Right before school started, I sent out a survey to all the dorms asking what people’s favorite classes were. I received 130 responses listing 205 classes and why they loved that specific class. Here is a summary of those results and a full list of the classes submitted! All the graphs were made by check out his last blog post on emails for more pretty graphs
Top X Classes by Class Year
I forgot to add class year as an option on my form, and by the time I realized, 30 people had already filled out the form. So, this is based on around 100 responses. In addition, I tried to rank the top 5 classes but only 8 2020s responded to my survey and all with different classes. I couldn’t decide which five classes to keep, so I included all. For the rest, I included the class/classes with the highest frequency, and if the total was less than five, I listed the next most frequent class/classes. Also, shoutout to the alumni who responded!
- 6.004: Computation Structures (1)
- 6.033: Computer Systems Engineering (1)
- 6.046: Design and Analysis of Algorithms (1)
- 6.832: Underactuated Robotics (1)
- 9.13: The Human Brain (1)
- 24.211: Theory of Knowledge (1)
- 21M.301: Fundamentals of Music (1)
- 21M.605: Voice and Speech for the Actor (1)
- 6.115: Microcomputer Project Laboratory (2)
- 6.815: Digital and Computational Photography (2)
- 7.26: Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease (2)
- 9.53: Emergent Computations Within Distributed Neural Circuits (2)
- 12.001: Introduction to Geology (2)
- 21L.590: The Spanish Incubator (2)
- 11.011: The Art and Science of Negotiation (3)
- 6.002: Circuits and Electronics (2)
- 6.031: Elements of Software Construction (2)
- 6.046: Design and Analysis of Algorithms (2)
- 6.08: Introduction to EECS via Interconnected Embedded Systems (2)
- 6.UAT: Oral Communication (2)
- 8.033: Relativity (2)
- 2.00B: Toy Product Design (2)
- 21W.762: Poetry Workshop (2)
- 2.00B: Toy Product Design (3)
- 3.091: Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (2)
- 5.12: Organic Chemistry I (2)
- 6.042: Mathematics for Computer Science (2)
- 6.08: Introduction to EECS via Interconnected Embedded Systems (2)
- 18.01: Calculus (2)
- 18.03: Differential Equations (2)
- 21W.747: Rhetoric (2)
- 6.011: Signals, Systems and Inference (1)
- 6.172: Performance Engineering of Software Systems (1)
- 12.400: Our Space Odyssey (1)
- 18.504: Seminar in Logic (1)
- 18.700: Linear Algebra (1)
- 18.701: Algebra I (1)
- 8.012: Physics I (1)
- 16.07: Dynamics (1)
- 21L.434: Science Fiction and Fantasy (1)
Top HASS Classes
- 11.011: The Art and Science of Negotiation (5)
- 21L.015: Children’s Literature (3)
- 21W.755: Writing and Reading Short Stories (3)
- 21W.762: Poetry Workshop (3)
- 4.021: Design Studio: How to Design (2)
- 9.85: Infant and Early Childhood Cognition (2)
- 24.901: Language and Its Structure I: Phonology (2)
- 21A.157: The Meaning of Life (2)
- 21L.590: The Spanish Incubator (2)
- 21W.022: Writing and Experience: Reading and Writing Autobiography (2)
- 21W.747: Rhetoric (2)
- STS.050: The History of MIT (2)
I went through the reasons people submitted and tried to label common reasons. Some are relatively straight forward such as good problem sets or great professors and staff. A lot of the reasons mentioned the content of the class in different ways, which I tried to capture by separating them into different categories though there is some overlap. Content: New Experience is the category I used for reasons that mentioned that the class was the first time someone learned something. Content: Applicable addresses reasons related to learning a new skill relevant to their intended career or major, was relevant to the real world, etc. I used Content: Insightful if the reason mentioned that the class changed their life or perspective, gave them a deeper understanding of something, etc. Reasons that mention the class as a good introduction class, the class gives students a lot of freedom, etc. A few people mentioned that they made connections in their major or interested community through their class. I labeled up to three categories per reason.
At first, I was a little surprised that great teaching would outrank interesting or insightful content, but it made more sense the more I thought about it. An amazing teacher can present the most boring material as the most fascinating thing but interesting content can only carry a class for so long.
- Professor/Teaching/Teaching Staff (114)
- Content: Interesting (83)
- Content: Insightful (46)
- Class Structure (44)
- Content: Fun (33)
- Content: New Experience (15)
- Content: Applicable (14)
- Discussions (9)
- Problem-Sets (6)
- Friends/People (5)
Lastly, here is a list of all classes and their reasons organized by course and ranked by the number of times mentioned, which is the number in parentheses.
Course 2: Mechanical Engineering
2.00B: Toy Product Design (6)
- Overall fantastic experience, even virtually. The teaching team is amazing, they put in so much effort, and it’s such a FUN class!
- Amazingly fun and hardly any hardcore maths or physics calculations. Lots of teamwork and designing. Also get to go on field trips and buy things for your projects using a budget. The class ends with a final playsentation something very unique to any other class you will take at MIT.
- so much fun. i felt like a little kid again. really great intro to the design process, and the course staff is so passionate about the class.
- The staff really cared about us and all the effort they put into the class really made me feel valued and supported. After going online last semester they worked extremely hard for all of us to still benefit from a class that was not easy to transfer to remote learning. The passion for the subject that each instructor and TA had was contagious and made every part of the class a great experience.
- First experience with product design and the different methods/ways to go about it along with how working together in groups (along with its frustrations) could come together to be really cool!
- Amazing class! fantastic staff! mini 2.009!
2.001: Mechanics & Materials I (1)
- I love Simona ❤️❤️ Engineering queen and the labs were pretty fun
2.009: Product Engineering Processes(1)
- 2.009 is just a really hype class but that is not why I love it. I love 2.009 because it has high stakes in ways other classes don’t. The pressure of the class feels more real because you know the entire school will be watching your product presentation rather than just your classmates. I think learning how to work under real pressure is beneficial and exciting. It’s also just a great way to learn how to work on a large team and leverage your teammate’s strengths. This was the class that reminded me why I wanted to be an engineer to begin with.
