Academic Year 2023-2024

2 Subjects: General Issues

The Committee meets bi-weekly between mid-September and May, and at least four times during IAP, to review all proposals for new or substantially revised undergraduate subjects for the following academic year, including proposals to eliminate subjects. However, because of pre-registration deadlines, no proposals for the following fall term are considered beyond the first week in April except under extraordinary circumstances. At the Committee’s discretion, proposals regarding subjects that are offered only during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), spring term, or summer session may be reviewed as late as the September prior to that term.

The Committee acts on proposals for subjects to be added to or deleted from the list of subjects that fulfill the General Institute Requirements; additions or deletions of core science subjects also require Faculty approval.

Changes in the General Institute Requirements are reviewed by the CoC and the Committee on the Undergraduate Program before transmission to the Faculty for discussion/approval.

The Committee reviews all proposals requesting P/D/F grading for undergraduate subjects or requesting the permission to use the grades of T (for subjects that span two consecutive terms and offer fixed units of credit) and J (for subjects that span multiple terms and offer variable units of credit, which are cumulative).

  • 2.1 General Guidelines for Reviewing Subject Proposals

    When reviewing proposals during meetings, the Committee considers the following factors:

    • The title should be descriptive of the subject’s content. If the subject is part of a sequence, the title should clearly reflect that.
    • The prerequisites and corequisites should be appropriate for the level of the subject. Prerequisites and corequisites should not be included in the subject’s description. Specific subject numbers should be used to identify prerequisites and corequisites wherever possible.
    • The units should reflect the content of the subject (e.g., there should be lab units for a laboratory subject).
    • The description should clearly convey the subject’s content to undergraduates and broader audiences (e.g., future employers, peer institutions) and the content itself must be appropriate for undergraduates. General terms rather than discipline-specific terms should be used wherever reasonable. Its tone must be appropriate for a subject listing (informational rather than promotional).
    • If there is language in the subject description stating that the subject is limited to a specific population, that limitation should be appropriate.
    • There must be an MIT instructor in charge of the subject.
    • The subject’s grading must be appropriate.
    • If the subject’s content overlaps with another department’s area, there must be evidence that the department has been consulted.

    If a subject used in a departmental program is being cancelled, the department must make provisions to replace it or revise the curriculum. The department should also consider how this change will affect a student’s progress through the degree.

  • 2.2 Special Grading Issues

    Subjects using J (continuing) grading or T (temporary) grading

    • Subjects that are planned to extend over more than one term should obtain approval for special grading. Subjects such as Thesis, UROP or At Plant registration (internship or industrial practice) are typically assigned J grades, with a final grade being awarded upon completion of the work.  J-graded subjects are offered for variable units of credit, which are cumulative.
    • Subjects that cover the equivalent of one term’s work over the course of two consecutive terms must obtain prior approval of CoC to offer a T grade at the end of the first term, with the final grade awarded when the subject is finished. Such subjects must be offered for fixed units of credit.
  • 2.3 Undergraduate vs. Graduate Subjects

    When an undergraduate subject meets with a graduate subject, the department must specify in the subject description of both subjects that there are different expectations for students seeking graduate credit. In these situations, the CoC takes special care to assess whether the necessary background and prerequisites are sufficiently clear and feasible.

    The CoC and the CGP have affirmed the principle that the scheduling and administration of linked graduate and undergraduate subjects will be governed by undergraduate rules.

    Because undergraduate students are permitted to take graduate subjects, the Committee will closely review the language used to differentiate graduate from undergraduate subjects that share a scheduling relationship. The Committee recommends using the following phrase to introduce that element of each description: “Students taking graduate version…"