The mission of the Physical Education Program is to provide learners with the instruction and skills necessary to lead healthy, active lifestyles and to foster both personal growth and a sense of community through physical activity. The program enables students to engage in physical activity while they are involved in rigorous academic study. Major emphasis is placed on the development of skills that can be used for lifetime fitness and wellness. Students receive a strong background in the fundamentals of the activity selected. Instruction is offered in fitness, wellness, individual and team sports, martial arts, dance, aquatics, and outdoor adventure activities. Information on classes, including descriptions of current offerings, is available at http://mitpe.com/.
To satisfy the Physical Education Requirement undergraduates entering MIT as freshmen must take four physical education courses (for eight points) and complete the swimming requirement, commonly referred to as the swim test. Transfer students need to complete four points (two classes) as well as the swimming requirement. A student may repeat a course at any level and receive points. The swimming requirement can be satisfied by taking a beginning swim class or students may elect to test out on fall registration day (see: video of the swim test). In addition to taking classes, students may earn physical education points in the following ways:
- Varsity sports: Four points are awarded to players for each year of competition.
- ROTC Programs (Air Force, Army, Navy): Two points are awarded per year of ROTC participation up to a maximum of four points.
Students find it best to complete their four courses during their freshman year; however, students are responsible for completing their Physical Education Requirement by their sophomore year. Students must attend 11 sessions to receive the two points for a physical education course. Freshmen are expected to complete the swim test during fall registration day or, if they can't swim, register during the swim test for a first-quarter swim course. Students who do not complete the Physical Education Requirement by the end of their sophomore year must submit a plan for a time extension with the Physical Education Office.
Physical education courses are offered in two six-week quarters during the fall term and during the spring term. A fifth "quarter" is offered during the January Independent Activities Period. Two points are awarded for each course per quarter.
Physical education courses offered last year included Group Exercise (PiYo, Kickboxing, Pilates, Step, Yoga), Archery, Backpacking/Hiking, Badminton, Cross-Country Ski, Dance (Tango, Salsa, Square), Fencing, Figure Skating, Golf, Ice Hockey, Kayaking, Martial Arts (Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu, Sport Taekwondo), Pistol, Ropes Adventure, Running/Jogging, Sailing, SCUBA, Self Defense, Skating, Skiing/Snowboarding, Soccer (indoor), Squash, Tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, and Weight Training.
Most classes provide all necessary equipment. Students must supply skates and sticks for ice hockey classes, and rackets for tennis classes. Nonmarking court shoes are required for squash and tennis. Lab fees are required for some courses.