The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT ) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts known traditionally for research and education in the physical sciences and engineering, and more recently in biology, economics, linguistics, and management as well.
Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, the institute used a polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction. MIT's early emphasis on applied technology at the undergraduate and graduate levels led to close cooperation with industry. Curricular reforms under Karl Compton and Vannevar Bush in the 1930s emphasized basic science. MIT was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934. Researchers worked on computers, radar, and inertial guidance during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. The current 168-acre (68.0 ha) campus opened in 1916 and extends over 1 mile (1.6 km) along the northern bank of the Charles River basin.
Today, the Institute comprises various academic departments with a strong emphasis on scientific, engineering, and technological education and research. It has five schools and one college, which contain a total of 32 departments. Eighty-one Nobel laureates, 52 National Medal of Science recipients, 45 Rhodes Scholars, and 38 MacArthur Fellows have been affiliated with the university. It is one of the most selective higher learning institutions, and received 18,109 undergraduate applicants for the class of 2016—only admitting 1,620, an acceptance rate of 8.95%.
MIT also has a strong entrepreneurial culture. The aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world.
The "Engineers" sponsor 31 sports, most teams of which compete in the NCAA Division III's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference; the Division I rowing programs compete as part of the EARC and EAWRC.