General Institute Requirements
The science core consists of six subjects taken in Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, though most students get credit for one or more of these classes from work they have done prior to entering MIT. Any upperclassmen will recommend using up as much AP/IB/A-levels credit as you can. You can also test out of classes through Advanced Standing Exams (ASE).
In order to fulfill the Calculus GIR, you'll need to take two of the introductory 12-unit subjects listed below.
- One version of 18.01: 18.01, 18.01A, or 18.014, AND
- One version of 18.02: 18.02, 18.02A, 18.022, 18.023, or 18.024.
See the Calculus page in for information on the variations of 18.01 and 18.02.
Ways to earn credit for 18.01: 5 on AP Cal BC, 6 or 7 on IB Math HL, pass the ASE
In order to fulfill the Physics GIR, you'll need to take two of the introductory 12-unit subjects listed below.
- One version of 8.01 (Mechanics): 8.01, 8.01L, 8.011, or 8.012, AND
- One version of 8.02 (Electricity and Magnetism): 8.02 or 8.022
See the Physics for information on the variations of 8.01 and 8.02.
Ways to earn credit for 8.01: 5 on AP Physics C (5 on both Mechanics and E&M parts), 6 or 7 on IB Physics HL, pass the ASE
To get out of 8.02 you need to pass the 8.02 ASE after doing one of the above.
In order to fulfill the Chemistry GIR, you'll need to take one of the following introductory 12-unit subjects: 5.111, 5.112, or 3.091.
See the Chemistry page for information about the differences among the Chemistry GIR subjects.
Ways to earn credit for 5.111: pass the ASE, which is notorious for being failed
In order to fulfill the Biology GIR, you'll need to take one of the following introductory 12-unit subjects: 7.012, 7.013, 7.014. Eric Lander, the great, teaches 7.012 (but only in the fall). Also see the Biology page in this section for information on the variations of the Biology GIR.
Ways to earn credit for 7.01x: pass the ASE
Main article: Humanities Arts and Social Sciences
The HASS (Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) requirement has a reputation among undergraduates as being confusing and annoying, but beginning with the class of 2014, the requirement has been significantly simplified. The new requirement is a combination of three things. Every student must:
- take at least eight HASS classes in total (i.e., including the following two points),
- take two CI-H classes or one CI-HW and one CI-H
- take at least one class from each of the three categories (Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences), and
- have a HASS concentration (three or four classes that are somehow related to each other).
Every student must take at least 12 units of Institute Lab. This requirement is usually fulfilled simply by completing one's major requirements.
The REST (Restricted Electives in Science and Technology) requirement is to provide foundations in multiple areas of science and technology. Certain subjects are designated as REST; these are generally introductory-level subjects. Every student must take at least two REST subjects, at least one of which must be in a department that is not the same as the student's major.
Main article: Communication Requirement
Certain subjects are designated as CI (communication-intensive): either CI-H (communication-intensive HASS) or CI-M (communication-intensive in one's major). These subjects involve significant writing components and usually some presentation components. Every student must take at least two CI-H classes and two CI-M classes. In general, this requirement does not add anything to a student's total course load, as CI-H classes count toward the HASS requirement and CI-M classes count toward the major.
Main article: Physical Education
Every student must earn eight "points" of PE (physical education) credit. Two points are earned for each "quarter"-long regular PE class (i.e., half a semester or all of IAP), or for certain other scheduled activities. Four points are earned for each season of a varsity sport. Two points are earned per year of ROTC service, but no more than four PE points can come from ROTC.
Every student must also pass a swim test or take a beginners' swim class. Swim tests are offered during freshman orientation and periodically throughout the year.
Pirate's License: Sailing, Fencing, and Pistol
Note that PE classes are not counted in the GPA nor are they listed on the transcript.