MIT: Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyClass of 2017

First Year Academics: Freshman Credit Limits

Freshmen are subject to a credit limit by Faculty rule. The limit aims to help you adjust to MIT's workload while learning to live a balanced life with more autonomy than you may be used to. The credit limits for each term of your freshman year follow:

  • Fall term = 54 units
  • Independent Activities Period (known as IAP, which runs during January) = 12 units
  • Spring term = 57 units

As a first-semester freshman, you may take no more than 54 units. Since most MIT subjects are worth 12 units of credit, this works out to 4 full subjects (48 units), plus an additional 6 units that you may or may not choose to use. Popular options for using the extra 6 units in the fall are a Freshman Advising Seminar or one of the music performance groups like MIT Symphony or Concert Choir. You do not have to take the full 54 units of credit. Many freshmen choose to forgo the units to spend non-academic time on varsity sports or student activities.

Students in Terrascope may take a total of 57 units (4 full subjects plus Mission 2017). Students in Seminar XL may exceed the 54-unit credit limit by 3 or 6 units (one or two XL groups).

21L.020J/21F.076J: Globalization: This popular 18-unit program counts toward both the Communication and the HASS Requirements. It is difficult, but not impossible, to take Globalization with its associated language class (9 units for each) plus a 6-unit subject like an Advising Seminar or music performance group, and stay within the 54-unit freshman fall credit limit.

Note: Physical Education classes are based on a point system and do not count toward the credit limit. As well, ROTC subjects, while they carry academic credit, do not count toward the freshman credit limit.