Academic Philosophy

You will have two environments to choose from when you take your freshman GIRs: mainstream classes or a learning community. Which option is right for you? What makes ESG's academic environment unique?

  • Education works best when everyone is involved and active
  • Learning happens in and out of the classroom
  • Teaching is a two-way process
  • Students learn best in a dynamic educational community


In contrast to the set structure of the regular curriculum, ESG's flexibility allows students to go at their own pace whenever possible and to organize their schedules to suit their needs. ESG's small classes allow students to interact more often with faculty and fellow students than is typical in larger classes, and to experiment with novel ways of learning the material. Depending on the nature of the subject, students may also choose their topics of concentration to suit their academic interests. Although ESG can be a full-time activity for freshmen, students are welcome to take one or two subjects in the regular curriculum that are not offered in ESG. In addition to offering a comprehensive academic program for freshmen, ESG also provides a place where students and staff can study and socialize together. Each year, about 50 freshmen, 15 sophomores, 10 staff members, and 20 upper class instructors (who have been in ESG as freshmen) participate in the program. Staff members are drawn from MIT's Departments of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Activities such as weekly luncheons and weekend trips facilitate interaction among community members.