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Other Academic Exploration Subjects

The subjects listed below count towards the normal credit limit but have been recommended by departments as good ways for first-year students to explore.

The list includes a wide variety of subjects that are suitable to different exploration approaches. Some focus on one specific foundational topic, others provide a broad overview of the major, and still others offer a deep dive into a more advanced or hands-on aspect of the major.

Many subjects on this list are also sophomore-level requirements for majors, so make sure you are academically prepared to take whatever subjects you select. For more guidance on subject selection, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Undergraduate Administrators in each department. 

Subject IDSubject NameTerm OfferedUnits
1.007Big Engineering: Small Solutions with a Large ImpactFA6
1.020Engineering Sustainability: Analysis and DesignSP12
1.097Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering ResearchIAP6
1.101Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Design IFA6
1.102Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Design IISP6
2.00Introduction to DesignFA (2nd half)6
2.00AFundamentals of Engineering Design: Explore Space, Sea and EarthSP9
2.00BToy Product DesignSP9
2.00C[J]Design for Complex Environmental Issues: Building Solutions and Communicating IdeasSP9
2.674Introduction to Micro/Nano Engineering LaboratorySP6
2.722D-Lab: DesignSP12
2.982Ecology and Sustainability of Coastal EcosystemsFA9
3.003Principles of Engineering PracticeSP9
3.006NEET Seminar: Advanced Materials Machines (first years need to contact NEET Advisor, Prof. Elsa Olivetti, elsao@mit.edu, if interested)FA, SP3
3.007Introduction to Materials and Mechanical Design (first years need to contact NEET Advisor, Prof. Elsa Olivetti, elsao@mit.edu, if interested)FA6
3.091Introduction to Solid-State ChemistryFA, SP12
3.094Materials in Human ExperienceSP9
4.021Design Studio: How to DesignFA, SP12
4.02ADesign Studio: How to Design IntensiveIAP9
4.110Design Across Scales and DisciplinesSP12
4.301Introduction to Artistic ExperimentationFA, SP12
4.520Visual Computing ISP12
4.605A Global History of ArchitectureSP12
4.657Design: The History of Making Things (CI-H)SP12
5.12Organic Chemistry IFA, SP12
5.301Chemistry Laboratory TechniquesIAP, SP6
5.302Introduction to Experimental ChemistryIAP3
5.60Thermodynamics and KineticsFA, SP12
6.0001Introduction to Computer Science Programming in PythonFA, SP (1sthalf)6
6.01Introduction to EECS via RoboticsSP12
6.02Introduction to EECS via Communication NetworksFA12
6.03Introduction to EECS via Medical TechnologySP12
6.057Introduction to MATLABIAP3
6.08Introduction to EECS via Interconnected Embedded SystemsSP12
6.117Introduction to Electrical Engineering Lab SkillsIAP6
6.145Brief Introduction to PythonIAP3
6.146Mobile Autonomous Systems Laboratory: MASLABIAP6
6.147The BattleCode Programming CompetitionIAP6
6.148Web Lab: A Web Programming Class and CompetitionIAP6
6.151iOS Game Design and Development CompetitionIAP6
7.002Fundamentals of Experimental Molecular BiologyFA, SP6
7.01x Introductory BiologyFA, SP12
7.102Laboratory in Molecular BiologyIAP6
8.20Introduction to Special RelativityIAP9
8.21Physics of EnergySP12
8.223Classical Mechanics IIIAP6
8.s10Techniques of Experimental PhysicsSP9
8.s50Color Perception TechnologyIAP6
9.00Introduction to Psychological ScienceSP12
9.01Introduction to NeuroscienceFA12
10.00Molecule BuildersSP6
10.10Intro to Chemical EngineeringFA, SP12
11.001JIntroduction to Urban Design and DevelopmentFA12
11.002JMaking Public Policy (CI-H)FA12
11.004People and the Planet: Environmental Histories and EngineeringSP12
11.005Introduction to International DevelopmentSP12
11.011The Art and Science of NegotiationFA, SP12
11.013JAmerican Urban History (CI-H)FA9
11.014JHistory of the Built Environment in the US (CI-H)FA9
11.016JThe Once and Future City (CI-H)SP12
11.123Big Plans and Mega-Urban LandscapesSP9
12.000Solving Complex ProblemsFA9
12.001Introduction to GeologyFA12
12.002Introduction to Geophysics and Planetary ScienceSP12
12.003Introduction to Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate DynamicsFA12
12.031JFundamentals of EcologyFA12
12.11Nature’s Sandbox: A Record of Great Moments in Earth HistoryIAP2
12.409Hands-On Astronomy: Observing Stars and PlanetsSP6
14.01Principles of MicroeconomicsFA, SP12
14.02Principles of MacroeconomicsFA, SP12
14.30Introduction to Statistical Methods in EconomicsFA12
14.73The Challenge of World Poverty (CI-H)FA12
15.0111Economic Analysis for Business DecisionsFA9
15.053Optimization Methods in Business AnalyticsSP12
15.276Communicating with Data (CI-M)SP12
15.279Management Communication for Undergraduates (CI-M)FA, SP12
15.312Organizational Processes for Business Analytics (CI-M)FA12
15.359JInnovation Engineering: Moving Ideas to ImpactFA12
15.373JVenture EngineeringSP12
15.501Corporate Financial AccountingFA, SP12
15.8141Marketing InnovationSP9
