Introduction to Course 2-A

As is often the case, the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering is leading the way. This time, it’s in the area of undergraduate education, with the newly revamped flexible degree program 2-A. One of the first mechanical engineering programs in the world to offer a customizable curriculum alongside a rigorous core in mechanical engineering and the ability to concentrate in one of several modern engineering areas, the Department’s 2-A program is garnering a lot of attention in the US and around the world.

The Mechanical Engineering core requirements for all three degree programs (2, 2-A, and 2-OE) are exactly the same in the sophomore year; changes start to occur in the junior year, when Course 2 students are required to take four specific courses, but Course 2-A students only two, allowing them to begin honing in on an area of focus for their remaining third-year credits. From there, Course 2-A students are given the flexibility to take 6 12-credit upper-level courses in a concentration area they choose in conjunction with their Course 2-A advisor.

Course 2-A Objectives

The educational objectives of the program leading to the degree Bachelor of Science in Engineering as Recommended by the Department of Mechanical Engineering are that:

Within a few years of graduation, a majority of our graduates will have completed or be progressing through top graduate programs; advancing in leadership tracks in industry, non-profit organizations, or the public sector; or pursuing entrepreneurial ventures. In these roles they will:

  1. Apply a deep working knowledge of technical fundamentals in areas related to mechanical, electromechanical, and thermal systems to address needs of the customer and society.
  2. Develop innovative technologies and find solutions to engineering problems.
  3. Communicate effectively as members of multidisciplinary teams.
  4. Be sensitive to professional and societal contexts and committed to ethical action.
  5. Lead in the conception, design, and implementation of new products, processes, services, and systems.

These objectives have been developed by the faculty and students of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of MIT, with input from other constituents, in an attempt to comply with the mission of MIT as an institution. That mission, as stated in the current edition of the MIT Bulletin is:

The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges. MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

Student Outcomes

Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to apply fundamental principles of mechanical engineering.

Demonstrated ability to apply mathematics and science to an engineering problem.

Demonstrated ability to conduct, analyze, and interpret experiments.

Demonstrated ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.

Demonstrated ability to function as part of a team.

Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in written reports.

Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively through public speaking.

Demonstrated ability to communicate using visual media.

Students will be aware of the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.

Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to specify standard manufacturing and fabrication techniques.

Demonstrated knowledge of and ability to implement computer and simulation tools in mechanical engineering practice.

Students will recognize the need for and the ability to engage in lifelong learning.

Students will have an understanding of ethical and professional responsibility.

Students design and take responsibility for their own individualized program that integrates mechanical engineering with a different discipline.

In addition to mechanical engineering, students master material within their chosen discipline.

548 Total Undergraduate Enrollment for the 2013 - 2014 Year
266 Enrollment for Course 2-A Majors
56% Percent Increase in 2-A Enrollment in Past 4 Years

Double Majors

If you would like to earn a bachelor’s degree with two majors, you must complete the GIRs and the departmental requirements of both majors. You must also earn a grade-point average of at least 4.0.

To apply for a double major, please submit a petition to the Committee on Curricula after completing at least three terms at MIT, including at least one in the department of one of the majors.

For more information, visit the registrar

If you are a Course 2-A student, no more than 24 required units from another departmental major may be used to fulfill the Course 2-A concentration requirements. Subjects that fulfill the core requirements for both majors (for example, 2.005 and 18.03 are required for both Course 2-A and Course 22, and each would count toward both majors) do not count toward the 24-unit limit.

2-A Concentration Information

The Course 2-A concentration consists of 72 units of upper-level subjects (with the exception of the REST subject) that have a coherent focus. Students choose these subjects in consultation with the 2-A Coordinator, Professor Lloyd (, and their 2-A track advisor. A proposed course of study is developed and submitted online for review and approval. Certain restrictions do apply, and are outlined below.

Bear in mind that the 2-A program was designed to be flexible. Many different concentrations are possible, and a student’s particular program may be unique. The tracks listed below serve only as a starting point. Students are encouraged to design and propose technically oriented concentrations that reflect their own needs and those of society.

Concentration Guidelines

  • Basic math and science subjects may not be included in the concentration.
  • The program of study must include at least 72 units of engineering topics; all content will reviewed by the 2-A Coordinator and Undergraduate Officer. (Engineering content can, but is not required to, overlap with the concentration. Extra engineering subjects can be taken to make up for any engineering content missing from the concentration.)
  • One first-year-level subject, such as 1.00 or 6.00, may be included in the concentration as a REST subject; all other concentration subjects must be upper level. Note that 18.03 can also fulfill the REST requirement, and also substitutes for 2.087.
  • Graduate courses may be counted in the concentration.
  • UROPs are not allowed in the concentration; however, students may include a 12-unit thesis, 2.ThU.
  • No concentration subject may also be counted as a GIR (including HASS subjects).
  • Each concentration subject must have an obvious relationship to the overall theme of the concentration, and should be explained in the paragraph on the 2-A form.
  • All concentration subjects must be letter graded.