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Style Guidelines


By convention, the following abbreviations do not contain periods.

MA and all other postal codes
SB, MBA, PhD and all other academic degrees

In general, use the abbreviated reference to the United States only as an adjective or when referring to a unique organization, such as the US Department of Energy.

If the text refers to a street address, abbreviations such as St. are acceptable.


When referring to a campus organization in text for the first time, use its full name followed by the acronym or abbreviation, if appropriate. Thereafter, the acronym alone may be used. Avoid use of acronyms in headers.


The Lecture Series Committee (LSC) is a student-run organization which provides speakers for the MIT community. The LSC is funded by its program of classic and current films.


In the catalog description of a center, school, or program, please make the first mention of the unit's name a link to its website. Additional contact information should in the final paragraph.


Additional information can be obtained from the East Asian Studies advisor, Professor Peter C. Perdue, Room E51-291, 617-253-3064, fax 617-253-3065.

For information on MIT addresses refer to MIT Mail Services.

Alumni and Alumnae

An alumna is a woman; an alumnus is a man. Alumnae refers to women only; alumni refers to men or to women and men. Capitalize the word class when designating the year of graduation. Other options are to abbreviate the year, or refer only to the year of graduation.


Gwen Crevensten, Class of 1996

David Nixon, MBA '97


MIT's building numbers are unique. Under the numbering system, a single room number serves to completely identify any location on the campus. In a typical room number such as 7-121, the digit(s) preceding the hyphen give the building number; the first digit following the hyphen, the floor; and the last digits, the room. Thus Room 7-121 is in Building 7, on the first floor; Room 7-321 is directly above it, on the third floor.

Buildings on the main campus east of the Great Dome have even numbers and those west of it have odd numbers. Don't expect to find Building 6, for instance, next to Building 5. Buildings west of Massachusetts Avenue are designated W; those north of the Conrail tracks, N; those east of Ames Street, E; and those north of the railroad and west of Massachusetts Avenue, NW.

Names of campus buildings are capitalized, even when buildings are referred to by their numbers.


The infinite corridor, one of the main thoroughfares at the Institute, runs a distance of 825 feet, or 251 meters, between Building 7, the Massachusetts Avenue entrance to MIT, and Building 8, opening on Eastman Court.

The Student Center Plaza is bounded on the west by Kresge Auditorium and on the east by the Chapel.


The following examples illustrate the use of uppercase and lowercase when referring to specific degrees, subjects, and requirements.

MIT degrees

Bachelor of Science, SB, the bachelor's degree
Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, the doctoral degree
Doctor of Science, ScD, the doctoral degree
Mechanical Engineer, the Mechanical Engineer's degree, degree of Chemical Engineer, the engineer's degree
Master of Science, SM, master's degree
Master of Finance, MFin, master's degree

MIT requirements

Communication Requirement
Communication Intensive-Humanities / CI-H
Communication Intensive-Humanities Writing / CI-HW
Departmental Program requirements
departmental requirements
General Institute Requirements
graduate subjects or graduate-level subjects
HASS Requirement
HASS-Arts Requirement / HASS-Arts / HASS-A
HASS-Humanities Requirement / HASS-Humanities / HASS-H
HASS-Social Sciences Requirement / HASS-Social Sciences / HASS-S
HASS-Elective / HASS-E
HASS Concentration
Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement
Laboratory Requirement
Minor Program (the minor in)
REST Requirement
Restricted Electives in Science and Technology Requirement
School-Wide Electives
Science Requirement
Writing Requirement
undergraduate subjects or undergraduate-level subjects


When referring to an organization such as a center, laboratory, program, project, or department, only the proper name is capitalized.


The Program in Theater Arts offers an opportunity for the serious study of acting, directing, playwriting, stagecraft, and design.

The program is very similar to that of a music major at leading liberal arts colleges and universities.

The department has no general foreign language requirements.

