8.01- Classical Mechanics

  • For whom? Standard version for majority of first-years.
  • AP Credit: Given for scores of 5 on both Parts 1 and 2 of the Physics C Advanced Placement, along with a passing grade (yet to be determined by the faculty) on the Math Diagnostic Exam
  • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing the 8.01 Advanced Standing Exam; or transfer credit. 

8.01L- Classical Mechanics (L=Longer): Same syllabus as 8.01 but includes January IAP. Extra weeks used to reinforce basic concepts and to allow more time to develop problem-solving skills.

  • For whom? For those with little or no exposure to physics with calculus in high school and/or as recommended by Math Dx.  Data shows that students who succeed in 8.01L do just as well in 8.02 as those who succeed in 8.01.
  • AP Credit: Students with AP credit for 8.01 who choose to take 8.01L earn 6 units of general elective credit. 

8.012-Classical Mechanics: Mathematically much more advanced than 8.01, with much more difficult problems.  

  • For whom? For students with very strong backgrounds in physics and math. Limited to students with 8.01 AP credit or qualifying Math Dx score
  • AP Credit: Students with AP credit for 8.01 who choose to take 8.012 receive 6 units of elective credit.

8.02 -Electricity and Magnetism

  • For whom? Standard version for students who have credit for 8.01 and 18.01.
  • Pre-requisite: 8.01 and 18.01 
  • Advanced Standing Exam or Transfer Credit: Passing the MIT 8.02 dvanced Standing Exam  or transfer credit.

8.022 -Electricity and Magnetism: Mathematically more advanced than 8.02. 

  • For whom? For students with very strong backgrounds in physics and math. 
  • Pre-requisite: 8.01 and 18.01; knowledge of vector calculus assumed. 

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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

    Additional guidance for 8.01 placement:

    • Many 8.01L students should be taking some version of 18.01 Calculus I at the same time as 8.01L. Students who take 8.01L who have 18.01 AP credit should consider taking the 18.01A/18.02A sequence to support their work in 8.01L.
    • If taking 8.01, a student should either be taking 18.01 or have credit for 18.01.  If taking 8.02, a student should either be taking 18.02 or have credit for 18.02. 
    • Most 8.012 students should be taking a more advanced Calculus subject than 18.01 (i.e. 18.02 or higher). 
    • 8.011 (Spring only) is an additional version of Physics I for those who failed any version of 8.01 in the fall.  

    Videos about the Science Core GIRs that can be found on the School of Science YouTube playlist at:

    Department Contacts: 

    • Catherine Modica, x3-4842, 4-315, Physics Academic Administrator and Transfer Credit Examiner
    • Nergis Mavalvala, x3-5657, NW22-213, Physics Associate Department Head 
    • Barbara Peskin, x3-2416, 2-110B, Mathematics Academic Administrator
    • William Minicozzi, x3-3299, 2-371, Mathematics Associate Department Head