8. PROGRESSING THROUGH MIT

Freshmen

Credit Limits

By Faculty rule, first-year undergraduates may be registered for no more than 54 units in the Fall Term and 57 units in the Spring Term. Students may not register for more units than the credit limit allows. Instead, they should petition CAP to exceed the limit. If the petition is approved, the student may submit an Add form for the additional credit.

Communication Requirement

All freshmen must take one appropriate Communication Intensive (CI) subject in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS). These classes are called CI-H or CI-HW. CI-HW subjects are a subset of CI-H subjects that concentrate more particularly on writing and revising. MIT’s writing placement test, the Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE), determines which type of CI-H subject each student must take during the first year. Visit the Communication Requirement for additional information.

Monitoring Freshman Performance

Freshmen and their advisors can keep track of the students' performance through fifth-week flags and the freshman grade reporting system which includes hidden grades.

Fifth-Week Flags

By the beginning of the sixth week of the term, instructors must notify freshmen who are performing at a D or F level that they are at risk of not passing, and that they should meet with their instructors. These notices are to be in writing (usually sent via e-mail) with copies to advisors and the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP). The Academic Calendar outlines the term dates. Please contact the UAAP staff for additional information.

Hidden Grades

The performance of freshmen in all subjects taken during their first term at MIT (as well as during the January Independent Activities Period) is communicated on a Pass/No Record basis; in the second term, freshman performance is communicated on an ABC/No Record basis. Instructors submit regular letter grades each term to the Registrar's Office. The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) site outlines the "Special Features of First-Year Grading."

Selecting a Department

The normal first-year program is acceptable preparation for any departmental program. The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) works with first-year students to designate a major; their website outlines the process. A departmental designation is not binding; however, changing the major may require more than four years to finish a degree. Students should check with their counselors in Student Financial Services (SFS) regarding the financial implications of taking longer to graduate.

Early Sophomore Status

A freshman completing the first term may advance his or her class year only if he or she is offered early sophomore status by the Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming. To be eligible by the end of the first term, a student must have completed 25% of the undergraduate program, including an appropriate Communication Intensive subject (either a CI-H or CI-HW) and a majority of the Science Requirement subjects (mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology).

Sophomores

Undesignated Status

The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) is responsible for assigning the student to an advisor until the student declares a departmental major. The student will retain undesignated status until a change of course form is completed and processed. Students cannot remain undesignated after the sophomore year.

Sophomore Exploratory Subjects

An Exploratory subject is one in which the student may either accept the grade awarded or change the subject from credit to Listener status by Registration Day of the following regular term. Any subject at MIT, or cross-registered, including an Institute or departmental requirement, may be designated as Exploratory. Sophomores may designate one subject as Exploratory in each of their fall and spring semesters. The deadlines may be found on the MIT Registrar’s office website.

To change to Listener status and forfeit the grade and credit, the student must submit an Add/Drop/Change form, signed by the advisor, to the Student Services Center (SSC) or Registrar's Office. Students and advisors are cautioned to check that a forfeiture of units does not affect the student’s status for financial aid, immigration, or varsity sports eligibility. Students who want to make changes after the add/drop deadlines must petition the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP).

Communication Requirement

Students must complete their second appropriate CI subject by the end of their sophomore year. In most cases, the second CI subject will be a CI-H. In some cases, however, students may take a CI-M subject (Communication Intensive in the Major) in their sophomore year. Please contact the Communication Requirement staff with any questions.

Physical Education Requirement

It is highly recommended that the Physical Education GIR of 8 PE points and a fulfilled swimming requirement be completed by the end of the second year. Students who have not completed the requirement by the end of their second year must file a PE plan by the due date to avoid a late fee. Visit Physical Education for the annual PE calendar, registration dates, registration process, and plan filing process and deadlines.

Minor Programs

Students should designate minor programs during the sophomore year. Guidelines can be found on the Registrar’s Office website.

Double Majors

Students may apply for a double major within the framework of a single SB degree, provided they meet the eligibility requirements and filing deadlines. Details about the requirements, deadlines, and application procedures are published on the Registrar’s web site.

Juniors

Junior-Senior P/D/F Option

Juniors and seniors may designate up to two subjects to be graded P/D/F. These subjects may be taken both in the same term or in separate terms, including IAP. They cannot be used to fulfill an Institute, departmental, or minor requirement. The deadlines may be found in the Academic Calendar. Students who want to make changes after the deadlines must petition the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP).

Double Majors

Students may apply for a double major within the framework of a single SB degree, provided they meet the eligibility requirements and filing deadlines. Details about the requirements, deadlines, and application procedures are published on the Registrar’s web site.

