Advanced Standing Credit

The MIT Physics Department only offers ASEs twice a year (one in August and one in January).

The next offering of the Advanced Standing Exams is scheduled as follows:

8.01 and 8.03 8.02 and 8.04
Monday, August 31, 2020
8:00 AM Sharp
Room TBA
Tuesday, September 1, 2020
8:00 AM Sharp
Room TBA

  • Please arrive no later than 7:45am to check in and get situated.
  • Items to bring: MIT ID and writing utensil(s). Water will be provided.
  • Items not allowed: Calculators, outside food or drink.
(Last updated on March 27, 2020 10:18 AM )

NOTE: The dates above a subject to change. Please check this page often for updates.

The two semesters of physics at MIT that are required of all students as part of the General Institute Requirements (GIRs) are unique in that they constitute a rigorous, in-depth study of Classical Mechanics and Classical Electromagnetism. While we have found that few other schools offer subjects that are truly equivalent in depth and sophistication to 8.01 and 8.02 (or their alternate versions), there are some students who enter MIT with such strong background in physics that they may qualify for Advanced Standing credit. A student who believes that his or her preparation is sufficient to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter in 8.01 and/or 8.02 may take an Advanced Standing Exam.

Obtaining Advanced Standing credit

Only students who have never registered for 8.01 or 8.02 at MIT are eligible to take 8.01 and 8.02 Advanced Standing Exams (however, please note that the same exam is offered to students who wish to validate transfer credit from another college or university; see for information on transfer credit in the MIT Physics Department).

Incoming first-year students do not need to sign up for the fall offering of the exam, but may simply come to the exam room at the time and place listed above.

Continuing students and new transfer students should read the "What you need to do" section of the MIT Registrar's Office website and download the ASE petition.   Students are required to first obtain a signature from the Academic Administrator for Physics, Catherine Modica, in the Physics Academic Programs Office (4-315) before delivering the form to the Registrar (5-117) no later than three weeks prior to the exam period.  Additional information about Advanced Standing Exams at MIT can be found at

First-semester freshmen receive a grade of P if they pass the exam, or no grade if they fail it. Second-semester freshmen are graded on the A/B/C/No Record scale; any passing grade will appear on the student's transcript. Upperclassmen (including new transfer students) receive letter grades that will appear on their transcript, but not factor into the GPA. Any student who fails the advanced standing exam cannot repeat it, and should enroll in the appropriate subject at MIT.

Exams are given during Orientation week prior to the fall term and in the last week of IAP prior to the spring term; please note that the Physics Department does not offer ASEs in December or May.

Advanced Standing Exams for 8.01 and 8.02

The Physics Advanced Standing Exams are three-hour, closed book exams covering Classical Mechanics (8.01) or Classical Electromagnetism (8.02) at a level of calculus-based introductory physics texts for science and engineering students such as: University Physics by Young and Freedman; Physics by Halliday, Resnick and Krane; Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Serway; Physics for Scientist and Engineers by Fishbane, Gasiorowicz, and Thornton. The exams will be similar to the final exams given in 8.01 and 8.02, with problems based on a selection of the topics listed below. Neither calculators nor formula sheets may be used during Advanced Standing Exams.

8.01 Topics 8.02 Topics
Newton's Laws of Motion Electric Charge and Electric Field
Work, Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy Gauss's Law
Conservation of Energy and Momentum; Collisions Electric Potential and Potential Energy
Circular Motion; Rotation of Rigid Bodies Capacitance and Dielectrics
Torque and Angular Momentum Current, Resistance, Electromotive Force; DC Circuits
Statics and Equilibrium Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Forces on Currents
Universal Gravitation Amperes Law; Biot-Savart Law
The Simple Harmonic Oscillator Faraday's Law of Induction
Basic Fluid Mechanics Inductance
Thermal Properties of Matter AC Circuits
  Displacement Current
  Maxwell's Equations and Electromagnetic Waves
  Interference and Diffraction