Massachusetts Institute of Technology
#9 Overall Influence#3 Desirability Rank

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

By James Barham, PhD

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded shortly before the American Civil War and universally known as “MIT,” is located just across the Charles River from downtown Boston. Starting from the MIT campus, if you walk, cycle, or drive in a westerly direction along Massachusetts Avenue (“Mass Ave,” to the locals), or ride the Red Line underneath it, you soon arrive at Harvard Square, with the bulk of the town of Cambridge sandwiched in between. Thus, MIT is not unlike a bookend paired with Harvard, geographically speaking, and academically speaking, as well, it looks upon itself very much as the equal of the older school.

The main difference, of course, is MIT’s greater emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines. This may be seen, above all, in the whopping 96 Nobel Laureates associated with the school, including such stellar names in physics as:

  • Hans Bethe
  • Max Born
  • Richard Feynman
  • Murray Gell-Mann
  • Robert Laughlin
  • Julian Schwinger
  • Frank Wilczek
  • Charles Townes

MIT-connected Nobel Laureates in chemistry include:

  • Sidney Altman
  • Thomas Cech
  • Elias Corey
  • Peter Debye
  • Robert Mulliken
  • Robert Woodward
  • Ada Yonath

Among those awarded the Prize for their work in physiology or medicine are:

  • Werner Arber
  • David Baltimore
  • Andrew Fire
  • Leland Hartwell
  • Robert Horvitz
  • Salvador Luria
  • Susumu Tonegawa

MIT also boasts 26 Turing Award recipients (second only to Stanford), including:

  • Tim Berners-Lee
  • Barbara Liskov
  • Fernando Corbato
  • Shafi Goldwasser
  • Butler Lampson
  • Ronald Rivest
  • Silvio Micali
  • Marvin Minsky
  • Michael Stonebraker

As for mathematics, MIT can claim eight Fields Medalists, including:

  • Paul Cohen
  • Alessio Figalli
  • John Milnor
  • Daniel Quillen
  • William Thurston

But MIT is not just about the STEM disciplines, important as they are. It is also highly respected for several of its social sciences departments, especially economics and linguistics.

In economics, MIT people include:

  • George Akerlof
  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Esther Duflo
  • Bengt Holmström
  • William Nordhaus
  • Paul Romer
  • Robert Shiller
  • Richard Thaler
  • Oliver Williamson
  • Paul Krugman
  • Joseph Stiglitz

As for linguistics, suffice it to say that MIT has been the academic home of Noam Chomsky since 1955. This fact alone has been enough to turn MIT into Ground Zero of the deep structure/transformational grammar revolution in the study of human language during the 1950s and 1960s, and a veritable Mecca for generations of students ever since. Chomsky’s theoretical innovations, which swept away most intellectual opposition decades ago, continue to this day to provide the basic conceptual framework for linguistics as an academic discipline.

Among MIT – connected philosophers, we may mention Saul Kripke and Hubert Dreyfus.


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139-4307

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

32 per 100k

Violent Crime

0 per 100k

City Crime Rates

Property Crime

21 per 100k

Violent Crime

3 per 100k

What is Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#1 World Rank #1 USA Rank
#1 World Rank #1 USA Rank
Computer Science
#6 World Rank #3 USA Rank
#5 World Rank #4 USA Rank
#7 World Rank #4 USA Rank
#5 World Rank #4 USA Rank
#9 World Rank #4 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#5 World Rank #5 USA Rank
#8 World Rank #5 USA Rank
#9 World Rank #6 USA Rank
#23 World Rank #7 USA Rank
#11 World Rank #10 USA Rank
Political Science
#17 World Rank #12 USA Rank
#33 World Rank #16 USA Rank
#66 World Rank #36 USA Rank
#101 World Rank #53 USA Rank

Other areas of influence

#15 World Rank #11 USA Rank
#32 World Rank #23 USA Rank
#54 World Rank #45 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#56 World Rank #31 USA Rank
#57 World Rank #47 USA Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Most influential alumni?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Engineering, Computer Science, and Economics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s most academically influential people include Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, and Norbert Wiener.

Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky

American linguist, philosopher and activist

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Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman

American economist

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Norbert Wiener
Norbert Wiener

American mathematician, scientist in cybernetics and artificial intelligence

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Claude Shannon
Claude Shannon

American mathematician and information theorist

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Joseph E. Stiglitz
Joseph E. Stiglitz

American economist, professor, and recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

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Hans Bethe
Hans Bethe

German-American nuclear physicist

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David Baltimore
David Baltimore

American biologist

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Murray Gell-Mann
Murray Gell-Mann

American physicist

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William Shockley
William Shockley

American physicist and inventor

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Raymond Kurzweil
Raymond Kurzweil

American author, scientist, inventor, and futurist

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Charles Murray
Charles Murray

American libertarian political scientist, author, and columnist

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Ellen Swallow Richards
Ellen Swallow Richards

American chemist

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