2.00C: Design for Complex Environmental Issues: Building Solutions and Communicating Ideas (1)
- Real! World! Impact! 2.00C gave me opportunities I never would have dreamed of. Not only did I get hands-on experiences as a first year, I got to connect with real world clients (in my case, the mayor of Orocovis, Puerto Rico) to work on a project that would improve the quality of life in his community. This was one of the only classes where I felt like I was really connecting with the world outside of MIT, and where I could actually work on making a tangible difference.
2.013/4: Engineering Systems Design & Development(1)
- people don’t give the non 2.009 course 2 capstones enough credit. you actually do stuff in 2.013, have much more control over what your project turns out to be, and you are not subject to cutesy sound effects and confetti cannons. So big ++ all around.
Course 3: Material Science and Engineering
3.091: Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (2)
- a really fun spin on chemistry (I’m generally not a fan of chemistry), engaging and entertaining professor
- 3.091 helped me discover my interest in course 3! At the end of each class we would discuss how the concepts from that day were used in the real world and what jobs those could lead to. I always felt more rewarded by these classes because I knew exactly what impact my curriculum was having on the world – I knew why I was learning it. That really made me more excited to learn each day.
4.021: Design Studio: How to Design (2)
- I was able to explore a new field that I hadn’t before and was able to work more with my hands.
- amazing professors and a great intro to course 4 as a department
4.500: Design Computation: Art, Objects and Space (1)
- I looked forward to every lecture because I knew I would come away inspired. I felt like I genuinely learned useful skills in creative design from modeling, rendering and prototyping. All through the lens of furniture design! It was amazing to see our chair prototypes in 3d printed, laser cut and CNC cut forms. However, what really made the class stand out was our amazing teacher, Larry Sass! He created such a positive learning environment by prioritizing learning over grades. I am so thankful for that because it enabled me to focus on improving without the stress. Larry encouraged the class to be creative which really showed in my classmate’s unique designs. There were rough times during that semester, from my computer breaking down and my chair model experiencing issue after issue and Larry was just incredibly understanding and let me know that I was going to be OK. He’s a great guy and I’m glad I had the opportunity to be his student. Larry Sass was the first Black professor I’ve ever had. It was great to see someone who looked like me in his position.
5.12: Organic Chemistry I (3)
- – the content was presented so things just made sense. after struggling through a semester of 5.112 and deciding that maybe I don’t like chem, 5.12 swooped in and hit me with that “conceptual understanding” and all of a sudden molecules were my friends and chem was fun again! 10/10 professors. they knew what they were talking about and everyone knew it. all explanations were crystal clear and it was so nice to learn from them! I especially liked this class because of how pleasantly surprised I was. I had heard the class would be horrible and had very very low expectations, but the combination of the content and teaching staff easily made it my favorite class of the semester!
- Really easy, fun PSETs
- This one might be a surprise; it definitely surprised me! I went into 5.12 thinking I would hate it and struggle through the content based on what I had heard from other classmates as well as the general stigma against organic chemistry. However, I loved the different way of thinking that organic chemistry requires as you navigate molecular structures and mechanisms. Professor Danheiser’s lectures were awesome, and his plethora of practice exams were even more awesome, so I felt well-prepared for exams. I ended up liking the class so much I went on to take 5.13!
5.13: Organic Chemistry II (1)
- A beautiful expansion on the concepts in 5.12, 5.13 explores why organic reactions happen the way they do. The integration of MO theory into the course makes it so much more interesting. Also, Laura Kiessling. That’s it.
5.03: Principles of Inorganic Chemistry I (1)
- This class is wild. It’s really your first introduction to the beauty of transition metals. And the professors (Yogi and Dan!!!) are both amazing. Shoutout to An and Trevor for being the best TA’s.
6.08: Introduction to EECS via Interconnected Embedded Systems (7)
- My first ever experience with hardware.
- I didn’t really have much computer science experience and I wasn’t really sure if it was for me, but taking 6.08 made me realize that 1) computer science could be fun and 2) I wasn’t as bad at it as I thought I was. The class was incredibly helpful with guidance and the office hours provided. All the LAs were so kind and really focused on making sure we understood concepts, alongside Joe Steinmeyer, the professor. It was just a really engaging and encouraging environment that helped me become more acquainted with computer science.
- Challenging but I learned a lot of cool things and the professor was super chill!
- engaging/funny professor, really fun class overall
- Building cool hands on projects – and Joe Steinmeyer!
- JOE STEINMEYER
6.006: Introduction to Algorithms (4)
- I learned to think differently
- Most incredible TAs ever!!!
- Though I found 6.006 difficult, I really think it changed the way I solve problems. It taught me how to break down problems into sub-problems, how to not only use but understand the tools I’m given to solve those sub-problems, and how to communicate my solutions effectively. Plus the teaching staff of Spring 2020 was phenomenal!
- They teach the concepts SO well my mind was blown at least once every class and ofc the TAs are all legends for carrying us through. bye jason ku </3
6.042: Mathematics for Computer Science (3)
- loved the mathematical zoo aspect
- It’s like math contests the class
- Everything’s like a fun logic puzzle, and Srini Devadas is an amazing teacher.
6.046: Design and Analysis of Algorithms (3)
- Even though I feel that 6.046 could be better run/managed, I genuinely enjoyed the material I learned in this class. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I actually plan on taking 6.854 this coming semester (Lord, help me). It probably helped that I took this class on PE/NE last semester, but I felt that the algorithms I learned in that class were actually very interesting. I believe that 046 also helped me improve my problem solving skills, and the class gave me more confidence in my ability to create more interesting solutions to a variety of different algorithmic problems I may face. Also, I found the TA’s to be very helpful.
- I think it was the first time I combined all the stuff we learned in math with CS and everything just fit so well.
- So cool, and relatively well-taught. It really forced me to think hard and helped me prove to myself that I was learning and getting smarter at MIT!
6.UAT: Oral Communication (3)
- Technical skills are important, but equally important is the way you convey technical topics. I didn’t appreciate this fact nearly as much until I took this class. There are so many things you have control over when you present, and thus the way you distill complex information to an audience is an art in itself. This class helped me see the beauty and practical importance in the art of technical communication.
