For Prospective Students

Our undergraduate program provides a top-notch education in science and engineering fundamentals while emphasizing creative design and cutting-edge research projects that provide real-world context and hands-on laboratories.

In Course 1 you learn how to understand the Earth’s biomes; design benign materials; model air, water and climate; discover new energy resources; and build sustainable infrastructure and cities. Emphasizing the use of emerging technologies, you can focus your studies on large data, computation, probability and data analysis, and learn how to combine theory, experiment and modeling to understand and solve complex science and engineering problems.

Course 1 is an exciting place that attracts students and faculty from a very broad range of academic disciplines who work together to contribute to exciting intellectual networks across the department and MIT. Our degree program emphasizes inter- and multidisciplinarity, which provide you with critical skills and an edge in today’s job market.

Our graduates teach and carry out pioneering research in universities, work for and lead engineering firms, launch their own start-up businesses, and hold leadership positions in government and nonprofit organizations. With a degree in Course 1 you can pursue careers in fields as diverse as energy and environment, engineering design, law, medicine and public health. We invite you to join our team and make a difference in the world.

Degree Program

CEE now offers a flexible undergraduate program. The new Course 1 program, 1-ENG, allows students to design their own educational experience, with sample tracks such as Energy; Environmental Engineering Science with flavors in Biology, Chemistry and Physics; Bio-inspired Mechanics and Mechanics for Biology; Sustainable Buildings and Cities; Structures, Architecture and Design; Civil Engineering; Systems; and Transportation (students can design an infinite variety of tracks with their faculty advisor).

The Bachelor of Science as recommended by the Department (1-ENG) provides an option for students who want to design individualized and flexible programs. Any track can be created by combining Course 1 foundational courses with the core subject areas — mechanics and materials, environmental engineering science, systems, or a combination of these — to give students the flexibility of designing unique educational programs to suit their individuals interests, career goals and aspirations. The new program will provide a rigorous foundation in mathematics, computation, probability and statistics, and data analysis. Educational tracks  emphasize quantitative approaches and offer students ample opportunities to learn and apply course-work knowledge through hands-on laboratory and project-oriented subjects, including the integrative senior design subject or a thesis project that brings together the community of students in Course 1. 

Students are required to complete the General Department Requirements (GDRs) that include subjects in math, computation, probability and statistics, data analysis, and design. Students can choose to follow suggested tracks of study, or design their own.

The CEE degree 1-ENG provides you with a solid sociopolitical background in which many of today’s engineering problems must be solved. Premedical students may satisfy medical school entrance requirements while earning a degree focused on environmental engineering science with proper planning of their program.

The 1-ENG program in civil and environmental engineering emphasizes a rigorous foundation in mathematics, data, and statistics, combined with the flexibility to achieve depth and/or breadth in any field of study (in any area or combinations of areas). The three cores - environmental, mechanics and materials, and systems - emphasize mathematics, mechanics, ecology and design. Sophomore students work together in teams on design projects that synthesize concepts taught in the core subjects. In the junior and senior years, students concentrate on disciplinary subjects that provide depth in each specialty. During the senior year, all students work together in teams on a design subject that integrates lessons learned throughout the undergraduate education. There is ample room in the program for electives and minors to tailor CEE programs to match individual education interests.

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to participate in the research activities of the department (e.g. through UROP during the semester or the summer) and in many cases obtain degree credit for such work. In general, students are advised to plan their programs for the junior and senior years so that they dovetail with possible graduate study, including the department's Master of Engineering degree. This is readily accomplished by those students who embark on the departmental program in their sophomore year. Under certain circumstances, students are permitted to work toward simultaneous undergraduate and graduate degrees.  

“Course 1 has given me the unique opportunity to take on environmental issues in the developing world while simultaneously being a part of cutting-edge research at MIT. In addition to developing a close relationship with my professors, Course 1 stimulates me to think outside the box and to apply myself to real world problems.” — Sidhant Pai, 1 C, ‘14


“The best part about being Course 1 is learning just how broad it is. As a 1E student, I've worked across many disciplines. In my classes and labs, I work with electronics, computer programming, physics, biology and chemistry. In the lab, you are able to design and work on real-world civil and environmental engineering issues, which is a really powerful opportunity! ” — Majdolene Z Khweis, 1 E, ‘15


“Our faculty make every effort to get to know students as people and learn about what makes them tick. The professors know you by name, and ask how your weekend or break was when they pass you in the hallway, even years after taking their class. Our classes encourage us to work in teams and groups, some of which have fostered my best friendships at MIT. We're a friendly, happy major that supports each other both in and out of the classroom” — Linda M Seymour, 1 C, ‘14


“As a 1E undergraduate, I really appreciated how Course 1 addresses issues of public health and sustainability in a multidisciplinary manner using biology, chemistry, physics and social science.” — Fatima Aysha Hussain, 1 E ‘11, Current PhD Student in CEE


"What I appreciate most about CEE is that it is truly a community. This type of atmosphere fosters a collaborative spirit across the many different research areas as well as friendships and professional relationships that last long after you finish your degree." —Joshua Hester 1 C ‘11 and MEng in Environmental Water Quality ‘12, Current PhD Student in CEE