General Institute Requirements

Mathematics


Mathematics is the common language of science and engineering and is essential for understanding many aspects of the physical world. To provide a solid mathematical foundation, MIT has a two-subject General Institute Requirement in Mathematics  - 18.01X & 18.02X

  • 18.01: Single-variable calculus
    • For whom? Standard version for majority of first-year students. 
    • Pre-Requisite: High school algebra and trigonometry. Student may have a year or less of high school calculus and no AP credit. 
    • AP Credit: A score of 5 on the Calculus BC exam and a suitable score on the Math Diagnostic Exam gives 18.01 credit (AP information and Math Diagnostic scores will be in the student’s online First-Year Advising Folder). 
    • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing both parts of MIT’s 18.01 Advanced Standing Exam during Orientation week or Transfer Credit gives 18.01 credit.

       
  • 18.01A: Intensive half-term review of 18.01 with focus on later topics not covered in Calculus AB. Begin 18.02 in week 7.
    • For whom? For students with one year of high school calculus (generally at the Calculus AB level).
    • Pre-Requisite: Knowledge of differentiation and elementary integration
    • AP Credit: A score of 5 on the Calculus AB exam and a suitable Math Diagnostic score allows registering for 18.01A/18.02A
    • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing the first half of MIT’s 18.01 Advanced Standing Exam during Orientation week allows 18.01A registration.

       
  • 18.02: Multi-variable calculus  
    • For whom? Standard version for majority of first-year students. 
    • Pre-Requisite: 18.01
    • AP Credit: None
    • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing MIT’s 18.02 Advanced Standing Exam during Orientation week or Transfer Credit.

       
  • 18.02A: Identical to 18.02 but begins in week 7 and continues through IAP or spring term
    • For whom? Only for students who successfully complete 18.01A in first half of fall term
    • Pre-Requisite: 18.01A
    • AP Credit: Not applicable.
    • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Not applicable.

       
  • 18.022: Calculus with greater focus on concepts
    • For whom? For students with interest in additional material in geometry, vector fields, and linear algebra.  More theoretical approach. 
    • Pre-Requisite: 18.01
    • AP Credit: Not applicable.
    • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Not applicable.

New this year:  Students receiving a ‘5’ on the Calculus BC Advanced Placement exam (or suitable score on an international exam: International Baccalaureate, A-levels, etc.) must also demonstrate sufficient mastery of basic skills on the Math Diagnostic Exam for Physics and Math Placement given during Orientation Week in order to receive credit for 18.01.

Next steps in Math for first-year students who have fulfilled 18.01 and 18.02 requirements: 

  • 18.03 - Differential Equations -18.02 is a co-requisite; students may take both 18.02 and 18.03 in same term.
  • 18.06 -  Linear Algebra - 18.02 is a pre-requisite; Useful for many subjects.
  • 18.05 -  Probability and Statistics - Spring only; 18.02 is a pre-requisite. 

Take-Aways: 

  • Many first-year students come in having fulfilled 18.01 and 18.02 with a combination of transfer credits or having passed both of MIT’s Advanced Standing Exams during first-year orientation. 
  • Students have the option of finishing 18.02A during IAP, or during the second half of the spring semester by joining the regular lectures for 18.02.
  • Many first-year students will take 18.03 Differential Equations in their second semester. 
  • Some first-years come to MIT with significant math background and may want to try a higher-level subject, e.g., 18.100B, 18.700, or 18.701. First-year students should not enroll in these math subjects without consulting with someone in Mathematics. 
  • All “flavors” of 18.01 and 18.02 have lectures scheduled at the same time to facilitate moves between them.  In particular, students struggling with 18.01A may be able to drop into 18.01 up through the completion of 18.01A at the mid-semester.

For complete information, visit the Department of Mathematics website.