First-Year Academics: Physics
Physics concepts are vital for study in every other science and in all engineering fields. To provide a solid mathematical foundation, MIT has a two-subject General Institute Requirement in physics.
To fulfill the Physics GIR, you must receive credit for both introductory physics subjects, 8.01 Physics I and 8.02 Physics II. Which versions of Physics I and II you take will depend on your background and interests.
View the Core Blitz video: Nergis Mavalvala Presentation
You can fulfill the Physics requirements in the following ways:
- taking and passing the subjects here at MIT
- (for 8.01 only) receiving appropriate Advanced Placement or International Exam credit
- taking and passing the 8.01 or 8.02 Advanced Standing Exam
- receiving transfer credit from another university (MIT validation exams also required)
Placement into 8.01 (Physics I) will depend on the results of the Math Diagnostic for Physics Placement, a mandatory paper/pencil test given during Orientation. If you have AP credit for 8.01, you do not need to sit for the Math Diagnostic.
- 8.01 uses the TEAL format (Technology-Enabled Active Learning).
- 8.01L (L=Longer) covers exactly the same material and in the same depth as 8.01, but finishes during January IAP. 8.01L is offered in the Fall Term only. Intended for freshmen with little or no exposure to physics with calculus in high school. If you take 8.01L you should be taking some version of Calculus I 18.01 at the same time. If you have AP credit for calculus, consider 18.01A/02A along with 8.01L.
- 8.012 is intended for students with a strong background in physics and math, especially for those with AP or Advanced Standing Exam credit for 8.01. 8.012 is taught in more depth, with longer and harder problem sets.
- The Physics Department suggests that a student with AP or ASE credit for 8.01 consider enrolling in 8.012, rather than going right into 8.02. Students with credit for 8.01 who elect to take 8.012 receive 6 units of elective credit.
- 8.011: Physics I (Special version of 8.01 for Spring for students who do not pass 8.01 in the fall. 8.011 covers the same material as 8.01.
You cannot enroll in 8.02 until you have received credit for both 8.01 and 18.01 (Calculus I). Both 8.02 and 8.022 are offered in Fall and Spring terms.
- 8.02 presents the material using the TEAL format.
- 8.022 is taught at a more mathematically advanced level and is intended for students with a strong background in physics and math. It is offered in both Fall and Spring.
Advanced Standing Exams in Physics
The Physics Advanced Standing Exams (ASEs) will be held during Orientation in August. Physics Validation Exams for transfer credit will be offered at the same time as the Physics ASEs.
- A passing grade on the 8.01 ASE will give credit for Physics I.
- A passing grade on the 8.02 ASE will give credit for Physics II.
Details about time and place will be in the Hitchhiker's Guide to Orientation, which you will receive when you arrive on campus.