New Course 6 Major proposed in Electrical Engineering with Computing, 6-1 to be eliminated

Major will be implemented in the Fall of 2024: current undergraduates will still be able to major in 6-1 and 6-2

On March. 14, Katrina LaCurts, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Undergraduate Officer and Professor Joel Voldman SM ’1997 PhD ’2001, faculty head of Electrical Engineering (EE), announced sweeping changes to the EECS department at MIT in the email to the EECS community. The most salient of these changes include the retirement of the existing 6-1 degree and the merger of 6-1 (Electrical Science and Engineering) and 6-2 (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) into a singular renamed and renumbered major titled 6-5, Electrical Engineering with Computing.

Regarding the change to the degree name, the department stated that current students "can still major in 6-1 and 6-2." Those majoring in 6-2 can choose to switch to 6-5 in the fall. 


LaCurts and Voldman shared an FAQ regarding the course number changes. The link is only accessible to those with an MIT Touchstone ID.

The department stated that the change in the degree number stemmed from significant changes in the way it has" taught EE "over the past few years." The FAQ claimed that "it's time for a fresh start."

The department justified the change to the degree name by stating that "we feel that 'Electrical Engineering With Computing' places all the elements of a modern electrical engineering education in the proper context." The department stated that the field of EE is "more important than ever," and they believe the title of the 6-5 major reflects that.

The department stated that the retirement of 6-1 comes with the belief that the newly developed curriculum that they think "is the best way to teach modern electrical engineers and prepare them for the dizzying array of fields in which EEs will make a difference in the world." They highlighted that 6-5 would contain "a dozen tracks that will prepare our students for not only a huge variety of careers today, but for the technology landscape of tomorrow."

Specific academic requirements for the 6-5 degree have yet to be publicly released, although it has been alleged that the core requirements for 6-5 would align more closely with 6-2 versus 6-1. 

Students respond to the changes

Student reactions ranged from indifference to indignation. A poster plasted on campus had a picture of a circuit board and the caption, "Our world runs on this… Thanks EECS." 

The Tech spoke with a current 6-1 student, Makar Kuznietsov '25.

Kuznietsov said that the principal changes in the academic requirements for 6-5 lay in 6.1200 (6.042), Mathematics for Computer Science, and 6.1210 (6.006), Introduction to Algorithms, classes that are currently required for 6-2 but not for 6-1. He added that a major class for 6-1, 6.3000 (6.003), Signal Processing, would not be required for the 6-5 degree.

In its FAQ, the EECS department stated that there will be a "dedicated track that's all about circuits" but asserted that "approximately 0 electrical engineers don't use computers or computing in their field, and our major [6-5] now reflects that."

Kuznietsov highlighted the strong community, "really good" core classes, and flexibility with 6-1 as strong draws to the major. He added that as a transfer student, he wanted to "take as many classes that I was interested in as I could in EE" instead of classes focusing on algorithms. 

For a time, Kuznietsov was double majoring in 6-1 with Course 8 (Physics), and he stated that some of his peers are currently pursuing that path. He believes that the advent of the 6-5 major would lead to "less interdisciplinary" intersections between electrical engineering and non-computing fields. 

In the FAQ, the department claimed, "we don't need to be drawing artificial, gatekeeping lines between the disciplines when everything about the world today requires creative, flexible, interdisciplinary thinkers."

Kuznietsov believes that "people tend to have more hype and excitement towards computer science," alluding to recent investments in artificial intelligence and the opening of the Schwarzman College of Computing. He thinks that faculty teaching 6-1 courses will be retained but noted the unavailability of several EE classes due to faculty retirements and sabbaticals. 

The Course 6 majors currently consist of 6-1 (Electrical Science and Engineering), 6-2 (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), 6-3 (Computer Science and Engineering), and 6-4 (Artificial Intelligence and Decision Making). Blended majors include 6-7 (Computer Science and Molecular Biology), 6-9 (Computation and Cognition), 6-14 (Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science), and 11-6 (Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science). 

The FAQ stated that the EECS Undergrad Office and Voldman are open to meeting with students regarding the change.