General Institute Requirements (GIRs)
All MIT undergraduates must complete the General Institute Requirements (GIRs). During the first semester, your program should be a mix of GIR subjects, which may serve as pre-reqs for foundational major classes, 1 HASS/CI-H class, and 1-3 classes that sound interesting and give you a taste of a possible major or minor.
Your subject schedule will depend on your background and AP, international examination, or transfer credit. 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. Details and resources related to MIT GIR classes can be found on MIT’s Open Learning site.
General Institute Requirements (GIRs) include:
- Science Core: Six foundational courses in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. Be sure to also check out the videos about GIRs that can be found on the School of Science YouTube playlist.
- 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. Complete information is also available on the Communication Requirement website.
- Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement: Over your four years you must take eight HASS subjects, fulfilling the three components of the HASS Requirement—Distribution, Concentration, Electives. 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 also 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 may be taken within the major department; the other must be from another department.