- became a much better presenter
- We’ve all given so many presentations in school, and mostly just read off of slides, have tons of bullet point text, and go through the motions.. I’d always look at people who were actually good at making engaging presentations, and think “Wow, they really are born with this gift”… but who knew that that skill is learnable?? 6.UAT really will make your presentation skills (your slides, your voice, your general confidence, your engaging-ness) 5000 times better
6.009: Fundamentals of Programming (2)
- I’m a nerd, and I love programming ^-^ This class has fun and interesting psets that allowed me to improve my programming skills.
- The labs we did solved interesting problems
6.004: Computation Structures (2)
- It was cool to learn exactly how and why computers work. I feel like I have a solid grasp on my field now that I’ve seen the most basic aspects of both software and hardware. As a bonus, learning to use computer instructions helped me understand C/C++ in another class. Things fell into place naturally.
- SO well taught, and it leads to a fascinating world of computer systems (operating systems, hardware systems, security systems – you name it!). Above all, it answered that question that I had always wondered but never asked out loud: how does a computer even work???
6.002: Circuits and Electronics (2)
- I loved the concepts in 8.02, and I loved seeing them applied to do useful things in 6.002. The professors, Joel Voldman and Joe Steinmeyer, provide pre-written notes in lecture to make our lives easier and are really enthusiastic and approachable. The labs tie-in the week’s lessons well, and you can see how each component plays a role in the larger system you build over the whole semester. I left the class feeling competent and confident in my circuit skills.
- Joe Steinmeyer is an amazing professor and the labs were so fun!
6.011: Signals, Systems and Inference (2)
- Course staff is the most helpful I’ve ever had. They actually care about how you are best learning the material and how they are best teaching it. Not to mention, the content is very useful and broadly applicable.
- It’s an amazing class taught by the people who pioneered signals and systems. Even though I’m not particularly focused on EE, this was the first class that I felt pushed me to enjoy the material simply because of how well it was taught.
6.031: Elements of Software Construction (2)
- It’s so useful and Goldman could literally make me excited about watching paint dry I love his enthusiasm so much <3
- Built software with a functional end product without relying too much on staff-provided code
6.034: Artificial Intelligence (2)
- The class is pretty easy, but the concepts were also very interesting. Also, there were speakers that came in every week or so and talked with us about their research, and it helped me realize where and how AI is actually used in the real world. Also, even though I think ML is cool, it was nice to know that the realm of AI is much broader than just machine learning, and also includes concepts like knowledge representation, search methods, statistical inference, and other cool stuff. In short, I felt that this class was a nice introduction to the field of AI.
- This class changed my life! It gave me an incredible appreciation for intelligence, both machine and human. Through a vast variety of topics and lesson styles, I was able to learn not simply about AI, but also about AI in the industry and in research. I think 6.034 achieved the perfect balance of encouraging students with challenging problems while providing opportunities to grow soft skills. I loved the class because Dr. Winston effectively taught the intricacies of various topics in AI as well as how those topics connected to the larger world, industry, and other fields.
6.115: Microcomputer Project Laboratory (2)
- Very hands on, it was the reason I came to MIT in the first place.
- Building things from scratch is fun.
6.172: Performance Engineering of Software Systems (2)
- It’s an incredibly enriching experience, and it really opened my eyes to a lot of new material regularly. It’s certainly drinking out of a firehose, but it’s incredibly worthwhile (perhaps the firehose has some sweetener in it). And while most of the students in the class are over competitive to a fault, it’s also entirely possible to meet really clever people who are down to earth, and can provide a new mode of thinking.
- An incredibly rewarding, incredibly difficult course
6.815: Digital and Computational Photography (2)
- The material is really cool! You learn lots of awesome things about how cameras, the human visual system, and photoshop work. Plus, it’s a pset-only class, with lots of opportunities for extra credit.
- The professor!! And because it’s basically How To Make Photoshop 101
6.301: Solid-State Circuits (1)
- It was really interesting conceptually, and Harry Lee taught it really well and was very engaging
6.170: Software Studio (1)
- The most useful class if you’re considering full-stack developer as a career. The professors are amazing, the lectures are all interesting (you’ll learn so many things related to UI design, and there’s not a lot of MIT class that teaches this), and the projects are also interesting. When I took it, my teammates in the final project groups are amazing and we still keep in touch > 1 year since I took the class!
6.033: Computer Systems Engineering (1)
- Explains how computers, the internet, and modern computer systems are designed
6.003: Signal Processing (1)
- Learning about the Fourier transform, and applying those concepts to music and images was really engaging.
6.832: Underactuated Robotics (1)
- Russ Tedrake is an incredible professor and delivers extremely engaging lectures. He has played a dominant role in the creation and advancement of the underactuated robotics research domain, and his passion and experience shows in every class. He truly cares that his students understand the material and adapts to their needs. 6.832 caters to several different courses (primarily 2, 16, 6) and cognizant of that, Professor Tedrake ensures that the lectures are very accessible and walks through the basics before adding layers of complexity. I had no experience in robotics or control theory prior to taking the class, but 6.832 helped me find a new interest that I hope to continue to explore! I felt especially fulfilled while working on the final project and realizing how much I had learned about the domain over the semester. It’s amazing how much you can care about and learn from a class with the support of a passionate, effective teaching staff. Major s/o to the TAs too for sharing Russ’s principles and enhancing our learning experience.
6.857: Network and Computer Security (1)
- Cryptography taught by the R from RSA. Must I say more?
6.904: Ethics for Engineers (1)
- Rory is an amazing Professor, and we went through so many philosophy texts and case studies. It was the most interesting class at mit hands down
6.809: Interactive Music Systems (1)
- Prof. Egozy is amazing and you get to create cool things like your own implementation of Guitar Hero!
6.884: Computational Sensorimotor Learning (1)
- The professor was great, I learned a ton about a field I’ve been interested in for a while (Reinforcement Learning), and the professor is also super open to just talking about ideas with students. The discussions were very interesting, and we were forced to read a ton of papers to get up to speed with the field. So I learned a ton, and got to interact with an awesome teaching staff.
