MIT EECS Department Facts

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Department Overview

Electrical engineering was originally taught in the Physics Department at MIT. A new degree program in electrical engineering was started in 1882. The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in the fall of 1902, and occupied its new home, the Lowell Building, when MIT was still located near Copley Square in Boston. The Department dedicated its present facilities in the Sherman Fairchild Electrical Engineering and Electronics complex, including Buildings 36 and 38, in the fall of 1973, and in Building 34, the EG&G Building, in 1987. In 1975, the Department's named was changed to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, reflecting its growing involvement in the computer-science field. The Stata Center (Building 32), which was dedicated in 2004, houses the Department's activities in computer science, communications, and control.

The Department's primary mission is, of course, the education of its students. Its four undergraduate programs traditionally have attracted more than 20 percent of all MIT undergraduates, and its doctoral programs are highly ranked and selective. A leader in cooperative education, the Department has operated the highly successful VI-A Internship Program since 1917. In 1993, it established a five-year Master of Engineering program, under which MIT undergraduates stay for a fifth year and receive simultaneous bachelor's (SB) and master's of engineering (MEng) degrees. That program's curriculum spans the traditional boundaries between undergraduate and graduate student experience and aligns with the traditional disciplines of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Throughout the Department's history, its faculty, students, and alumni have made major, lasting research contributions, some of which have opened up entirely new fields of study.

Historical Moments

  • Electrical Engineering, Course VIII-B, started in the MIT Physics Department (1882)
  • Electrical Engineering designated as Course VI (1884)
  • First two Electrical Engineering bachelor's degrees awarded (1885)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering established (1902)
  • First doctorate in Electrical Engineering awarded (1910)
  • VI-A cooperative (internship) program started (1917)
  • Engineering-science emphasis placed in the curriculum (1950 - 1970)
  • Department decided not to split into two departments (1974)
  • Department renamed, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (1975)
  • First bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Engineering awarded (1975)
  • First Master of Engineering degree awarded (1994)

 

Department Heads

  • Louis Duncan (1902 - 1904)
  • Harry E. Clifford (acting, 1904 - 1907)
  • Dugald C. Jackson (1907 - 1935)
  • Frank A. Laws (acting, 1918 - 1919)
  • Vannevar Bush (acting, 1929 - 1930)
  • Edward L. Moreland (1935 - 1938)
  • Harold L. Hazen (1938 - 1952)
  • Gordon S. Brown (1952 - 1959)
  • Jerome B. Wiesner (acting, 1959 - 1960)
  • Peter Elias (1960 - 1966)
  • Louis D. Smullin (1966 - 1974)
  • Wilbur B. Davenport, Jr. (1974 - 1978)
  • Gerald L. Wilson (1978 - 1981)
  • Joel Moses (1981 - 1989)
  • Paul L. Penfield, Jr. (1989 - 1999)
  • John V. Guttag (1999 - 2004)
  • L. Rafael Reif (2004 - 2005)
  • W. Eric L. Grimson (2005 - 2011)
  • Anantha P. Chandrakasan (2011 - present)

 

Associate Department Heads

  • Gordon S. Brown (1950 - 1952)

 

From Electrical Engineering:

From Computer Science:

 

Directors, VI-A M.Eng. Thesis Program

  • William E. Wickenden (1917 - 1918)
  • [program suspended] (1918 - 1919)
  • William H. Timbie (1919 - 1947)
  • Eugene W. Boehne (1947 - 1959)
  • Richard H. Bolt (acting, fall 1959)
  • Eugene W. Boehne (1959 - 1960)
  • J. Francis Reintjes (1960 - 1969)
  • John A. Tucker (1969 - 1987)
  • Kevin J. O'Toole (1987 - 1993)
  • J. Francis Reintjes (acting, 1993 - 1994)
  • Markus Zahn (1994 - 2015
  • Tomás Palacios (2015 - present)