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First-Year Credit Limits

For the Class of 2025

First-year students are subject to a credit limit by faculty rule. The limit aims to help you adjust to MIT’s workload while also learning to live a balanced life with more autonomy than you may be used to. The credit limits for each term of your first-year are:

  • Fall term = 54 units (plus 6 units of discovery‑focused subjects and related exceptions*)
  • Independent Activities Period  (IAP) = 12 units (all students are limited to 12 units in IAP)
  • Spring term = 60 units (plus 6 units of discovery‑focused subjects and related exceptions*)

Since most MIT subjects are worth 12 units of credit, this works out to 4 full subjects (48 units), plus 6 extra units, plus an additional 6 discovery-focusedunits that you may or may not choose to use.

  • Options for these extra 6 units beyond the main credit limit include an Advising Seminar (3-units), the Terrascope subject-12.000: Solving Complex Problems (which captures 3 units plus six of regular credit), UROP (up to six units), or one or more First-Year Discovery subjects.

This credit limit increase allows you more room for exploration. While some students might benefit from taking 60 regular units, you should note 48-54 units is still considered a typical load and advisable for most students. Requirements at MIT are structured so that you do not need to exceed 54 units per semester (or 48 in many cases) to successfully complete your degree in 4 years. Please talk to your advisor about how many units would make sense for you given your fall experiences and goals going forward.

  • Options for using the extra units in the spring are: one or more First-Year Discovery subjects or UROP (up to 6-units).
  • Students placed on Warning by the Committee on Academic Performance at the end of the fall semester have a spring credit limit fixed at 4 subjects, up to 48 units.

*The related exceptions are only 3 units for FAS and approved discovery classes.

Note: Physical Education classes are based on a point system and do not count toward the credit limit. Further, ROTC subjects, do not count toward the first-year credit limit.