7.26: Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease (2)
- Teachers are super passionate, a big focus on reading and understanding literature, super relevant!
- It was so interesting! We learned about so many different aspects of infectious disease biology that were super cool– like how fungi propagate, or how different viruses store their genetic information. We also read a couple of papers a week, which I felt helped me a lot to get context for what we were learning in class, and get an intuition for reading and interpreting different kinds of experiments. The class did a good job with both in person (pre-COVID), and virtual styles. The exams were actually fun sometimes because they asked really interesting questions that we had to research to answer.
7.012: Introductory Biology (1)
- Eric Lander, by far the most amazing professor I’ve had; he succeeded to make me love the subject even though I’m an electrical engineer. + I really enjoyed the stuff we learned and the exams and psets (disclaimer: most of what we learned was new to me)
7.03: Genetics (1)
- Super interesting content and very well taught
7.05: General Biochemistry (1)
- As a high school biology student, I fell into the common trap of memorizing reactions without fully grasping the “how” or “why.” How do the different domains of a protein kinase act to stabilize ATP and the substrate, resulting in a phosphorylated substrate? Why do we even need NADH and NAD+? Biochemistry teaches us to understand fundamental principles, with a focus on applying them to novel and challenging tasks with particular relevance to human physiology. Prof. Yaffe and Prof. Vander Heiden’s funny demonstrations (push-up contest?!) were a bonus!
7.06: Cell Biology (2)
- Cheeseman and Lamason care so much about delivering a well taught class! The topics I learned in this class have honestly been some of the most useful, the real basics of any biology or biochem research. They focus on techniques and examples. Plus Cheeseman brings a disco ball and does a dynamin dance.
- The class I was looking forward to taking as a course 7, and it showed that cells are wonderful and mind blowing.
8.033: Relativity (2)
- It’s a very well taught class, with a good balance between theory and physical relevance. Filled with lots of classic problems that are tractable but still applicable. Good for both 18 and 8 majors, though difficult.
- It completely changes how you think about EVERYTHING. Plus you learn how black holes work. :3
8.282: Introduction to Astronomy (2)
- It was amazing to learn about the universe in a fun and accessible way. I also took it with Prof. Frebel, who is awesome.
- Max Tegmark was amazing, and it’s such a good introduction to astronomy!
8.01: Physics I (1)
- A lot of my friends took this class with me and I enjoyed collaborating with them especially in my freshman fall when I was still adjusting to everything
8.012: Physics I (1)
8.04: Quantum Physics I (1)
- In all of the physics classes I’ve taken so far (which is only like 5, including both GIRs, but still), I felt that 8.04’s professors and staff cared the most about its students. Now, this isn’t to say that no one in 8.01 or 8.02 or any other physics class doesn’t have staff that want you to succeed, but I felt that 8.04 was the first physics class I’ve taken at MIT where I felt that the professors and TA’s all cared that I learned the material, which was rather comforting. Also in my “totally objective” opinion, quantum physics is an awesome subject to learn.
8.20: Introduction to Special Relativity (1)
- 8.20 was a super fun and enjoyable introduction to special relativity.
9.53: Emergent Computations Within Distributed Neural Circuits(3)
- 9.53 really gives you a fresh perspective on machine learning and frames the modern deep-learning craze among its historical predecessors. The material taught in this class is not often taught anywhere else, and it forces you to reconsider how you view modern ML. Plus, the instructors are really fun (AI winter is coming!)
- Small intimate class and very interesting material
- Robert Ajemian carries this class. I generally think that anything you learn in a class, you could just as easily find and learn about on your own, but this class introduced me to many ideas that I doubt I would have found on my own.
9.13: The Human Brain (2)
- You get to take class from the woman who discovered the fusiform face area (Nancy Kanwisher). Bonus: she’s not just an amazing research scientist, she’s also a very engaging lecturer. You’ll explore interesting questions about the mind and the brain in a way you never thought possible.
- Nancy Kanwisher is the neuroscience grandma you wish you had. She’s so passionate about cognition and research, and she makes the effort to try and get you excited about human cognition too.
9.40: Introduction to Neural Computation (2)
- This class explored a variety of fascinating topics, ranging from using computation in neuroscience to applying phenomena in neuroscience to computer science. I enjoyed how it was broken into various segments, as I felt like the class had good breadth, and I got to learn about a lot of different options in neural computation. Dr. Fee was amazing too!
- Neural computation was my first exposure to the world that our fellow 6-9 majors call computational neuroscience. Most of my computer science experience had been developing Minecraft plugins and trying out machine learning techniques on datasets, but I had never before applied these skills to modeling neurons in the brain! The class also introduced concepts from electrical engineering, such as spectral analysis, to understand and predict output of our sensory systems. Overall, this class was a nice mix of application and theory centered around neuroscience.
9.85: Infant and Early Childhood Cognition (2)
- Laura Schulz is my queen. And you learn about babies!!
- It was really engaging! It’s a class where I felt I learned about the process of science and experimental design on a deeper level and the prof was super excited about teaching it which made it enjoyable. Also, babies are cute and kids are silly so it was fun to learn a lot about how they think and reason about the world.
9.09: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (1)
- amazing content
9.19: Computational Psycholinguistics (1)
- Engaging lectures, interesting topics, helpful staff, very clean online transition.
9.46: Neuroscience of Morality (1)
- This is the best structured class I’ve ever taken. Every assignment contributes directly to your understanding of morality in the brain and experimental design. Rebecca’s excitement about the subject is infectious.
9.59: Laboratory in Psycholinguistics (1)
- For all the linguistics buffs out there, 9.59 is a hidden gem, as a class to follow 24.900. It sets up linguistics from an experimental perspective, and guides you towards conducting original research after just half a semester of learning about the current state of the field. 9.59 gives you just the right amount of confidence and support to do original work, and isn’t particularly intimidating or restrictive. This is one of those classes that is valuable because it teaches you a *mindset* that transcends the skills you learn, and it’s awesome for anyone interested in both course 9 and linguistics.
10.302: Transport Processes (1)
- The class unified so many different areas of what we aim to learn as chemical engineers, and the professors were amazing!
