Advanced Electives

A requirement of four advanced electives is designed to develop both breadth and depth for students in the CSB PhD Program. These should be 12-unit G-level graduate subjects. The electives add to the base of the core curriculum and contribute strength in areas related to student interest and research direction. Two of the four restricted electives must be in the same area (department). At least one of the electives must be from an engineering discipline and at least one from a biology-related field.

As is typical for students in other doctoral programs at MIT, CSB PhD students may take classes beyond the required restricted electives. These additional subjects might be useful to explore advanced topics important for thesis research in later years.

Each student will design a program of advanced electives that satisfies the distribution and area requirements in close consultation with members of the CSB PhD Graduate Committee and with their thesis advisor. Examples of combinations of courses that might be particularly appropriate for students with certain interests are described below. These examples are intended as illustrations only – individual programs will vary.

Students with an interest in model building and theory might include Network Optimization (Computer Science/Operations Research) and/or Foundations of Algorithms for Computational Biology (Computer Science/Biological Engineering).

Students with a focus on developing novel tools might select subjects such as Integrated Microelectronic Devices (Electrical Engineering/Materials Science) and/or Fundamental Limits of Biological Measurement (Biological Engineering).

Students who intend to pursue computational biology or bioinformatics can take courses in Computational Functional Genomics (Biology, Computer Science), Bioinformatics: Principles, Applications, and Methods (Chemical Engineering), or Biomedical Information Technology (Mechanical Engineering).

The following is a list of subjects that students may consider for advanced electives or additional subjects, organized by department. See the MIT online subject descriptions for more information.

(Not a complete list. Please petition the committee if there is an unlisted 12 unit, G-Level course you wish to take.)

Civil and Environmental Engineering

1.151 Probability and Statistics in Engineering (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

1.685/2.034/18.377J Nonlinear Dynamics and Waves (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

1.871 Computational Ecology (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

1.89 Environmental Microbiology (spring 2019, G, 12 units)


Mechanical Engineering

2.18/6.557J Biomolecular Feedback Systems (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

2.372/6.777J Design and Fabrication of Microelectromechanical Devices (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

2.717 Optical Engineering (spring 2019, G, 12 units)



5.64/HST.539J Frontiers of Interdisciplinary Science in Human Health and Disease (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

5.70/10.546J Statistical Thermodynamics (fall 2018, G, 12 Units) 


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

6.231 Dynamic Programming and Stochastic Control (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.241/16.338J Dynamic Systems and Control (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.262 Discrete Stochastic Processes (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.334 Power Electronics (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.336/2.096/16.910J Introduction to Numerical Simulation (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.337/18.335J Introduction to Numerical Methods (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.339/2.097/16.920J Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations (fall 2018, G, 12 units)


6.431A Introduction to Probability I (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 6 units, first half of term)

6.431B Introduction to Probability II (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 6 units, second half of term)

6.434/16.391J Statistics for Engineers and Scientists (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.436/ 15.085J Fundamentals of Probability (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.437 Inference and Information (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.438 Algorithms for Inference (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.720/3.43J Integrated Microelectronic Devices (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.842 Randomness and Computation (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

6.854/18.415J Advanced Algorithms (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.862 Applied Machine Learning (spring 2019, G, 12)

6.866 Machine Vision (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.867 Machine Learning (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.878/HST.507J Advanced Computational Biology: Genomes, Networks, Evolution (fall 2018, G, 12 units) [Could also be used to satisfy Comp Bio requirement]

6.881 Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

6.882 Advanced Topics in Artifical Intelligence (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

6.945 Large-scale Symbolic Systems (spring 2019, G, 12 units)



7.493/ 1.87/ 12.493/20.446J Microbial Genetics and Evolution (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

7.60 Cell Biology: Structure and Functions of the Nucleus (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

7.61 Eukaryotic Cell Biology: Principles and Practice (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

7.63/ 20.630J Immunology (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

7.64 Molecular Mechanisms, Pathology and Therapy of Human Neuromuscular Disorders (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

7.69/ 9.181J Developmental Neurobiology (spring 2019 G, 12 units)

7.70 Regulation of Gene Expression (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

7.71 Structural and Biophysical Analysis of Biolgical Macromolecules (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

7.72 Stem Cells, Regeneration, and Development (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

7.73 Principles of Chemical Biology (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

7.77 Nucleic Acids, Structure, Function, Evolution and Their Interactions with Proteins (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

7.85 The Hallmarks of Cancer (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

7.95 Cancer Biology (spring 2019, G, 12 units)



8.333 Statistical Mechanics I (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

8.334 Statistical Mechanics II (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

8.431/6.634J Nonlinear Optics (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

8.591/7.81J Systems Biology (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

8.592/HST.452J Statistical Physics in Biology (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

8.593/HST.450J Biological Physics (not offered this year, G, 12 units)


Brain and Cognitive Sciences

9.013/7.68J Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Core II (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

9.015/7.65J Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Core I (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

9.520/6.860J Statistical Learning Theory and Applications (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

Chemical Engineering

10.544 Metabolic and Cell Engineering (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 12 units)

10.555/HST.940J Bioinformatics: Principles, Methods, and Applications  (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

10.557 Mixed-integer and Nonconvex Optimization (spring 2019, G, 12 units)



15.083 Integer Programming and Combinatorial Optimization (not offered this year, G, 12 units)



18.0651 Matrix Methods in Data Analysis, Signal Processing, and Machine Learning (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

18.0751 Methods for Scientists and Engineers (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

18.0851 Computational Science and Engineering I (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 12 units)

18.0861 Computational Science and Engineering II (not offfered this year, G, 12 units)

18.177 Topics in Stochastic Processes (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 12 units)

18.385/2.036J Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

18.408 Topics in Theoretical Computer Science (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

18.418/HST.504J Topics in Computational Molecular Biology (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

18.4531 Combinatorial Optimization (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

18.455 Advanced Combinatorial Optimization (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

18.6501 Fundamentals of Statistics (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 12 units)

Biological Engineering

20.201 Fundamentals of Drug Development (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 12 units)

20.405/6.589J Principals of Synthetic Biology (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

20.409 Biological Engineering II: Instrumentation and Measurement (fall 2018, spring 2019, G, 12 units)

20.415 Physical Biology (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

20.420/10.538J Principles of Molecular Bioengineering (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

20.430/ 2.795/6.561/10.539J Fields, Forces, and Flows in Biological Systems   (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

20.440 Analysis of Biological Networks (spring 2019, G, 15 units)

20.463/3.963J Biomaterials Science and Engineering (not offered this year, G, 12 units)

20.465 Engineering the Immune System in Cancer and Beyond (spring 2019, G, 12 units)

20.470/2.794/6.521/9.021/HST.541J Cellular Neurophysiology and Computing (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

20.490 Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology (spring 2019, G, 12 units)


Institute for Data, Systems, and Society

IDS.147/15.077J Statistical Learning and Data Mining (spring 2019, G, 12 units)


Health Sciences and Technology

HST.035 Pathology of Human Disease (spring 2019, G, 16 units)

HST.176 Cellular and Molecular Immunology (fall 2018, G, 12 units)

HST.508 Evolutionary Genomics (fall 2018, G, 12 units)