Over the course of the last 40 years, the undergraduate population at MIT has remained within the range of 4,000-4,600 students. To illustrate this stability, MIT’s undergraduate student population was 4,577 in 1981 while the reported figure for 2020 is 4,516 - a difference of only 61 student
Enrollment of graduate students and the number of post-doctoral employees fluctuates depending on the independent decisions of academic departments. These decisions are governed by a variety of factors including the availability of research funding, the ability of international students to obtain visas, and more recently the impacts of a global pandemic. Over the last ten years, the average annual growth rate for graduate students was 1.3%. Over the last five years, the average annual growth rate has dropped to 0.7%.
With the opening of the Schwarzman College of Computing, MIT expects its student population to increase over the next decade, matching the augmented teaching and research facilities and faculty available to serve them.
|Faculty & Staff||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||2030|
|Number of Cambridge Residents Employed at Cambridge Facilities||2,494||2,552||2,575||2,560||2,524||2,500-2,750|
|Total Undergraduate Students||4,474||4,489||4,489||4,550||4,516||4,600|
|Total Graduate Students||6,537||6,599||6,695||6,742||6,780*||6,500-6,800|
|Total Students Attending Classes in Cambridge||11,237||11,279||11,381||11,487||11,455||11,100-11,500|
|Non-resident students not included||94||97||85||87||65|
|*International students account for 42% of the 2019 graduate student population.|
Faculty and Staff
MIT’s faculty and staff employment is largely based on the needs and strategies developed at the department, laboratory, and center (DLC) unit level rather than through a central Institute-wide planning process.
Approximately 105 DLCs manage their own staffing in support of their objectives with funding that is assembled from a variety of sources. There was a reduction of more than 900 employees in the recession more than a decade ago. The staff population did not recover to pre-recession levels until 2015. Since then, staff population has grown at an annual rate of 1.5%, although employee growth has been flat in the past year. The proportion of employees who are Cambridge residents, around 20%, has been stable for the last decade.
Postdoctoral employees are staff who have completed their formal education but continue to gain research experience by working in academic laboratories, similar to how medical doctors complete a residency program to specialize in a field of medicine. The number of postdoctoral employees has dropped at an annual rate of -0.8% since 2015, remaining nearly flat at 1,452 for this year.
The number of faculty members has been growing at 0.5% annually since 2010. The Schwarzman College of Computing is expected to increase the faculty headcount by 50 over the next several years.