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Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement

The MIT HASS disciplines — the humanities, arts, and social sciences — are central to the Institute’s mission to provide all graduates with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to make lasting contributions to the nation and the world.

Students may use their HASS subjects to broaden their perspectives, complement science and engineering coursework, experience new fields, or to pursue lifelong interests. Regardless of your personal approach, take the time to find a subject that sparks your curiosity. The SHASS website has lists of introductory and exploration subjects, subjects related to diversity and inclusion and other current US issues, and a tour of the many departments within SHASS.

All MIT undergraduates must complete 8 HASS subjects to fulfill the HASS General Institute Requirement. You are expected to complete at least one HASS subject each semester.

The HASS Requirement has three components: distribution, concentration, and electives.

  1. Distribution Component (3 subjects): You are required to complete three (3) HASS distribution subjects, one from each of the following categories:
    • Humanities (HASS-H)
    • Arts (HASS-A)
    • Social Sciences (HASS-S)
  2. Concentration Component (3 or 4 subjects): Each student must complete a HASS concentration of 3-4 subjects (some fields require 3, some 4) that together provide an increased knowledge in a particular field.
  3. Electives (1 or 2 subjects): The remainder of the HASS Requirement can be fulfilled with 1-2 additional subjects from any HASS category (HASS-H, HASS-A, HASS-S), including subjects designated as HASS Elective (HASS-E).

Note: Students interested in language classes, should visit the MIT Global Languages site for details on whom they should contact to have their language level assessed, see:

Take aways:

  • The HASS Requirement overlaps with the Communication Requirement. All students must take two HASS subjects that are designated as CI-H or CI-HW. The first CI subject must be completed in the first year.
  • HASS Exploration (HEX) subjects are recommended to students as one pathway into the HASS Requirement. These subjects are team-taught by faculty and provide opportunities for faculty/student interaction. More information can be found at:
  • Students may search for HASS subjects by HASS Category (HASS-H, HASS-A, HASS-S) via the Advanced Search feature available in the online subject listing in WebSIS:
  • HASS subjects provide a welcome balance to problem-set-oriented Science Core subjects.

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