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Exchanges broaden MIT education

By Alison C. Morgan

First in a two-part series on undergraduate and graduate exchange opportunities.

For MIT undergraduates who are tired of looking at the same old domes, cross-registration programs with Harvard University and Wellesley College may expand the educational experience.

The MIT/Wellesley exchange program has been in effect since the 1968-69 academic year. It is open to all MIT and Wellesley undergraduates. The Harvard exchange program was previously restricted to juniors and seniors with minimum GPA of 4.0.

Today, any MIT student can take Harvard classes not offered at MIT. But freshmen are still generally discouraged from participating in either exchange program, according to Mary Z. Enterline, a Wellesley alumnus and coordinator for the MIT/Wellesley exchange program.

Enterline said that the Wellesley exchange gives MIT men and women the unique opportunity to switch majority/minority roles on campus and to enjoy a change of scenery.

Ruth Spear, coordinator for the MIT/Harvard exchange program, said that Harvard is a "great intellectual experience from a different perspective."

MIT students who begin to study a language at Harvard tend to return for three more terms to complete a concentration, said Spear. Last spring term, half of the 76 MIT students who enrolled in classes at Harvard took language subjects.

Most of the approximately 160 MIT students who cross-register at Wellesley each term take humanities classes for elective credit, although six Wellesley subjects may be taken for Humanities Distribution credit. Of the six HUM-D classes Wellesley offers, two meet at MIT this year. In addition, Wellesley Professor of Japanese Dr. Tsusui is teaching Beginning and Intermediate Japanese at MIT.

About 200 Wellesley and 394 Harvard students cross-registered at MIT last fall. Of the 200 Wellesley cross-registrants, 37 percent took humanities, social science and linguistics, l7 percent took architecture and 11 percent took engineering courses.

Any Wellesley cross-registrant may also pursue a Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) project, except that Wellesley students are not allowed to be on the UROP payroll, according to Michelle Lamarre, assistant director of UROP. Many Wellesley UROPers decide to transfer here after getting a taste of scientific research at MIT, she said.

Wellesley freshmen, sophomores and juniors may take up to two MIT classes per term, while Wellesley seniors may enroll in up to four. Harvard students take anywhere from one to three classes per term, according to the Office of the Registrar.

The Wellesley academic calendar is nearly identical to that of MIT, causing no problems for the cross-registrant. Harvard's fall term, however, lasts beyond Christmas vacation. This forces MIT cross-registrants to take final examinations during January.

The MIT/Harvard cross-registrants must arrange their own transportation to and from Harvard, while the MIT/Wellesley cross-registrants can take a free bus that runs all day Monday through Friday. A bus sponsored by the Wellesley Senate provides transportation during the weekends.

A cross-residence program between MIT and Wellesley is also available for those wishing to avoid the bus rides. MIT and Wellesley each exchange a maximum of 15 cross-residents per academic year.