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How many finals do you have to take?

It is well known that different departments at MIT prefer different methods of evaluating students. For some, this is an important factor when choosing classes, or even a major. The Tech looked into how many finals are required in each of MIT’s courses. The data in this article do not take GIRs or HASS classes into account, assume a student follows prerequisites and does not take Advanced Standing Exams, and classes can be scheduled accordingly.

Math- and science-intensive schools have the largest average number of finals in their majors. The School of Engineering has on average between nine and ten finals per major. The School of Science has seven to eight finals on average. This is in sharp contrast to the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, which has two to three finals on average, opting instead for final projects or papers.

Some students, like Yuchen Fu ’17, consider finals when choosing classes to take. “If there are no other options, I’ll do it and won’t complain. But if I have a choice between two courses that are equally weighted that I like, I’d probably go with the one without the final,” said Fu, a prospective Course 18.

Another Course 18 student, Raul Fernando Boquin ‘17, has a different take on finals. “I pick courses that I enjoy, that get involved in my life,” said Boquin. “The number of finals is really irrelevant; the only thing that matters is how much you enjoy the subject — that will make the class worth it.”

Courses 17, 21W, and 24-1 — Political Science, Humanities, and Philosophy — are among the eight courses that require a minimum of zero finals to graduate in the program.

There is a tie between Courses 2 and 16 for the major with the highest minimum number of finals, six.

—Omar Ibarra