11.011: The Art and Science of Negotiation (5)
- Incredible class, hard work but totally worth it! Really teaches you how to navigate being a person in the world, and all of its lessons are immediately applicable to everyday life and personal development. Also, Bruno is amazing.
- It gave me more of the mindset that the world is very malleable and imperfect, and thus that there’s a ton of room for me to have an impact. Most of us have skills that allow us to take on a ton of technically challenging projects, but I think it’s also important to be gutsy enough to choose the right projects to work on. This class gives you a mindset that allows you to be gutsy enough to take on some of these impactful projects. It made me feel like the world runs on decisions created by a bunch of imperfect actors with many biases many times acting in their own interests. This not only made me realize that there’s a lot of room for improvement, but that you can make an argument for basically anything. So if there’s a reason for you not to do something, then there’s probably an equally valid reason for you to do that thing.
- professor individually gets to know students, learned many real-world negotiation skills I find myself using
- Bruno Verdini was an absolutely phenomenal instructor!! 11.011 helped me completely change the way I view negotiations, arguments, or any interaction between two parties.. Life isn’t zero sum; it’s always possible to create win-wins!
- Negotiation is a unique and introspective class that made me rethink how I interacted with those around me and improved my relationships!
11.005: Introduction to International Development (1)
- Great teacher, Ayan Meer, it forced me to read a lot of difficult books on topics that i was personally interested
12.001: Introduction to Geology (2)
- 12.001 Is a great introduction to earth science! It covers a broad variety of topics and includes fun labs. In non-pandemic years, there is also a camping trip!!
- The class was super engaging and we learned all about how earth processes work and different rocks are formed. We also went on a fieldtrip to Western Mass and got to see fossilized dinnosaur footprints! I learned so much and the class sparked my interest in geology.
12.000: Solving Complex Problems (1)
- As the Terrascope fall class, I got to know a lot of people I definitely would never have met otherwise! I also really enjoyed getting to do so much group work and having so much autonomy in the class, as the professors are mostly there to assist and guide, not to tell us what to do. Since the class is called Solving Complex Problems, it was interesting to see all the different facets of a problem (such as hurricane recovery and resilience) and just what makes it complex. We also experienced firsthand how it’s not really possible to address every facet of a problem throughout the class as we put together a proposal for a possible solution. The class definitely illuminated some of the many difficulties that administrations face as they try to solve different complex problems of their own.
12.007: Geobiology: History of Life on Earth (1)
- Geobiology introduced me to a new field and really interesting concepts, like deep time, microbial fossils, environmental microbiology, biogeochemistry, and past climate reconstruction from stable isotopes. Really great intro to how the Earth and life have evolved together, plus cool stuff about looking for life outside Earth and understanding climate change.
12.177: Astrobiology, Origins and Early Evolution of Life (1)
- It’s not offered this year, but I loved the class when I took it. Being able to witness Astrobiology grow as a science firsthand is incredible, and the study of the early Earth and the origins of Life itself is absolutely fascinating to me.
12.400: Our Space Odyssey (1)
- Learned eye-opening things about space
12.409: Hands-On Astronomy: Observing Stars and Planets (1)
- This class didn’t even feel like a class –– 12.409, Observing Stars and Planets, is a perfect mix of learning what goes on behind the aesthetics and physics within astronomy! We also take a few trips to MIT’s very own Wallace Observatory to check out a darker sky with less light pollution.
12.A02: Exploring the Solar System (1)
- This was my freshman advising seminar and I loved it! You learn how to do amateur astronomy, and work your way up to using a 6-inch (iirc) telescope. You get to see incredible views of MIT and Cambridge (you observe on the roof of a building). Not only that, you get to see the night sky in a different way. Through the telescope, I saw the rings of Saturn, the Galilean satellites of Jupiter, a nebula, a double star system, an incredible full moon, and so much more, and I got pictures of all of them (not just phone pictures, actual camera photos). It was an amazing experience. I would highly recommend the class, even if you’ve never had a telescope and all you’ve ever done was look at the stars in awe (that was me). There’s also a more involved version of the class offered in the spring, 12.409!
14.13: Psychology and Economics (1)
- 14.13 is really fascinating. I’m generally interested in economics and psychology (if it’s backed up by some data), and 14.13 is a wonderful intersection of those two.
14.44: Energy Economics and Policy (1)
- It built on skills from prerequisites to allow us to better understand the complexities of the energy market and the role of policy in shaping consumption behaviors. The class was interesting, energetic, challenging and exciting to go to every day! I am I took this class!
15.279: Management Communication for Undergraduates (1)
- Our professor and TA got to know us on a personal level and truly carried about the quality of the class. When things transferred to online, our professor constantly checked in with us to make the best transition to virtual learning, and even brought snacks our last class meeting. In addition, due to the small class size of fifteen and outgoing nature of many of my peers, the class became a tight knit group — to the extent that on our last day of class, we made and presented memes about our semester to each other!
16.07: Dynamics (1)
- Instructor, material, problems
17.309: Science, Technology, and Public Policy (1)
- It’s cool to take some time to learn how all the technical stuff we do in other classes affects society
17.50: Introduction to Comparative Politics (1)
- Great professor and TA, and the small class vibes led to great discussions
18.03: Differential Equations (3)
- Seymon Dyatlov is the best.
- Really interesting, fit together really nicely
- Semyon Dyatlov, the second most amazing professor I’ve had; I was thrilled to be in every lecture, he was hilarious, and his lectures were super engaging
18.600: Probability and Random Variables (3)
- Scott Sheffield is an amazing Professor. The class really made me think about the beauty behind probability.
- Sheffield’s story time (i.e. learning the fundamentals of probability but still applying them to interesting real-world situations)
- Scott Sheffield is a national treasure.
18.01: Calculus (2)
- Completely changed my understanding of calculus and helped me fall in love with math again. Also the professor is amazing and genuinely takes the time to get feedback and connect with students.
- Professor Larry Guth is amazing we love him
18.701: Algebra I (2)
- Best problem sets ever
- Two really fun classes to learn algebra. Took 18.700 first and then 18.701. Made me think about math in a different way. First “real” math class.
