- Open Matters
Experience MIT’s freshman year with OCW
Best wishes for the new school year! And that goes double if you're a new college freshman. MIT's freshman year is known to be rigorous and challenging; but there's also plenty of fun, creativity and collaboration. What courses fill the first two semesters here?
- A required sequence of six core math and science subjects
- One course per semester in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS), since undergrads must take at least eight HASS electives before graduation.
Use OCW to get a detailed view of the complete MIT freshmen year. (One of these courses is also about to begin as a MOOC from MITx on edX, as noted below.) Get inspired, prepare for your own upcoming classes, supplement your current studies…or just relive the memories if it's been a few years.
Core Math and Science Requirements
Each of these requirements can be satisfied by one of several courses. The course options accomodate diverse student backgrounds and interests, with varied ways to learn the key concepts.
Two semesters of calculus
- 18.01SC Single Variable Calculus; or for advanced students, 18.014 Calculus with Theory
- 18.02SC Multivariable Calculus; or for advanced students, 18.024 Multivariable Calculus with Theory
Two semesters of physics
- 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics; or for advanced students, 8.012 Physics I: Classical Mechanics
- 8.02 Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism; or for advanced students, 8.022 Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism
One semester of chemistry
- Choose from 5.111 Principles of Chemical Science, the more advanced 5.112 Principles of Chemical Science (assumes 2 years of high school chemistry), or 3.091SC Solid State Chemistry, which emphasizes engineering applications. [A new MITx version of 3.091 begins on Sept. 8.]
One semester of biology
- Choose among several versions of Introductory Biology. They all cover the same core concepts, but each has a different emphasis (i.e. genomics, ecosystem biology, cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry). All versions assume a strong chemistry background, so most students take this after satisfying the chemistry requirement. 7.01SC Fundamentals of Biology is OCW's "greatest hits" compilation. OCW also has several versions of the individual Introductory Biology courses: 7.012, 7.013, 7.014, and 7.016.
Freshmen that test out of one or more of these core requirements are free to move ahead to higher-level math or science classes, or explore other disciplines like programming, engineering, and business. In a follow-up post, we'll use OCW to highlight some of these options.
Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) Electives
MIT has great strength in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Freshmen choose from several hundred introductory HASS courses to round out their schedules. Here's a representative sample from OCW.
- Anthropology: 21A.01 How Culture Works
- Architecture: 4.602 Modern Art and Mass Culture
- Brain and Cognitive Sciences: 9.00SC Introduction to Psychology
- Comparative Media Studies: CMS.100 Introduction to Media Studies
- Concourse: CC.112 Philosophy of Love
- Economics: 14.01SC Principles of Microeconomics
- Experimental Studies: ES.21W732 Science Writing and New Media
- Global Studies and Languages: 21G.027 Asia in the Modern World: Images & Representations
- History: 21H.001 How to Stage a Revolution
- Linguistics: 24.900 Introduction to Linguistics
- Literature: 21L.315 Prizewinners: Nobelistas
- Music: 21M.065 Introduction to Musical Composition
- Philosphy: 24.09 Minds and Machines
- Political Science: 17.40 American Foreign Policy
- Science, Technology and Society: STS.003 The Rise of Modern Science
- Theater Arts: 21M.710 Script Analysis
- Urban Studies and Planning: 11.002J Making Public Policy
- Women's and Gender Studies: WGS.101 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
- Writing: 21W.021 Writing and Experience: MIT, Inside, Live