Arts at MIT

Arts Initiatives

The arts at MIT connect creative minds across disciplines and encourage a lifetime of exploration and self-discovery.  They are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking and imaginative problem-solving.  The arts strengthen MIT’s commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of research and innovation.  Artistic knowledge and creation exemplify our motto — mens et manus, mind and hand.  The arts are essential to MIT’s mission to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century. Read more in the White Paper (PDF).

Did you know…?
Over half of MIT undergraduates take arts courses

Here are some stats on Arts Activity During High School for the Class of 2017
Total number of entering freshmen 1125*
Participated in any arts 79%
Participated in Music 65%
Leadership role in Music 23%
Participated in Theater/Dance 27%
Leadership role in Theater/Dance 6%
Participated in Visual Arts 25%
Leadership role in Visual Arts 3%

*The 1125 freshmen count is as of July 3, 2013


Recent Reports

MIT Spectrvm: The Arts at MIT Feature Issue Spring 2013

“Today, unprecedented numbers of incoming students—80 percent—arrive at MIT with deep experience in the arts, especially in music. In that context, the arts have never been more integral to the life of MIT nor more deserving of our focus and attention.”
— Rafael Reif, President of MIT

White Paper on the Arts at MIT (PDF)

The arts have been a core component of the educational mission of MIT and will play an even more significant role in the future. Research at the intersections of art, science and engineering — where MIT has a competitive advantage — will determine the artistic and performative languages of the 21st century. MIT faces a strategic decision about investment in the arts and should seize the opportunity to support the creative energy that sustains the Institute’s leadership in innovation. Published June 26, 2011.


Reports to the President

Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History, submits an annual Report to the President summarizing arts activities during the previous academic year.




MIT’s Accreditation Report 2009: the Arts

MIT was founded in 1861, and is re-accredited every 10 years by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). This is the last self-study accreditation report. Access to the document requires MIT certificates.