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More Exploratory Subjects Designated This Spring

By Jenny Zhang and Kathy Lin


Three-hundred and two sophomores designated subjects as exploratory this term by last Friday’s deadline, said Assistant Registrar Iria J. Romano ’83.

Sophomores are permitted to make one class each term “exploratory,” which allows them to “either accept the grade awarded or change the subject from credit to Listener status,” according to the Academic Guide for Undergraduates and Their Advisors, available at Exploratory.

Sophomores are required to make this decision by Registration day of the next term, after they have had the opportunity to see their final grade for the class.

The exploratory option was offered for the first time this academic year as part of a five-year program authorized by the Committee on the Undergraduate Program. It was designed to help freshmen transition to being on grades in their second semester. The Class of 2006 was the first to have one semester of Pass/No Record and one of ABC/No Record rather than Pass/No Record their entire freshman year.

Some lose exploratory option

The 121 members of the Class of 2006 who declared sophomore standing last spring do not have the exploratory option this semester, although they did not have the choice available to them during their first semester as sophomores last spring, because it had not yet been implemented.

This is because sophomore standing essentially moves a student’s class status forward by one semester, so that people who declared sophomore standing last year are considered juniors this term. Those students are eligible for Junior/Senior P/D/F this term.

David L. Roe ’06, who declared sophomore standing his freshman year, said that he “was a little disappointed” that he could not use the exploratory option this term, but that this would not have affected his decision to take sophomore standing last year. He said that last fall he had declared a subject exploratory because “it was a hard class in my major.”

This year, however, freshmen who declare sophomore standing will immediately have the option of declaring a subject exploratory for their second term at MIT.

Of the 287 sophomores who declared subjects exploratory during the Fall 2003 semester, 64 changed the designation to listener status, said assistant registrar Peter R. Hayes.