Advanced Standing Credit

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

Statement from Physics Undergraduate Program
November 13, 2020

FYI: All Physics Advanced Standing exams will be given virtually this January. More specific details regarding directions for the test will be announced soon.

First-Year Students and new spring transfer students need to complete this registration form for any ASEs by December 11th. For upperclassmen who want to take an ASE, please complete this petition and email it to


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

8.01 ASE: Date: January 21st
Time: 12 – 3 PM EST
8.02 ASE: Date: January 22nd
Time: 12 – 3 PM EST
8.03 ASE: Date: January 25th
Time: 12 – 3 PM EST
8.04 ASE: Date: January 26th
Time: 12 – 3 PM EST
If a student cannot take an ASE/Validation Exam at the time(s) listed due to time zone differences that would cause an undue burden, please contact as soon as possible to arrange an accommodation.
(Last updated on January 13, 2021 3:56 PM )

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.

Accommodations for Advanced Standing Exams

In order to be granted extended time or any other needed accommodation for the exams offered, students need to get approval from the Disabilities and Access Services Office ( Students also need to contact the Physics Course Manager, Denise Wahkor ( to coordinate the logistics of the accommodation requested.

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 Coulomb’s Law
Linear Motion: Kinematics and Dynamics Electric Field for Discrete and Continuous Charge Distributions
Circular Motion: Kinematics and Dynamics Gauss's Law
Work, Kinetic Energy, Potential Energy Electric Potential and Potential Energy
Conservation of Energy Equipotential Surfaces
Momentum and Impulse Capacitance and Capacitors
Conservation of Momentum Energy Stored in Electric Fields
Systems of Particles: Center of Mass, Velocity of Center of Mass, Newton’s Laws Current and Current Density
One and Two Dimensional Collisions Resistance and Ohm’s Law
Fixed Axis Rotation of Rigid Bodies: Kinematics and Dynamics Electromotive Force; DC Circuits
Torque and Angular Momentum Magnetic Fields
Static Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies Magnetic Forces on Moving Charges and Currents in External Magnetic fields
Universal Gravitation Amperes Law; Biot-Savart Law
The Simple Harmonic Oscillator Faraday's Law of Induction
Translation and Rotation of Rigid Bodies Self-Inductance and Inductors
Non-inertial Reference frames: linearly accelerating Energy Stored in Magnetic Fields
  RC Circuits, LR Circuits, and LC Circuits
  Displacement Current
  Maxwell's Equations
  Electromagnetic Plane Sinusoidal Waves
  Poynting Vector and Electromagnetic Energy