General Institute Requirements (GIRs)


All MIT undergraduates must complete the General Institute Requirements (GIRs).  During the first semester, most of your program will involve the GIRs, which will lay the foundation for study in your major. Your subject schedule will depend on your background and AP or transfer credit, but in the fall will likely will include 3 subjects in the Science Core—Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, or Physics—as well as an appropriate Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) subject. You should also plan to enroll in at least one Physical Education class in your first semester in order to complete the PE GIR by the end of sophomore year. In the second semester, you might start adding subjects for your anticipated major.

The GIR subjects serve as your entrée into any major department. General Institute Requirements (GIRs)​ include:

Freshman Science Core

Subjects taken in Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics as detailed below.

Biology

In order to fulfill the Biology GIR, you'll need to take one of the following introductory 12-unit subjects: 7.012, 7.013, 7.014, 7.015 or 7.016. Learn more about the variations of the Biology GIR on Biology Department website.

Mathematics

In order to fulfill the Mathematics GIR, you'll need to take two of the introductory 12-unit subjects listed below.

  • One version of 18.01: 18.01 or 18.01A, AND
  • One version of 18.02: 18.02, 18.02A, 18.022, or 18.024.

Review the Mathematics GIR page for details on the variations of 18.01 and 18.02.

Chemistry

In order to fulfill the Chemistry GIR, you'll need to take one of the following introductory 12-unit subjects: 5.111, 5.112, or 3.091. See the Chemistry GIR page as well as the Chemistry department's site to learn more about 5.111 and 5.112 and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering's GIR page for more information on 3.091.

Physics

In order to fulfill the Physics GIR, you'll need to take two of the introductory 12-unit subjects listed below.

  • One version of 8.01 (Mechanics): 8.01, 8.01L, 8.011, or 8.012, AND
  • One version of 8.02 (Electricity and Magnetism): 8.02 or 8.022

See the Physics GIR page for information on the variations of 8.01 and 8.02.

Communication Requirement

The Communication Requirement is a paced requirement of four Communication Intensive subjects, one in each of your four years. In your freshman year, you must complete a Communication Intensive subject offered in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, labeled CI-H or CI-HW.

See the Communication Requirement page. Complete information is also available on the Communication Requirement website. 

Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS)

Over your four years you must take eight HASS subjects, fulfilling the three components of the HASS Requirement—Distribution, Concentration, Electives.

See the HASS Requirement page. Complete information is also available on the HASS Requirement website.

Laboratory Requirement

Normally you will meet the Lab requirement in your second or third year by taking one 12-unit or two 6-unit subjects, designated for this requirement, in your major department.

Physical Education Requirement

You are expected to pass the swim test and earn 8 Physical Education points by the end of your sophomore year. PE classes earn 2 points each and are offered in 4 quarters during the academic year and in IAP, so it's quite possible to complete your PE requirement during your first year.

See Physical Education Requirement page and the Physical Education website for complete information on the PE GIR.

Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST)

Students ordinarily take two subjects from a list of approved REST subjects in their second year. One is taken within the major department; the other must be from another department.