Reminders for the Beginning of Term

Undergraduate Subjects

Graduate Subjects

Copyright Permissions for Course Readers

In accordance with Federal copyright laws, MIT requires individual faculty to obtain all required copyright permissions for material contained in their course readers (Policies and Procedures Section 13.0). To encourage compliance with these regulations, the Copy Technology Centers have established a Copyright Service to assist faculty and staff in obtaining proper copyright permissions. When given 6 to 8 weeks lead time, the Service will forward copyright request forms to publishers, track responses, and process royalty fees.

Student Absence for Religious Observances

Students unable to attend classes or participate in any exam, study, or work requirement on a particular day because of their religious beliefs are excused from such activities. These students are to be given the opportunity to make up the work missed, provided that this does not create an unreasonable burden on MIT. In addition, no adverse or prejudicial effects will result because students have made use of these provisions, see Policies and Procedures, Section 9.7.3.

Disabilities Services Offices for Students

As required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, faculty share in the Institute's responsibility to make a reasonable effort in providing effective alternative means for qualified students with disabilities to fulfill course requirements. Specifically, faculty are responsible for working with the student and Disabilities Services staff to identify and provide reasonable accommodation for academic access and assessment. As members of the Institute community, faculty must maintain confidentiality on a need-to-know basis with regard to disclosure of information related to students with disabilities. For more information, please contact Kathleen Monagle, Assistant Dean, Disabilities Services Office for Students (x3-1674, monaglek@mit.edu).

Privacy and Student Information

MIT is committed to protecting the privacy of its community members. In 1999, MIT approved a new Student Information Policy that addresses explicitly faculty members' responsibilities in maintaining student privacy. Faculty members should be mindful that students' privacy can be violated inadvertently and give careful thought to how graded materials are distributed and information regarding grades and performance is conveyed. Leaving unattended graded work for pickup and public posting of grades — either on paper or electronically — have resulted in breaches of privacy in the recent past. Instructors should ensure that any interaction regarding grades or performance occurs directly with the student or through a secured means of communication. Consult the policy for more detailed information.

Academic Honesty

Because instructors' attitudes toward collaboration vary widely, students are often confused about expectations regarding permissible academic conduct. Different cultural values and priorities regarding academic honesty increase the need for clearly stated expectations. Failure to clarify expectations often contributes to cases of academic dishonesty brought before the Committee on Discipline.

Early in the term, faculty members should clarify in writing expectations regarding permissible academic conduct. While some expectations are obvious, gray areas exist where standards vary across subjects and departments. MIT Academic Integrity provides guidance for ensuring responsible academic behavior.

For some students, a particularly troublesome area is the question of working together on problem sets and other homework assignments. The use of old solution sets or lab reports presents a similar problem. Because homework assignments have two roles — helping students learn the material and helping instructors evaluate academic performance — it is not always obvious how much assistance from old materials, if any, the instructor finds acceptable. Course syllabi should explain precisely the faculty member's expectations about the nature and extent of any collaboration or assistance from old materials they permit or encourage. If assistance from old materials is permitted, the instructor should be certain that the materials are available to all students equally.

If a faculty member believes that a student has violated expected standards of academic honesty, s/he has several available courses of action. For more detailed guidelines, see the Academic Honesty sections of Policies and Procedures.

Faculty should report actionable cases of academic dishonesty to the Office of Student Citizenship at x3-7848. Within each department, a senior member of the Faculty, such as the department head, should be available to provide guidance to faculty members and students in cases of academic dishonesty. In addition, assistant and associate deans in the Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education, the Office of the Dean for Student Life, and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education , as well as the Ombuds Office, are available for consultation with students, faculty, and department heads.

Prerequisite Subjects

Prerequisites are used to indicate the sequence in which subjects are to be taken and the base of knowledge on which a particular subject will build. Before taking a subject, a student should complete any prerequisite(s) listed in the catalogue description for that subject. (Co-requisites, which are listed in the catalogue in italics, are to be taken concurrently.)

Once prerequisites and co-requisites are included in a subject listing, it is the responsibility of the instructor to insure that the subject is taught at that level. At the first class, instructors should reiterate the prerequisites and co-requisites, and describe acceptable substitutions.

Students who do not have the stated prerequisites should obtain the permission of the instructor. Instructors may request that the Registrar's Office identify students without prerequisites, and in some cases, screen them from the subjects. If the instructor allows a student to waive or make a substitution for a prerequisite, it is then the student's responsibility to master any missing background material in a timely fashion so that the content of the subject does not change for other students in the subject.