Students who have been admitted to either the Department of Urban Studies and Planning or the Department of Architecture can propose a program of joint work in the two fields that will lead to the simultaneous awarding of two degrees.

Schools and College

There are five schools at MIT:

School of Architecture and Planning

School of Engineering

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Sloan School of Management

School of Science

Their proper names are capitalized, as are shortened references in contexts where the school's specific identity is clearly established. Generic references to schools (plural) or school offerings are not capitalized.


The School of Architecture and Planning focuses on the study and design of the human environment.

The School offers a number of undergraduate academic programs embracing several disciplines.

Course, subject

At MIT, the word Course is capitalized when it refers to an organized curriculum leading to a specific degree. Students sometimes refer to the Course in which they are enrolled as their major.

The word course is lowercased when it refers to an individual class, or subject. Each Course at MIT is designated by a number or abbreviation; subjects are given numbers that contain the Course number.

For example, Course 2 and Course 2-A are curricula in Mechanical Engineering; subject 2.05 is a class in Mechanical Engineering.

By extension, Course 2 is also used to refer to the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

When referring to subjects provide the number of the subject and then the title. Do not separate with commas.


The department offers two courses of study.

Course 16's faculty, staff, and students are engaged in a wide variety of research projects.

Students who decide to major in chemical engineering are encouraged to take subjects such as 5.11 Principles of Chemical Science, 5.12 Organic Chemistry I, and 10.001 Introduction to Computer Methods in their freshman year.


Undergraduate Courses at MIT lead to the degree of Bachelor of Science (SB).

Graduate degrees include:

Master of Architecture


Master of Science


Master of Engineering


Master in City Planning


Master of Business Administration


Master of Finance



*See below for specific degrees

Doctor of Philosophy


Doctor of Science


Engineer degrees include:

Chemical Engineer


Civil Engineer


Electrical Engineer


Engineer in Aeronautics and Astronautics


Engineer in Computer Science


Environmental Engineer


Materials Engineer


Mechanical Engineer


Metallurgical Engineer


Naval Engineer


Nuclear Engineer


Ocean Engineer


Faculty lists

The following categories and ranks of faculty and teaching staff are included in the catalog:

Associate Professor
Assistant Professor

Professor of the Practice

Visiting Professor
Visiting Associate Professor
Visiting Assistant Professor
Adjunct Professor

Senior Lecturer
Honorary Lecturer

Technical Instructor

Visiting Lecturer
Visiting Instructor

Affiliated Artist

Senior Research Associate
Senior Research Engineer
Senior Research Scientist

Principal Research Associate
Principal Research Engineer
Principal Research Scientist

Research Associate
Research Engineer
Research Scientist

Research Specialist
Technical Associate
Technical Assistant

Research Affiliate
Research Fellow

Visiting Engineer
Visiting Scholar
Visiting Scientist

(Entries appear in alphabetical order. This list includes Senior Lecturer/Professor Emeritus.)



Treat letters referring to grades as normal text (not bold or italic). When possible, contextual clues such as the word "grade" help to clarify meaning.


When use of the passing grade P is authorized, it reflects performance at any of the levels A, B, or C, with the student graded on a P/D/F basis.

The grade I remains permanently on the student's record even when the subject is complete.


Do not use numbers merely to highlight listed items. Numbered lists imply that the data is ordered and finite. A display of items numbered 1 through 8 suggests that there are no more than eight items, and that the first item is more important than the eighth or that there are eight steps to follow in order.

Bullets are a visual device used to call attention to important material. They do not imply a hierarchy, and are most effective when they call out items longer than two lines. If too many bullets are close together, they create a pattern that distracts rather than attracts the reader. A list of very short items is usually set off sufficiently by beginning each item on a new line. A very short list, just two or three items, is probably best run into the text.

Personal pronouns

Avoid use of first person pronouns (I, we, mine, our, me, us) in catalog text whenever possible.


Refer to the first term as the fall term and the second term as the spring term.


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