HASS Concentration Proposal

Before the end of the first week of the second term in the junior year, each student, in collaboration with the concentration advisor in the appropriate field, must select an area of concentration in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) and submit a Concentration Proposal form to the Office of the HASS Requirement. There is a late fee for proposal forms submitted after this deadline. Changes to the HASS Concentration Proposal can be made by submitting a revised form approved by the concentration advisor.

Communication Requirement

Students must complete at least three appropriate CI subjects by the end of their junior year. In their junior year, students generally complete their first CI-M subjects within their major departments. These subjects may be required courses or restricted electives that count towards the departmental program. Please consult the list of CI-M subjects by major on the Communication Requirement website.

Physical Education Requirement

All juniors who have not completed the Physical Education GIR of 8 points and the swim requirement must have an approved Plan Proposal on file with Physical Education. This plan allows the Physical Education office to confirm the student's ability to complete the Physical Education GIR. If a student filed a plan at the end of his or her sophomore year and is not on track to finish the GIR in the timeframe indicated in the approved plan, the student must file an amendment. See Physical Education for a complete listing of all registration dates and plan filing deadlines.

Seniors

Graduation Information for Undergraduate Students

The Graduation Information for Undergraduate Students section of the Registrar’s web site outlines important procedures and considerations for students planning to graduate. Questions regarding the Committee on Academic Performance Degree Meeting should be directed to CAP staff.

Physical Education Requirement

All seniors who have not completed the Physical Education GIR of 8 points and the swim requirement must have a current approved Plan Proposal on file with Physical Education. This plan allows the Physical Education office to confirm the student's ability to complete the Physical Education GIR. If a student filed a plan at the end of his or her junior year and is not on track to finish the GIR in the timeframe indicated in the approved plan, the student must file an amendment. See Physical Education for a complete listing of all registration dates and plan filing deadlines.

Thesis Requirement

Some departmental programs require an undergraduate thesis, usually undertaken in the senior year. The Institute Archives and Special Collections publishes Specifications for Thesis Preparation, which contains information required for preparation of a thesis. Since thesis requirements may differ among departments, undergraduates should check with their departments' Undergraduate Administrators concerning specific requirements. A student working only on the thesis during a particular term must still pay tuition, and complete registration.

HASS Concentration Completion

Students must submit a signed HASS Concentration Completion Form to the Office of the HASS Requirement by the end of the first week of their final term at MIT, even if they are taking some of their concentration subjects during that term. A completion form can be filed at any point after the concentration subjects have been completed. If subjects are being taking during the final term, this should be noted on the completion form. There is a late fee for completion forms submitted after this deadline. Please consult the HASS Requirement website for more information.

Cross-registration

Since Harvard, Wellesley, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts follow different calendars from MIT's, all degree candidates considering taking subjects under cross-registration that are needed for their MIT degree must make sure that their grades will arrive at MIT before degree decisions are made; otherwise, students jeopardize the awarding of their degrees. The Registrar’s Office has information on the cross-registration process.

Procedures for Degree Candidates

At the beginning of the term in which he or she expects to graduate, a student must submit on WebSIS an online Application for Bachelor of Science Degree. A student should submit an application if there is a chance he or she will finish that term; there is no fine for removal from the degree list later. See Information and Deadlines for Degree Candidates.

Double Majors

Students may apply for a double major within the framework of a single SB degree, provided they meet the eligibility requirements and filing deadlines. Details about the requirements, deadlines, and application procedures are published on the Registrar’s web site.

Minors

Completion forms for minors in Architecture, Engineering, HASS, Management, or Science should be submitted no later than the end of the third week of the student's final term. The completion form must be filed even if the student is taking subjects to complete the minor in the final term. Students who file the form late will not only be subject to a late fee but also risk not being awarded the minor. The Registrar’s Office has outlined the Guidelines for an Undergraduate Minor.

Not-Registered Degree Candidate

Occasionally a former student may become a Not-Registered Degree Candidate if he or she is:

  • Transferring credit to complete outstanding requirements
  • Completing an outstanding I or OX grade
  • Cleared to graduate following a financial or disciplinary degree hold

A Not-Registered Degree Candidate must file a degree application. Contact the Registrar's Office to obtain access to the online degree application.

A Not-Registered Degree Candidate does not register for any subject or pay tuition. He or she is not a student and is not eligible for an MIT identification card, housing, financial aid, and any other student services.

To transfer in credit the Not-Registered Degree Candidate must submit a Request for Additional Credit Form signed by the appropriate transfer credit examiner and arrange for an official transcript, showing the work and final grade(s), to be sent directly to the Registrar's Office. The form and the transcript must be received prior to the CAP degree candidates meeting.