The instructor may determine that a student does not have the required preparation and knowledge to take a subject and may, with the help of the Registrar's Office, exclude the student from the subject.

Some departments require students with a D-level performance in certain prerequisite subjects within the departmental program to do additional work or to retake the prerequisite before proceeding with the follow-on subject.

Grading

Guidelines for letter grades are defined in Section 2.62.1 of the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty.

The factors which determine the award of grades in any particular subject will necessarily be affected by the scope and level of that subject. In relatively elementary subjects, the mastery of particular skills will often be of primary importance, whereas in more advanced subjects, more complex considerations may enter into the evaluation.

The Faculty wishes to make it clear that in determining a student's grade consideration will be given for elegance of presentation, creativity, imagination, and originality, where these may appropriately be called for.

Modifiers of + and - shall be allowed on the grades of A, B, and C. These modifiers are only for internal grade reports. Term and cumulative averages (internal and external) shall be calculated without modifiers.

Spring 2014 Online Subject Listings

The class schedule is available online and can be searched by topic, requirement, or class time.

Undergraduate Subjects

Class Times

Exercises shall, in general, be held between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. Monday through Friday.

Exercises begin five minutes after and end five minutes before the scheduled hour or half-hour; this gives students time to get to their next class and allows the faculty member coming into the classroom adequate time to set up. Instructors should make their teaching assistants who conduct recitations or tutorial sessions aware of this rule.

For undergraduate subjects taught on campus during the instructional period of the fall and spring terms, there cannot be any required academic exercises between 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. Monday through Thursday, and between 5 P.M. Friday and 8 A.M. Monday. This same restriction also applies to undergraduate subjects taught during the Independent Activities Period.

Monday evening class times are reserved for regularly scheduled classes; therefore, tests and required reviews are prohibited on Monday evening. When an optional review session is scheduled for a Monday evening (including a session that introduces new material or discusses upcoming test content), students must have an alternative way of obtaining comparable help within the normal instructional periods, e.g., faculty office hours.

First and Third Weeks of the Term

By the end of the first week of classes, the faculty member must provide:

  • a clear and complete description of the required work, including the number and kinds of assignments;
  • the approximate schedule of tests and due dates for major projects;
  • an indication of whether or not there will be a final exam; and
  • the grading criteria and procedures to be used.

By the end of the third week, the faculty member must provide the precise schedule of tests and major assignments.

Tests and Academic Exercises Outside Scheduled Class Times

Tests, required reviews, and other academic exercises outside scheduled class times shall not be held on Monday evenings. This regulation is intended to reduce conflicts with evening classes and first-year advising seminars and also to invigorate student activities and programs in the living groups. In addition, tests held outside scheduled class times shall:

  • not exceed two hours in length;
  • be scheduled through the Schedules Office; and
  • begin no earlier than 7:30 P.M. when held in the evening.

A student who is unable to take the test owing to a conflict with a scheduled academic exercise or extracurricular activity shall be allowed to do so at another time.

When a test is held outside scheduled class time, either:

  • a regularly scheduled class session (lecture or recitation) must be cancelled during the same calendar week OR
  • no assignment shall fall due during the same calendar week.

Incompletes

A completed Instructor's Report Form must accompany a grade of I. The form must include the anticipated completion date and indicate what the final grade would be if no other work were to be done in the subject. By the last day of the regular term during which the work was to have been completed, instructors must submit final grades based on the work completed. If no final grade is submitted, the grade indicated on the Instructor's Report Form will be the final grade recorded. No grade of Incomplete may be assigned to any undergraduate in the semester in which he or she graduates and all grades of Incomplete must be resolved prior to graduation.

Checklist

The UA Student Committee on Education has developed a checklist, which many students and faculty members find useful.

Graduate Subjects

Class Times

In accordance with the Regulations of the Faculty Section 2.10, exercises shall, in general, be held between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M. Monday through Friday. Exercises begin five minutes after and end five minutes before the scheduled hour or half-hour; this gives students time to get to their next class and allows the faculty member coming into the classroom adequate time to set up.

Third Week

By the end of the third week, the faculty member must provide:

  • a clear and complete description of the required work, including the number and kinds of assignments;
  • the schedule for tests and due dates for major projects;
  • whether or not there will be a final exam; and
  • the grading criteria and procedures to be used.

Major assignments should be assigned early enough to allow students the opportunity to manage their time effectively throughout the term.

Tests and Academic Exercises Outside Scheduled Class Times

When a student is unable to take the test that is held outside of scheduled class time owing to a conflict with another scheduled academic exercise or extracurricular activity, the student must be allowed to take the test at another time.