Programs & Services

Seminar XL/LE

An academic enrichment seminar primarily for freshmen, Seminar XL and Seminar XL LE enables participants to develop mastery of both core subject matter — Calculus, Physics, Chemistry and Biology — as well as intellectual skills for future success in advanced coursework.

Follow the "Become a Facilitator" link for staff applications!


Seminar XL/LE is a structured study group program based on Dr. Uri Treisman’s Challenge Calculus Workshops. We provide first-year students with a supportive venue for collective conceptual problem solving. Each semester, students in pursuit of the best possible grades join Seminar XL/Seminar XL LE groups where they work with a facilitator to deepen their understanding of the first-year core curriculum.  In addition, they learn to problem solve more efficiently through teamwork and acquired analytical skills that are useful in almost any academic or professional realm. By working closely together as a group, Seminar XL/Seminar XL LE students develop key skills that benefit their years at MIT as well as their graduate studies and professional lives. 

After registering for Seminar XL/Seminar XL LE, students are grouped by the MIT math and science courses they are taking during the academic year. While these sessions do not focus on specific class assignments or projects, students meet twice a week for 90 minutes to undertake work that supplements their current courses. Each group member is expected to identify questions and/or problems from their regular courses to discuss among the group, which functions as a safe haven for students to explore topics not raised in class. Graduate students and academically advanced upper-class undergraduates serve as facilitators for each group, guiding students through extensive discussions, board work, and collaborative thinking.
Seminar XL participants, who are freshmen, earn three units of academic credit for each group completed if they register for Seminar XL before the Add Date. Students who receive a Fifth Week Flag may receive one unit of academic credit if they join Seminar XL LE for the subject in which they received a flag and two units of academic credit if their participation continues through IAP (e.g., for a Seminar XL LE group in conjuction with 8.01L or 18.02A). For students that enroll in Seminar XL LE, but have not received a Fifth Week flag or enrolled in Seminar XL LE for a subject other than the one for which they received a flag the policy will remain the same as other MIT subjects (no credit after Add Date).