18.100A: Real Analysis (1)
- I loved this class mainly because Prof. Rodriguez is funny and amazing and is VERY helpful in office hours!! (He is also teaching is fall 2020 :D) But aside from the professor, this class is very interesting for people who have not had any proof experience (like me), and it offers insight into how Calculus actually works (as compared to just remembering formula in most high-school-level mathematics!)
18.212: Algebraic Combinatorics (1)
- Crazy, interesting, and intriguing
18.404: Theory of Computation (2)
- Professor Sipser is one of the best lecturers at MIT! He does a great job of explaining the material in a simple, intuitive way, and he’s always open to questions. During the lectures, he checks up on us from time to time to make sure that we’re alive and understanding the concepts. Best of all, he has a great sense of humor. The class also covers really interesting topics, such as how to write a program that outputs itself, and how to show the equivalence of seemingly unrelated problems.
- Teacher and textbook (and problems) are all funny/awesome.
18.410: Design and Analysis of Algorithms (1)
- This class has such amazing cool content and it really showed how remarkable algorithms have become over the last few decades
18.504: Seminar in Logic (1)
- Prof. Cohen is an amazing lecturer, and is incredibly passionate about the material. Logics are hard, and Prof. Cohen uses a variety of methods to try to make logics as approachable as possible. I really appreciate the work he puts in, and the amount of guidance he gives for our presentations.
18.700: Linear Algebra (1)
- Two really fun classes to learn algebra. Took 18.700 first and then 18.701. Made me think about math in a different way. First “real” math class.
18.900: Geometry and Topology in the Plane (1)
- paul seidel, also it was the first class i took as a math major and it was really nice in forming connections
20.109: Laboratory Fundamentals in Biological Engineering (1)
- It taught me alot of lab skills and the content I learned from the class (new experiments, lab techniques, new current technology in the biotech field) I feel will be very useful in the future when choosing different career paths or job options. The instructors are super nice and helpful and they really care about you and your education. I love Ms. Becky!!
20.129: Biological Circuit Engineering Laboratory (1)
- good staff
20.309: Instrumentation and Measurement for Biological Systems (1)
- This lab class is honestly top 2 course 20 classes and it’s not number 2. It is soo much fun, you get to build your own microscope and micro fluidic device then analyze biological specimens with it. It really encapsulates the spirit of what Bioengineering is. Also the instructors are all so nice, helpful, and amazing!
20.310: Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Biomechanics (1)
- This class was really fun! It scaled from understanding bulk tissue to mechanics of DNA folding. It was the first class where I felt I really understood all the material, and it was cool to see how different models work and fit together to make an understanding. Also cool to see how little we know about brain damage.
20.320: Analysis of Biomolecular and Cellular Systems (1)
- As a course 20 it can feel like your skills don’t put you at an engineer level but 320 was the first time I felt my engineering and bio knowledge come together even if it was a struggle to figure out Matlab.
21A.157: The Meaning of Life (2)
- Meaningful, thought-provoking, fun, lovely people.
- Really brought the different perspectives together and created an awesome discussion experience to learn and understand more about the world in a context with what it means to be successful!
21G.036: Advertising and Media: Comparative Perspectives (1)
- I needed to take a Chinese cultural class for MISTI China (I was supposed to go to China this summer with the CETI program). I chose this class because one of my friends was taking it and loved it. I joined in on the second lecture and found many reasons to stay. Our professor, Jing Wang, was extremely knowledgable of all the topics we discussed. The readings were so interesting that I did all of them without fail. I also loved the small setting of the class – we got to know each other pretty well. The class has a semester long group project which consists of identifying a brand category, a struggling brand in the category, and then designing a repositioning campaign for that brand. My group chose streetwear as our category and Michael Kors as a brand to reposition. We identified MK’s image and customer as its weak points. To combat this we decided to utilize the “drop model” (only release limited amounts of product) that makes streetwear so exclusive and desired. We also ended up designing our campaign around a collaboration between MK and a famous streetwear brand. Our project was so fun and interesting that our final paper was 30+ pages. Highly recommend this course for anyone interested in China and/or advertising!
21G.049: French Photography (1)
- Cathy Clark is amazing and she makes the space so comfortable for discussion. She knows how to lead the class to ideas without ever planting ideas in our heads. Every comment is fully considered and respected. It is a very specific course name, but, more than any other course I’ve taken at MIT, it has made me a better person.
21G.221: Communicating in American Culture (ELS) (1)
- [Disclaimer: this class is just for international students] Lots of reflection of reflection on my culture and writing about what specific things make me who I am. I also got to learn about US history which I knew nothing about.
21G.503: Japanese III (1)
- Get to form more advanced sentences in the language and communicate in Japanese about funny topics. The class is also quite chilled because homework is not intense. Japanese is just amazing.
21G.611: Russian I (Regular) (1)
- I took Russian I in IAP, and I really loved getting a chance to spend hours upon hours a day delving into the language. The language itself is super interesting, and really fun, and both of the professors are incredibly kind and smart and amazing. I initially was wary about taking such an intense class in IAP (given that it was 3 hours of in-class work plus homework a day), but it was 100% worth it.
21G.713: Spanish through Film: Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Spain (1)
- we watched a bunch of great movies and the discussions were always insightful
21H.161: The Modern Middle East (1)
- Pouya Alimagham was great at showing diverse perspectives, and it’s so important to know about the Middle East and American foreign policy.
21H.214: War and American Society (1)
- my first MIT history class and it really showed me how a curriculum works when every single reading actually has a purpose. really good balance of work for the class, as well as lecturing/discussions
21H.281: MIT and Slavery: Research (1)
- Best class ever! The first class I took where the instructor didn’t know the answers to the questions. You get to pick your own research area and dive into any topic related to MIT’s history. You also learn how to use archives as a resource. You get to help MIT come to terms with our own history.
21L.015: Children’s Literature (3)
- Wonderful professor! Marah Gubar is the absolutely sweetest and caring people ever! She’s passionate through and through about the subject’s day it makes you love the class all the more! Plus Children’s Literature has fascinating topics, even in childhood books like Harry Potter or The Hobbit.
