Transfer Credit

The next offering of the Transfer Credit Validation Exams is scheduled as follows:

8.01 8.02 
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
     1:00 pm
     Location: 4-370
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
     9:00 am
     Location: 4-370

NOTE: Please arrive ten minutes early to find a seat and get oriented.  Bring your MIT ID with you.

(updated 01/23/2017)

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.  We have found that few other colleges and universities offer subjects that are truly equivalent in depth and sophistication to 8.01 and 8.02 (or their alternate versions).  Students who have not received Advanced Placement, Advanced Standing, or college transfer credit for 8.01 and/or 8.02 are expected to take these subjects at MIT.

A student who has not satisfied the GIRs in Physics at MIT may wish to take a course at another college or university (e.g., during a summer session) and apply for transfer credit; students transferring to MIT may have already taken such a course.  In order to qualify for MIT credit, the course must:

  • be calculus-based and directed toward science or engineering majors;
  • use a text at a level comparable to that of texts used at MIT (see below);
  • be the equivalent of one MIT term in the number of lecture hours, number of assignments, etc.; have content matching that of 8.01 (Mechanics) or 8.02 (Electricity and Magnetism).

The principal topics usually included in such a course are listed below. Additional information can be found on the individual course web sites found here.

Obtaining transfer credit

Any student who wishes to request MIT credit for a course taken elsewhere should consult with the Transfer Credit Examinerexternal link icon for the Physics Department to determine whether the course meets MIT Physics’ standards.  In order to evaluate a given course, the Physics Transfer Credit Examinerexternal link iconwill need:

  • the catalog description;
  • a detailed syllabus including the title and author of the textbook and the chapters covered;
  • a transcript from the institution where the course was taken (a grade of B or better is required to receive transfer credit).

After completing the course, the student must then "validate" his or her transfer credit by passing an MIT 8.01 or 8.02 Validation Exam.  Continuing students who wish to take the 8.01 or 8.02 Validation Exam must submit a petitionpdf icon to Academic Programs, 4-315.  Exams are given during Orientation week prior to the Fall term and in the last week of IAP prior to the Spring term.

A student who passes the Validation Exam should then formally request transfer credit by submitting a Request for Additional Credit to the Physics Transfer Credit Examiner; his or her transcript will note a grade of “S” for transfer credit.  A student who fails the Validation Exam will have no grade noted on the transcript, but may not repeat the exam and should enroll in the appropriate subject at MIT.

Validation Exams for 8.01 and 8.02

The Physics Validation 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 Validation 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