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 also 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 are:
- 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, 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.
- If you choose to join Terrascope, one of the first year learning communities, you will enroll in Mission 2018—a 9-credit subject. The fall term credit limit for students enrolling in 12.000 or Mission 2018 is 57.
- Students in Seminar XL may exceed the 54-unit credit limit by 3 or 6 units (one or two XL groups).
Note: Physical Education classes are based on a point system and do not count toward the credit limit. Further, ROTC subjects, while they carry academic credit, do not count toward the freshman credit limit.