First-Year Academics: Freshman Credit Limits
Freshmen are subject to a credit limit by Faculty rule. The limit aims to help students adjust to MIT's workload while learning to live a balanced life. Credit limits for each term of the freshman year are:
- Fall term = 54 units (exceptions listed below)
- Independent Activities Period (IAP) = 12 units
- Spring term = 57 units
A first-semester freshman may take no more than 54 units. Since most MIT subjects carry 12 units of credit, this works out to 4 full subjects (48 units), plus 6 units that students 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.
Faculty-Approved Exceptions to the Fall 54-unit limit:
- Students in Terrascope may take a total of 57 units (4 full subjects plus the 9-unit Mission 2018).
- Students in Seminar XL may exceed the 54-unit credit limit by 3 or 6 units (one or two XL groups).
There are no exceptions to the IAP or Spring credit limits.
- Physical Education classes are based on a point system and do not count toward the credit limit.
- ROTC subjects, while they carry academic credit, do not count toward the freshman credit limit.
- While subjects taken on Listener status do not count toward the freshman credit limit, most students should be advised not to add this extra commitment to their already busy schedules.