For Prospective Students

Welcome to Course 1! 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. The field of Civil and Environmental Engineering is essential to solving many of the world's greatest challenges, and our undergraduate program provides you with a solid foundation to succeed as practitioner or researcher, as an entrepeneur or innovator or wherever your career may take you.

Take a look at this brochure for more information on Course 1 undergraduate education...get inspired!  For details on the degree structure, please check out this brochure.

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 students, staff and faculty form a close-knit community.

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 to build on the tools of large data, computation, probability and data analysis, and learn how to combine theory, experiment and modeling to understand and solve complex problems.

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

The Course 1 undergraduate program allows students to develop several distinct degree tracks in core disciplinary areas of CEE, built on a set of General Departmental Requirements (GDRs), and one of three cores in mechanics and materials, environmental engineering science, systems. The remainder of the program consists of a set set of electives that deepen the educational program.

The program emphasizes a rigorous foundation in mathematics, computation, probability and statistics, and data analysis. The tracks emphasize quantitative approaches and offer students 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. There are many opportunities to spend time in the labs of our faculty to be actively engaged, in a deep and meaningful level, in solving real-world challenges. In addition to the regular UROP offerings the department offers special undergraduate research opportunities.

General Department Requirements (GDRs)

The General Department Requirements (GDRs) include subjects in math, computation, probability and statistics, data analysis, and design. Students can choose to follow suggested tracks of study, or develop a tailored one in collaboration with their faculty advisor.

Core subjects & beyond

The three cores - environmental, mechanics and materials, and systems - emphasize engineering fundamentals including 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.

Premedical students may satisfy medical school entrance requirements while earning a degree focused on environmental engineering science with proper planning of their program.

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, ‘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 ‘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 ‘14


“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 ‘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 ‘11 and MEng ‘12, Current PhD Student in CEE