15.s41Software Tools for Business AnalyticsIAP3
16.00Introduction to Aerospace and DesignSP6
16.632NEET Sophomore Seminar: Autonomous MachinesFA3
16.S685Special Subject in Aeronautics and AstronauticsSPUnits arranged [P/D/F]
17.03Introduction to Political ThoughtSP12
17.01JJustice (CI-H)SP12
17.20Introduction to the American Political Process (CI-H)FA12
17.30JMaking Public Policy (CI-H)FA12
17.40American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future (CI-H)FA12
17.41Introduction to International Relations (CI-H)SP12
17.50Introduction to Comparative Politics (CI-H)SP12
18.062JMathematics for Computer ScienceFA, SP12
18.03Differential EquationsFA, SP12
18.05Introduction to Probability and StatisticsSP12
18.06Linear AlgebraFA, SP12
18.095Mathematics Lecture SeriesIAP6
18.100xReal Analysis – any “flavor” (some flavors CI-M)FA, SP12
18.200/18.200APrinciples of Discrete Applied Math (SP is CI-M)FA, SP12, 15
18.510Introduction to Mathematical Logic and Set TheoryFA12
18.600Probability and Random VariablesFA, SP12
18.700Linear AlgebraFA12
18.703Modern AlgebraSP12
18.781Theory of NumbersSP12
18.900Geometry and Topology in the PlaneFA12
20.001Introduction to Professional Success and Leadership in Biological EngineeringFA3
20.020Introduction to Biological Engineering Design Using Synthetic BiologySP9
20.051NEET Sophomore Seminar: Living MachinesFA+SP6+6
21A.00Introduction to Anthropology: Comparing Human CulturesSP12
21A.01How Culture WorksFA12
21A.157The Meaning of LifeSP12
21G.101   Chinese I  FA, SP12
21G.111  Chinese Calligraphy ​IAP12
21G.301  French I    FA, IAP, SP12
21G.401  German I​FA, IAP, SP12
21G.501   Japanese I  FA, IAP12
21G.611  Russian I  ​FA, IAP12
21G.701  Spanish I   FA, IAP, SP12
21G.705Intensive Spanish for Medicine and Health SP12
21G.800     Accelerated Introductory PortugueseSP12
21G.901  Korean I      ​FA, IAP12
21G.800Accelerated Introductory PortugueseSP12
21G.901Korean IFA, IAP12
21H.001How to Stage a Revolution (CI-H)FA12
21H.102American History since 1865 (CI-H)SP12
21H.132The Ancient World: Rome (CI-H)SP12
21H.160Islam, the Middle East, and the WestFA12
21H.165A Survey of Modern African HistorySP12
21H.172JLatin America through FilmSP12
21H.185JEnvironment and History (CI-H)FA12
21L.000JWriting About Literature (CI-HW)FA12
21L.003Reading Fiction (CI-H)FA, SP12
21L.004Reading Poetry (CI-H)FA, SP12
21L.009Shakespeare (CI-H)FA12
21L.015Children’s Literature (CI-H)FA, SP12
21L.310BestsellersFA (1st half)6
21L.320Big BooksFA, SP (2ndhalf)6
21L.434Science Fiction and FantasyFA12
21M.011Introduction to Western Music (CI-H)FA, SP12
21M.030Introduction to World Music (CI-H)FA, SP12
21M.051Fundamentals of Music FA, SP12
21M.065Introduction to Music CompositionFA, SP12
21M.080Introduction to Music TechnologyFA, SP12
21M.301Harmony and Counterpoint I (some music experience required)FA, SP12
21M.600Introduction to ActingFA, SP9
21M.601Drawing for DesignersFA, SP9
21M.603Introduction to Design for the TheaterFA12
21M.605Voice and Speech for the ActorFA, SP9
21M.606Introduction to StagecraftFA, SP9
21W.747Rhetoric (CI-H)FA, SP12
21W.755Writing and Reading Short StoriesFA, SP12
21W.759Writing Science Fiction (CI-M)SP12
22.01Introduction to Nuclear Engineering and Ionizing RadiationFA12
22.011Nuclear Engineering: Science, Systems and SocietySP3
22.03Introduction to Nuclear Design (associated with “Clean Energy Systems” NEET thread)FA6
22.04JSocial Problems of Nuclear Energy (CI-M)SP12
24.00Problems of Philosophy (CI-H)FA12
24.01Classics of Western Philosophy (CI-H)SP12
24.013Philosophy and the Arts (CI-H)FA12
24.02Moral Problems and the Good Life (CI-H)FA12
24.04JJustice (CI-H)SP12
24.05Philosophy of Religion (CI-H)FA12
24.06JBioethics (CI-H)FA12
24.09Minds and Machines (CI-H)SP12
24.191Being, Thinking, Doing (or Not): Ethics in Your LifeSP6
24.900Introduction to Linguistics (CI-H)FA, SP12
24.917ConLangs: How to Construct a LanguageFA12
CMS.100Introduction to Media Studies (CI-H)FA, SP12
CMS.301Introduction to Game Design MethodsSP12
CMS.309Transmedia Storytelling: Modern Sci-FiSP12
SP.361Majors and Careers through a Terrascope LensIAP3
STS.003Ancient Greeks to Modern Geeks: A History of Science (CI-H)SP12
STS.004Intersections: Science, Technology, and the World (CI-M)FA12
STS.006JBioethics (CI-H)FA12
STS.050The History of MITSP12
STS.075JTechnology and CultureFA, SP9
WGS.101Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (CI-H)FA, SP12
WGS.110JSexual and Gender IdentitiesFA12
WGS.225JThe Science of Race, Sex, and GenderSP12
Table of Exploration Subjects

Additional SHASS Subjects

You can find the Fall 2021 list of introductory classes for students looking to fulfill their HASS GIRs at: http://shass.mit.edu/undergraduate/classes. SHASS faculty feel these subjects are particularly appropriate for students without any previous experience in SHASS fields. Students are more than welcome to take classes not listed here, but this should be a helpful starting point for students who aren’t sure where their interests lie.