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MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. The Institute admitted its first students in 1865, four years after the approval of its founding charter, and admitted its first woman student shortly thereafter in 1871. MIT’s opening marked the culmination of an extended effort by William Barton Rogers, a distinguished natural scientist, to establish a new kind of independent educational institution relevant to an increasingly industrialized America. Rogers stressed the pragmatic and practicable. He believed that professional competence is best fostered by coupling teaching and research and by focusing attention on real-world problems. Toward this end, he pioneered the development of the teaching laboratory.

Experiential learning

2020 bachelor’s graduates’ participation in experiential learning:

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program: 94% 
  • Internship: 87% 
  • Educational experiences abroad: 57% 
  • Public service: 57% 

Today, MIT is a world-class educational institution. Teaching and research—with relevance to the practical world and transforming society for the better as guiding principles—continue to be its primary purpose.