MIT EECS Department Facts

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Department Overview

Electrical engineering was originally taught at MIT in the Physics Department. 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 Building 34, the EG&G Building in 1987. In 1975 the Department recognized its growing activity in computer science by changing its name to Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. The Stata Center, dedicated in 2004, houses the Department's activities in computer science, communications, and control.

The primary mission of the department is the education of its students. Its four undergraduate programs traditionally have attracted over 20% 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 undergraduate students stay for a fifth year and receive simultaneously a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Engineering degree. The five-year curriculum is structured and seamless across the traditional boundary between undergraduate and graduate student, and seamless across the traditional disciplines of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

During its history faculty and students of the Department have made major, lasting research contributions, some of which have opened up entire new fields of study.

Historical Moments

  • Electrical Engineering, Course VIII-B, started in 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)