- This class was an absolute treat! We got to read The Little Prince, Moominpappa at Sea, and The Neverending Story as assignments, and got to write about the symbolism and meaning behind these works. Additionally, as an aspiring illustrator, I absolutely loved analyzing our texts’ illustrations.
- Who doesn’t like re-reading their childhood classics AND getting CI-H credit for it?
21L.590: The Spanish Incubator (2)
- I got to go to spain, also the teacher was really nice
- just a great time, Prof. Margery Resnick is wonderful
21L.006: American Literature (1)
- I enjoyed reading works by different American authors and understanding how the focus in their writing evolved over time (spanning even to the present day, like with contemporary authors like Tommy Orange). I grew to interpret writers’ messages–even from literature that I had read before–in completely different ways that I hadn’t considered before. Prof. Alexandre is amazing!
21L.007: World Literatures (1)
- the first time I took a “world” class that was actually about the world. also a really great balance of more “popular” books with some i never thought i would have liked. professor terrones did a really great job at facilitating discussions even when the class was quiet, and i honestly really enjoyed every single book we read.
21L.320: Big Books(1)
- The year I took it, we read Moby Dick as well as analyzing its depictions in its various film adaptations. I originally took this class since Moby Dick was always some book I felt like I should read, but before then I had never got around to it. Moreover, I think that this class was the perfect way to read it: over the first part of the class we read and discussed the rather hefty whaling book, both looking at the micro—how Melville uses language to make individual passages, and the book as a whole, so compelling to read—and the macro—larger themes of the book, and how Moby Dick occupies a strange liminal space between tragedy, comedy, and epic. In the second half of the class, we watched different adaptations of the book, including a musical version that was at the ART (shoutout to CAMIT for giving us tickets!) The second half was also fascinating, watching and dissecting the different choices made by each filmmaker in adapting the same work into their distinct visions of what Moby Dick meant to them. I’d also just like to advocate for 21L classes in general, since MIT has a great literature program that I fear frequently gets overshadowed by technical classes, but I would *highly* encourage everyone to give it a try, if anything—maybe you’ll find you like it! (if you are thinking of taking one, I’d recommend going to the course catalog through lit.mit.edu, as frequently the descriptions there are more accurate than through the generic course catalog)
21L.434: Science Fiction and Fantasy (1)
- Kate Delaney
21L.460: Arthurian Literature (1)
- I had an amazing time in this class. Really old literature has always appealed to me, so this class was amazing. Also, getting to do whatever I wanted for the final project allowed me to be super creative in choosing what to do.
21L.591: Literary London (1)
- Living in London over IAP and being 110% immersed in the literature and locations with a relatively small class was one of the best experiences of my MIT career. Also, the professors are so dedicated to the class and material, and poured their heart and soul into teaching.
21L.706: Studies in Film (1)
- i literally never thought i would take a film class, but our visiting professor brought in these concepts into an advanced seminar super well. i actually felt like i learned the basics of film theory and he also allowed us to switch movie themes once the pandemic hit!
21L.707: Problems in Cultural Interpretation (1)
- As a foodie and women’s studies enthusiast, I had a wonderful time reading the only form of expression which some women had available to them and learning the deeper meaning of food in history. From colonial American traditions, to how food can initiate a conversation about race today and be political, I really enjoyed the discussions we had. It made me look at domesticity with more awe than before.
21M.030: Introduction to World Music (2)
- The class involved a lot of fun, immersive workshops for different instruments and genres like Senegalese drumming, gamelan, Irish dancing, and Carnatic music, and I learned so much from the class!
- World Music really opened my horizons! It encouraged me to speak to members of my family about our cultural roots and learn more about my heritage.
21M.301: Fundamentals of Music (1)
- Helped me understand the language behind music theory and gave me a basic framework to understand the types of sounds that I like!
21M.600: Introduction to Acting (1)
- It’s literally just recess but in college
21M.601: Drawing for Designers (1)
- Drawing is fun and a nice break from technicals also gives another perspective even to my major/20
21M.604: Playwriting Fundamentals (1)
- Intro to Playwriting — I have never been super into creative writing, but I took this class completely on a whim. I wanted another HASS and it fit into my firehose. I was totally planning on dropping it, but I went to the first class, and I was sold. You learn about the different aspects of script writing, from plot (what motivates your characters?) to plasticity (how does the dialogue flow?). You write up short scenes based on different prompts, and present to your classmates, getting really useful, kind, constructive feedback. The environment is super friendly and supportive, the writing of fellow classmates never ceases to impress you, and the prof, Dr. Ken Urban, really helps you learn and grow as a writer. 843902/10 recommend :)
21M.605: Voice and Speech for the Actor (1)
- This class was like getting credit for therapy. If you take it with Keely Eastley, you’ll come out of this class more confident within your own voice and mind.
21M.706: Asian American Theater (1)
- The prof is AMAZING. She made the class a super welcoming and safe space where we could talk openly and dialogue and important issues. We took a trip to ny to experience the plays we talked about in person and tied the stories to our own lives.
21M.733: Set Design (1)
- Get to do art, learned a lot about design and theatre
21W.755: Writing and Reading Short Stories (3)
- Micah. Nathan.
- The professor, Micah Nathan, is one of the most down-to-Earth and compassionate teachers I’ve ever had. He goes to great lengths to help you write the stories that *you* want to, and he doesn’t muddle around in literary theory in an esoteric, self-aggrandized way — he discusses theory only when it is actually serving a purpose, and he does so in a concise way that, for me, completely annihilated the image of a high school literature teacher agonizing over the meaning of a red sweater.
- I wouldn’t recommend this class to everyone, but if you like writing or think you might like writing if you tried but never before had the impetus, I would recommend you take this with Micah Nathan. He has that rare ability to give constructive criticism while also inspiring you to write more. Pretty much all lecture time is spent workshopping stories.
21W.762: Poetry Workshop (3)
- The professor creates a really welcoming environment and it was very fun and therapeutic
- amazing flexibility in creative process
- This class actually managed to *improve* my mental health and stress levels. The prof, Ed, is absolutely lovely. It’s a very encouraging and positive experience for anybody who writes poetry, and having weekly writing assignments gave me the structure I needed to actually grow in a hobby where I’d felt stagnant for a long time.
