Finding Courses on MIT OpenCourseWare

Screenshot of the OCW Course Menu

The Courses menu highlights ways to browse by topic, department, MIT course number, cross-disciplinary lists, special collections, and even courses translated into other languages.

Under the “Course” menu there are three ways to browse courses: topic, department, or course number. You can switch between these three methods using the tabs in the Course Finder. You can also use the search and advanced search features. The search box is on the right of the main menu bar.

Browsing by Topic

Depiction of the browse by topic feature of the Course Finder.

The topic browser in the Course Finder allows you to filter by topic, sub-topic, and specialty.

In this screen you can select any of the topics listed to see courses relating to that category. You can narrow your search by selecting sub-topics and specialties. Under the topic selector are check boxes to filter by special features, like videos and samples of student work. Not all courses contain all special features.

Topics can cover multiple MIT departments. “Fine Arts,” for example, contains, among others, courses in Civil Engineering, History, Media Arts and Sciences, and Urban Studies.

Browsing by MIT Course Number

Screenshot image of the browse by MIT Course Number feature of the Course Finder

The MIT Course Number browser allows you to filter by department number, course number, and year it was taught.

You can also browse by course number using the “Course Number” feature/tab. Our interface reflects MIT's unique course numbering system. To learn more about this system, please see the MIT Admissions overview of Majors & Minors.

On the “Course Number” page, you first select a department number and then the course number. “Semester Offered” indicates which semester and year the course materials are from.

When multiple versions of a course exist, it is because they have unique and valuable components. As of 2012, 8.01 has two versions published: one from 1999 and one from 2003. The 1999 version was taught by Prof. Walter Lewin, and the 2003 version was taught by Prof. Stanley Kowalski. Both versions contain lecture notes, assignments and exams with solutions. Additionally, the 1999 version has lecture videos.

Browsing by Department

Screenshot of the browse by department course finder feature.

Use the department browser to connect to a course offering from a specific department.

MIT has six schools and several other programs represented on OCW. There are courses from 35 departments. From this screen, you can select a department and be taken to their OCW home page. On the departmental pages, you can browse all of the courses from that department published on OCW. Some courses are offered jointly through two or more departments. In these cases, they appear on the pages of all cross-listed departments and are marked with a J in their course number. For example, Topics in the Avant-Garde in Literature and Cinema (21F.031J/4.608J) is offered though Foreign Languages and Literatures (course 21F) and Architecture (course 4) and is therefore listed on both department pages.

Using Search/Advanced Search

help-course-finder-advanced-search.jpg

The advanced search page can filter search results by course sections or other features. 

On the right side of the top nav is a search box and a link to advanced search. You can use these to search, rather than browse, for something specific. The search function looks through the entire site, not just course titles or descriptions. Results may appear for lecture notes, assignments, or PDFs. The advanced search feature allows you to limit where you are searching, i.e. looking for your search phrase only on course home pages.