests and/or professional goals. Becoming involved with societies can help you connect with students and faculty in your major and can help you hone communication skills, build leadership skills and solidify your career choices. Visit the Community page of the MIT web site for a list of links to academic society web sites.
- Independent Activities Period (IAP): During this four-week period in January, when you are freed from the rigors of regularly scheduled classes, you can explore some of the things you're interested in but don't have time for during the regular academic year. IAP is a time to learn in a relaxed, more informal environment. There are more than 600 activities and approximately 100 for-credit subjects to participate in. If you have skills or knowledge that you'd like to share with others, consider organizing an activity or teaching a class during IAP. Check out the IAP web site for complete information.
- Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP): You can work alongside faculty and researchers, participating in each phase of research activity.
- Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP): Sophomores who are majoring in engineering gain practical experience and an understanding of what is required to transition into and succeed in the "real world."
- MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI): Working closely with a network of premier corporations, universities and research institutes, MISTI annually matches hundreds of MIT students with all-expenses-paid internships and research abroad. Program Managers prepare students to be successful in their internships through MIT courses in the language and culture of the host country. Currently MISTI is offering internships in Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland.
- Go Global: A subsection of the Global MIT website. Be sure to also view the MIT Global Education and Career Development website, which provides information on the various global opportunities available to MIT students.
Mens et manus is more than MIT's motto. The Institute abounds with opportunities to explore with both your mind and hands.
- The Edgerton Center: If you wish to do independent hands-on projects or learn new skills, the Center can provide a machine shop, a darkroom, materials, advice, and instruction in basic electronics or robotics. The Center also offers seminars with a hands-on focus, including digital image processing, woodworking, robotics, and introductory electronics. During the Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January, staff members teach skills that students can use in their Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) research projects. Subjects for the training sessions include practical electronics, scientific photography, and metal fabrication. Check out the Edgerton Center web site for more information on its programs and resources.
- Peter J. Eloranta Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships: Every year, summer research fellowships are awarded to a number of undergraduates. These $6000 fellowships are intended to encourage and support challenging and original intellectual discovery or research. Areas of research or study may be in any field – science, engineering, humanities, arts and social sciences. A proposal and faculty recommendation is required. See the Eloranta website for complete information.
- Lemelson-MIT Program: Do you consider yourself an inventor? Are you an innovative problem solver? Develop these skills as an undergraduate and when a senior you may quality for a Lemelson award. The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates students who demonstrate remarkable inventiveness and who can transform their ideas into accomplishments. All MIT seniors and graduate students are eligible to apply regardless of their field of study. Learn on the Lemelson-MIT website.
- MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition: This student-managed competition provides an opportunity for you to collaborate with others and exercise your talent and creativity and provides valuable resources crucial to successful entrepreneurship to [participating teams. learn more by visiting the MIT 100K website.
- Student Competitive Teams: The Edgerton Center supports a wide range of student activities that build hands-on projects. The Center sponsors the Solar-Electric Vehicle Team, which builds and races solar-powered cars in the US, Japan, Australia, and elsewhere. It's also the home of of a number of other student groups and teams. See the Student Groups section of the Edgerton Center web site for more information.
Your undergraduate education should not consist solely of academics. You also need to keep yourself physically active and healthy. Getting involved with athletics, team sports, or simply exercising are great ways to blow off some steam.
Here are some links to additional information on MIT health and wellness programs.
- Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER): fosters the growth of the competitively active student, while keeping sight of the Institute’s academic standards. DAPER brings students, faculty, and staff together in educational activities that promote healthy lifestyles, enhance a sense of community, foster growth in leadership and teamwork skills, and encourage the pursuit of excellence. DAPER services include: Physical Education, Athletics (Intramurals, Varsity Sports, and Club Sports), and recreation opportunities.
- Community Wellness at MIT Medical: sponsors a wide range of wellness classes, including yoga, meditation, weight management, fitness, and many others.
Building strong leadership skills is of paramount importance to your academic and career development. Student groups and potential employers are also looking for students with good communication and leadership skills.
Luckily, MIT provides a number of opportunities for you to gain these important skills. Some of the most popular options are detailed below. However, remember MIT's entrepreneurial spirit, if you want something you can make it happen. So, if none of the opportunities listed below fits your interests, consider starting your own community or service group.
- Leadership Development Opportunities @ MIT: This is a comprehensive new site that features a searchable database of all of the various leadership development opportunities that are available to you at MIT. Consider this the first place to start your search as you can search for opportunities by focus area (e.g. leading organizations, practical managerial skills, community and diversity and more), or by type of activity, time of year, location, etc. Visit the site today to learn more about leadership development at MIT.
- Associate Advising: Becoming an associate advisor is a great way to help freshmen make the transition to MIT. Associate advisors work closely with freshman advisors and assist first-year students in subject selection, finding UROPs, internships and summer jobs, and locating resources. Being an associate is a great way to connect with freshmen, but more importantly is a great way to hone your leadership skills as many associates assist faculty and staff with the administration of freshman advising seminars. To learn more about the program, expectations and how to become involved, please see the Associate Advisor web site.
- LeaderShape: This intensive six-day leadership development experience is highly interactive. You develop skills in problem identification and problem solving, professional ethics, decision-making, dealing with uncertainty, working within a diverse community, and interpersonal communication. Each participant creates an individual plan of action designed to bring positive changes to the campus community and carries out the plan during the following academic year.
- The MIT Leadership Training Institute (LTI) is an initiative to get in touch with local high school students to boost their leadership skills by pairing them with MIT undergrad mentors. The program focuses on disadvantaged high school students in the greater Boston metropolitan area and is targeting minorities.
- MIT Committees: If you have an interest in policy or curriculum issues, there are many Faculty, Presidential, Corporation, and Undergraduate Association committees that need student representatives. Your commitment to a committee will vary depending on the committee's function: some are only busy for a month, while others have several meetings a year, and yet others meet every couple of weeks over lunch. Being a Committee representative is an excellent opportunity to voice your opinion and the opinions of your peers. There's something for everyone. For a more detailed information, please see the Institute Committees web site. If you have questions about serving on committees, contact the Undergraduate Association (UA).
- Student Groups and Organizations: Opportunities exist to participate in more than 300 student groups, including music, and theatre performance groups; international and language groups; academic societies; service and special interest groups; business and entrepreneurship groups, living groups and Greeks; sports and athletics; and more. For additional information check out the Association of Student Activities (ASA).
- Student Ambassadors Program: MIT Student Ambassadors are a select group of diverse students who are dedicated to the positive promotion of MIT. As an Ambassador, you would serve as a liaison between the current student body, the Institute, alumni/ae, and prospective students. The Student Ambassadors serve as an essential component of the Institute's overall public relations effort. See the Alumni Association web site for details.
- Student Government: Want to have a say in how your class is governed or have input on the MIT undergraduate experience? If so, then consider becoming involved with student government. See the Community page of the MIT web site for a list of student government groups and organizations.
Do you have skills that you'd be willing to share with others on campus, those in the surrounding Boston/Cambridge community, or those in developing nations? If so, consider seeking out community service and volunteerism opportunities.
The Public Service Center (PSC) provides opportunities for you to experience the personal rewards of community service. If you're interested in public service, consult PSC staff for programming information, guidance, and support. The PSC also has many opportunities for students seeking funding for public service projects.