21W.022: Writing and Experience: Reading and Writing Autobiography (2)
- get graded for writing about yourself :nice:
- I got a chance to express myself, improve my writing and the professor’s really nice. I like having a lot of freedom to really delve into whatever I wanted.
21W.747: Rhetoric (2)
- Steven (professor) is very fun plus class content and work is fun.
- We get to make fun speeches about whatever we want
21W.744: The Art of Comic Book Writing (1)
- MARJORIE LIU IS AMAZING. COMICS ARE AMAZING. You get exposed to a TON of fun things to read in this class, but also intriguing concepts. How do you world-build? How do you start a story? How do you create impactful characters? And can you still write comics if you can’t draw? I loved this class, and the things I learned in it have helped me become a better storyteller, both in the world of comics and out.
Comparative Media Studies
CMS.301: Introduction to Game Design Methods (1)
- Last semester, when all my other classes felt empty and unfulfilling because of the COVID evacuation, CMS.301 was the highlight of my day. It was cool to learn how games work and what made them fun to play. It was satisfying to make and test games and see that other people enjoy them. Plus, you get an excellent excuse to play games with other people at random times of day.
CMS.701: Current Debates in Media (1)
- junot diaz yo
Women and Gender Studies
WGS.151: Gender, Medicine, and Public Health (1)
- Gender, Medicine, and Health — it’s really cool to think about public health as it relates to technology and biology and stigma and societal stereotypes/constructs
22.01: Introduction to Modeling and Simulation (2)
- Super fascinating material and incredibly dynamic instruction!
- Really cool labs; seeing and hearing radiation, getting to build geiger counters, and we got to do power manipulations on the nuclear reactor on Albany St.
24.901: Language and Its Structure I: Phonology (2)
- Kind professor, interesting topics, fun PSETs
- Figuring out the rules making sounds change is a super fun puzzle, and Professor Steriade is an amazing mentor too!
24.06: Bioethics (1)
- Bioethics introduced me to approaching challenges in medicine, policy, and scientific research through both philosophical and anthropological lenses. We often fail to incorporate ethical considerations in our work, whether it be using mouse models as a UROP student or formulating a plan to distribute scarce resources (like vaccines!) as a policymaker. Although class discussions never led to a clear-cut answer, they always left me with a newfound appreciation for the nuances and historical context tied to a particular issue.
24.118: Paradox and Infinity (1)
- It was a really good combination of just philosophy things and also a more technical side to philosophy! Also the professor for the class was absolutely phenomenal!!
24.211: Theory of Knowledge (1)
- This class makes you question everything, like how you know anything to be true, if it matters if it’s true, things of that nature. Highly recommend, it’ll make you think about the world differently.
24.900: Introduction to Linguistics (1)
- amazing professor and TAs. a great chance to meet the multi-lingual community of MIT! In the lecture hall I’d say at least 20 different languages were represented, and during class, students would bring in examples from their native language. the final project involves speaking with someone about a language you’re unfamiliar with, so it’s a chance to meet new people, new languages, and new cultures
24.906: The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism (1)
- Really cool topics and Professor Flynn is a great teacher!
24.917: ConLangs: How to Construct a Language (1)
- Very fun and interesting was to introduce students to linguistics, and fun even if you aren’t planning to study linguistics. Instructor was very good
CC.512: Organic Chemistry I (2)
- Professor Taylor is amazingly good at explaining things and really broke down the chemistry. She was super patient with me and made herself more than available to go over concepts and answer any questions. After each exam, she would email us not only our score, but she would highlight our strengths and weaknesses so we could grow. I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but organic chemistry was the best class ever. The reactions were so beautiful and once you start to understand, everything builds on top of itself and it’s an awesome puzzle. Also, Prof. Taylor would connect the chemistry we were learning to different products and pharmaceuticals in real life.
- Dr. Taylor is an *incredible* professor. Everyone loves to hate on orgo, but she makes the class content fascinating and accessible.
EC.S01: Special Subject at the Edgerton Center (1)
- It is a short IAP class that allowed to me learn to use machinery that I hadnt used before, I managed to create something I was proud of and learnt a lot of skills I can use in the future. Made me feel a lot more confident in my shop skills.
Experimental Study Group
ES.8012: Physics I (1)
- Learned that I love applying my knowledge to design and build things!
Health, Science, and Technology
HST.434: Evolution of an Epidemic (Study Abroad) (1)
- Coolest class I have ever taken hands down. I’m super into biology, and learned about specific biology relating to HIV/AIDs and infectious disease, but also something that is truly lacking at MIT– ethics and humanities and the social determinants of health. We learned that science and technology isn’t enough– we need politics and public health, and trust, and a solid heap of good luck and intentions to make a dent in infectious disease. In retrospect, we learned those lessons in practice in South Africa, and those learnings apply to the current situation as well. We’re seeing the same patterns unfold. Learning about the entire context and history of a field was amazing and life changing, and in my opinion, should be required reading as part of grad school in every field, especially biology and medicine.
Media Arts and Sciences
MAS.863: How to Make (Almost) Anything (1)
- I think I actually learned useful stuff in this class :p It’s also nice to bond with your classmates over how much of a shitshow the class can be. And! there’s a super-wide variety of backgrounds in terms of people who take the class, which helps make the class a lot more interesting.
Science, Technology, and Society
STS.050: The History of MIT (2)
- It was so fun! I learned lots of cool things about MIT and its history, and the assignments weren’t a chore. The professor is amazing too.
- You learn a lot about MIT’s history, some notable alumni, the campus(es), some cool quirky facts, and (before COVID) you took mini field trips that were really fun!
SP.360: Terrascope Radio (1)
- Terrascope Radio got me intensely interested in a form of communication I previously cared little about. Bi-weekly listening sessions and mini-projects leading up to a final project in which we could create and broadcast our own radio piece about a complex challenge we had studied over the past semester was a journey in the art and technicalities of sound collection and editing, teamwork, and communication.
If I missed your favorite class(es) or if you want to say more about a class mentioned, share them in the comments!
- check out his last blog post on emails for more pretty graphs back to text ↑