What you need to know
As you progress through your time at MIT, make yourself aware of the requirements you must complete each year, as well as the various grading policies and educational opportunities available to you.
SELECTING A DEPARTMENT
Most students declare their major during the spring term of their first year. Those who do not are called “undesignated sophomores,” and must declare before beginning their junior year. Once you declare your major, you are assigned an advisor from that department.
As a sophomore, you will continue taking subjects to satisfy General Institute Requirements and begin your departmental program. During your junior and senior years, you will generally concentrate on your departmental program. Subjects from the departmental program constitute approximately half of the work you must complete for an SB degree.
COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENT (CR)
To stay on track, you must complete one Communication Intensive (CI) subject each year. Generally, this means completing your second CI-H/HW subject by the end of your sophomore year, and one CI-M subject in each of your final two years. See Pace & Planning for full details on the CR by year.
Before the end of the first week of the second term of your junior year, you must select a HASS Concentration and submit a Concentration Proposal Form. Your HASS Concentration Completion Form is due by the end of your final term at MIT, even if you are taking some of your concentration subjects that term.
Learn more about HASS Concentrations, including fields of study and instructions for completing the requirement, here.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT (PE)
We recommend that you complete your Physical Education Requirement of 8 PE points and fulfill your swimming requirement by the end of your second year. Those who do not must file a PE plan by the due date to avoid a late fee. This plan allows the Physical Education office to confirm your ability to complete this GIR. If, after filing a plan, you will still not finish in the timeframe indicated, you must file an amendment.
Some departments require an undergraduate thesis as part of their program. They differ among departments, but are usually undertaken during your senior year. Check with your department's undergraduate administrator for specific thesis requirements and review specifications for thesis preparation from the MIT Libraries.
At the beginning of the term in which you expect to graduate, you must submit your degree application on WebSIS. You should submit an application if there is a chance you will finish that term; there is no fine to remove yourself from the degree list later. Review the undergraduate degree requirements for deadlines and details.
SOPHOMORE EXPLORATORY OPTION
An Exploratory subject is one in which you may either accept the grade awarded or change the subject from credit to listener status by Registration Day of the following regular term. Sophomores may designate one subject as Exploratory in each of their fall and spring semesters. Any subject taken at MIT or at a cross-registered institution, including an Institute or departmental requirement, may be designated as Exploratory.
JUNIOR-SENIOR P/D/F OPTION
Juniors and seniors may designate up to two subjects to be graded P/D/F. These subjects may be taken in the same term or in separate terms, including IAP. They cannot be used to fulfill an Institute, departmental, or minor requirement.
first-year EXPERIMENTAL GRADING POLICY
Those who entered MIT as first-year students in fall 2018 may designate up to three science, mathematics, and engineering (SME) General Institute Requirements (GIRs) to be graded on a Pass/No Record (P/NR) basis after their first term. Learn more here.
If you would like to declare a minor, we recommend that you do so during your sophomore year. Completion forms for minors in architecture, engineering, HASS, management, or science should be submitted no later than the end of the third week of your final term, even if you are taking subjects to complete the minor in said term. If you file the form late, you will be subject to a fee and risk not being awarded the minor.
You may apply for a double major within the framework of a single SB degree, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements and filing deadlines. See Choosing a Double Major for more information.
During the fall and spring terms, you may cross-register for classes at Harvard University, Wellesley College, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). Each school has its own set of rules and deadlines. Review cross-registration information and procedures here.
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) is one of a number of experiential learning opportunities available to students at MIT. Visit UROP for more information and to find projects.