What is IAP?

Independent Activities Period (IAP) is a four-week period in January during which faculty and students are freed from the rigors of regularly scheduled classes for flexible teaching and learning and for independent study and research. 

While IAP is part of the academic program of the Institute– the “1” month in MIT’s “4-1-4” academic calendar– it is intended as a time for exploration of a wide variety of academic and non-academic topics by all members of the MIT community. IAP offerings are distinguished by their innovative, playful spirit and fusion of fun and learning. 

During IAP, MIT community members (students, faculty, staff, and alums) can organize, sponsor, and participate in a wide variety of activities like the ones listed to the right. All members of the MIT Community are encouraged to create offerings aimed at sharing a particular talent, expertise, or interest– not necessarily related to their day-to-day MIT roles– with others at the Institute.

IAP 2025 begins on Monday, January 6, 2025, and ends on Friday, January 31, 2025.

With IAP, the possibilities are endless. We hope you’ll join us in 2024.

Who participates in IAP?

All members of the MIT community may participate in IAP non-credit activities: faculty, students, staff, and alumni. IAP is not intended to serve members of the general public or non-MIT-affiliated groups. Alumni who wish to participate in IAP activities should review MIT’s campus access and visitor policies to understand current campus access requirements and restrictions.

The number of participants in specific IAP activities may be limited, but the ability to participate should not be limited to members of a particular group. Some activities require advance sign-up, but in many cases, participants can simply show up at the stated time.

IAP subjects (for credit) are available to all students registered in the fall or spring terms of the academic year. IAP subject listings will appear in the Online Subject Listing just as they do for fall and spring.

Illustration of a walking fish

How can I find IAP activities?

Check the MIT Events Calendar for IAP activities such as fun events and non-credit classes. We recommend looking in November as some activities require pre-registration or have a participant limit, but keep checking back as organizers continue to post activities throughout the month of January.

MIT students can also check out…

  • Subject listings for for-credit classes; 
  • ELx for Experiential Learning Opportunities; and 
  • Dorm-spam for many student-run social events.

How do I plan an IAP activity?

Hoping to offer a non-credit activity (note: we use “activity” to refer to any sort of non-credit class, workshop, or event offered during IAP)? Unlike for-credit subjects, non-credit activities do not need to go through a formal approval process. As long as whatever you are planning is safe, legal, and aligned with MIT’s policies (see the next section for details), you can go ahead and call it an IAP activity.

That said, we ask that you submit your activity to the Events Calendar and select “IAP (Independent Activities Period)” under “Event Types” so that people know you intend it to be an IAP activity. You should also select one or more of the IAP themes listed under “Events by Interest” to help people find your activity. The Events Calendar will act as the official list of non-credit IAP activities and OEL will direct MIT community members there to find activities.

In order to submit your activity to the calendar, you will need to be an admin on an account. If you don’t have an Events Calendar account, email calendar@mit.edu and request to either (1) be added as an admin under an existing account or (2) create a new account. Make sure to provide the group or DLC/office/program name and the admin name(s) you want to be added to the account. All admins on the account can post events on behalf of the group/DLC/office/program. Each admin will receive next-step instructions from the Events Calendar team. Please note that you can provide a general email address for the group, however, you’ll also need to submit individual email addresses for each admin.

If you are a current MIT employee or student and would like to post an activity that is not affiliated with a DLC/office/program or student group, OEL may be able to post the activity on your behalf. Please follow these instructions for proposing an unaffiliated IAP activity.

Responsibility for non-credit activities lies with the sponsoring MIT individual or group. All activities are required to meet safety, health, legal, and general regulations governing the use of MIT facilities.

IAP activity sponsors should review and understand:

Activity sponsors are responsible for scheduling and reserving rooms for their activities, and must cover associated costs. Below are instructions and tips on reserving MIT rooms and equipment.

  • InnovationHQ: From conference rooms for 5, to open modular event space for 80, MIT’s innovation hub, iHQ has multiple spaces for you to host IAP activities
  • Classrooms: Most classrooms can be reserved via the Schedules Office online reservation request form. You can request a specific room or a room by size, seating arrangement, location, and view pictures and detailed room layout/equipment information online via the MIT Schedules Office Classroom List.
  • Campus Activities Complex spaces: The CAC manages Kresge, the Student Center/W20, the Chapel, and Walker Memorial. They accept reservations on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Other On-Campus Rooms: There are many conference rooms and other facilities that can be reserved through individual offices, departments, or living groups. Rules for reserving these rooms vary.

You may be able to borrow equipment from a department, center, laboratory, office, or from the area where the activity will be located. If equipment cannot be borrowed, it may be rented from the MIT Audio-Visual Service. For any rental, a valid MIT Card is needed. Charges not billed to an MIT account are due in full, upfront, at the time the equipment is rented.

There are a few options for promoting your IAP activities…

  1. Events Calendar – This is the primary place to post activities open to the entire MIT community. IAP activities should be tagged with “IAP (Independent Activities Period)” under “Event Types” and any appropriate IAP themes under “Events by Interest.” Be sure to specify whether advance registration is required. If your activity spans multiple days (e.g. a non-credit class that meets weekly during IAP), be sure to include all dates/times and note whether attendance at multiple sessions is required/allowed/expected. If you do not have an Events Calendar account, please see the instructions under “Submitting an activity.” Consult this page for posting instructions and FAQs.
  2. ELx – This is the primary place to post Experiential Learning Opportunities (ELOs) for undergraduate and graduate students. To be listed on ELx, an ELO should be substantial in duration (typically 70+ hours in total). For more information, see the ELx FAQ
  3. Other Outlets – Websites, newsletters, email lists, social media accounts, digital displays, posters, and Tech ads can help get the word out about your IAP activity.