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Communication Requirement

In order to graduate, you must complete four Communication Intensive subjects:

  • two CI-H subjects (Communication Intensive in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences)
  • two CI-M subjects (Communication Intensive in the Major).

The Communication Requirement for First-Year Students

All undergraduates at MIT are required to complete one Communication Intensive HASS (CI-H or CI-HW) subject in their first year. This will fulfill their first of four subjects required to satisfy the Communication Requirement.

Step 1: Placement via the First-Year Essay Evaluation (FEE), AP, and IB scores

  • Incoming first-year students take the FEE to determine which type of Communication Intensive (CI) subject they must complete during their first year.
  • Students may submit an AP score of 5 on either English exam in lieu of taking the FEE. Also, those who scored a 7 on the English A or B Higher-Level IB exam may be exempt from the FEE.
  • If you are a non-native English speaker or if not all of your schooling (ages six through high school) was in English, you should take the FEE online in June or July.
  • You will be able to view the FEE results in your Online Advising Folder.

Step 2: Choose an Appropriate Communication Intensive Subject

  • If you take the summer online FEE, results (indicating the placement for which type of subject will fulfill your first CI-H or CI-HW subject) as well as essays and comments on those essays will be available in your Online Advising Folders. If you do not take the FEE and have not submitted an AP or IB score exempting yourself from the test (see exemptions above), you will automatically be placed into “CI‑HW (Writing Subject) Required.

Step 3: Interpreting the FEE results

  • CI-H/CI-HW Required: You may take any HASS subject labeled CI-H or CI-HW in either Fall or Spring of your first year.
  • CI-HW Required: You must take a HASS writing-focused subject, designated CI-HW, as your first CI subject in either Fall or Spring of your first year.  Other CI subjects taken prior to a CI-HW will not count toward the Communication Requirement.
  • 21W.222 (English as a Second Language) Subject Required: You must take 21W.222 as your first CI subject. It provides you with a foundation in communication and conventions of academic writing in American universities for your other MIT subjects. You will not receive CI credit for any other subject until you pass 21W.222. Non-native English speakers who take the FEE over the summer and are required to take 21W.222 based on their FEE results will be prioritized for registration in this subject. 
  • 21W.220 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) Required: You must take 21W.220 in the Fall. 21W.220 does not carry CI credit, but it will count as a HASS-H subject toward the HASS Requirement. You must then take 21W.222 as your first CI subject in the Spring.

Take aways:

  • CI-HW Required students will not receive CI credit for CI subjects taken prior to a CI-HW.
  • If you take two CI-H or CI-HW subjects in the same term, both subjects can count toward the HASS Requirement, but only one will count toward the Communication Requirement.