Mathematics


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 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. Note to the MIT class of 2024 regarding the AB subscore on the Calculus BC exam, July 2020:  The college board did not report an AB subscore on the 2020 AP BC exam.  Thus, 18.01A placement based on the AB subscore is not available for the 2020 AP BC exam.  Students with less than a 5 on the 2020 BC exam who are interested in placing into 18.01A are invited take the 18.01 ASE in August.  The first half of the 18.01 ASE is on calculus AB material and the ASE will report an 18.01A subscore.
  • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing the first half of MIT’s 18.01 Advanced Standing Exam 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: NA
  • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing MIT’s 18.02 Advanced Standing Exam 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

18.022: Calculus with greater focus on concepts

  • For whom? Additional material in geometry, vector fields, and linear algebra.  More theoretical approach.
  • Pre-Requisite: 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. 

Videos about the Science Core GIRs that can be found on the School of Science YouTube playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdvxZS1QSbk1t4ojfSArHvzOH-YzSHUrJ.

Take-Aways: 

  • Many first-year students come in having fulfilled 18.01 and 18.02 with a combination of AP and transfer credits or having passed MIT’s Advanced Standing Exams. 
  • 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 Equationsin 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.

The Math Diagnostic for Math and Physics

The Math Diagnostic for Math and Physics (MDX) is a diagnostic exam to evaluate math and calculus preparation and to recommend appropriate placement in Physics I, since facility in high school math is strongly correlated with success in Physics I. In addition, as of 2019, the MDX will also be used to validate calculus preparation in students whose AP scores indicate they are eligible to receive credit for 18.01. Students solve problems in algebra, geometry, logarithms and exponentials, trigonometry and calculus. The student does not "pass" or "fail" this diagnostic.

  • Math: Students with a 5 on the Calculus BC test will need to receive a qualifying score on the MDX, as determined by the Mathematics Department, in order to receive 18.01 credit upon enrollment.
  • Physics:  The MDX results help the advisor and student make an informed placement choice into first-term physics. Based on the MDX score, each student will receive a recommendation for placement in 8.01L, 8.01, or 8.012. Please note that 8.012 is open only to those with AP credit for 8.01 or a qualifying MDX score as determined by the Physics Department.

MDX results will be posted in the online First-Year Advising Folder.  

Department Contacts:

  • Mr. Feng Gui, transfercredit18@math.mit.edu, Transfer Credit Examiner for 18.01- 18.06
  • Barbara Peskin, x3-2416, 2-110B, Mathematics Academic Administrator  
  • Bill Minicozzi, x3-3299, 2-371, Mathematics Education Officer