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 ID

Subject Name

Term Offered

Units

1.007

Big Engineering: Small Solutions with a Large Impact

FA

6

1.020

Engineering Sustainability: Analysis and Design

SP

12

1.097

Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Research

IAP

6

1.101

Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Design I

FA

6

1.102

Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering Design II

SP

6

2.00

Introduction to Design

FA (2nd half)

6

2.00A

Fundamentals of Engineering Design: Explore Space, Sea and Earth

SP

9

2.00B

Toy Product Design

SP

9

2.00C[J]

Design for Complex Environmental Issues: Building Solutions and Communicating Ideas

SP

9

2.674

Introduction to Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory

SP

6

2.722

D-Lab: Design

SP

12

2.982

Ecology and Sustainability of Coastal Ecosystems

FA

9

3.003

Principles of Engineering Practice

SP

9

3.006

NEET Seminar: Advanced Materials Machines (first years need to contact NEET Advisor, Prof. Elsa Olivetti, elsao@mit.edu, if interested)

FA, SP

3

3.007

Introduction to Materials and Mechanical Design (first years need to contact NEET Advisor, Prof. Elsa Olivetti, elsao@mit.edu, if interested)

FA

6

3.091

Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry

FA, SP

12

3.094

Materials in Human Experience

SP

9

4.021

Design Studio: How to Design

FA, SP

12

4.02A

Design Studio: How to Design Intensive

IAP

9

4.110

Design Across Scales and Disciplines

SP

12

4.301

Introduction to Artistic Experimentation

FA, SP

12

4.520

Visual Computing I

SP

12

4.605

A Global History of Architecture

SP

12

4.657

Design: The History of Making Things (CI-H)

SP

12

5.12

Organic Chemistry I

FA, SP

12

5.301

Chemistry Laboratory Techniques

IAP, SP

6

5.302

Introduction to Experimental Chemistry

IAP

3

5.60

Thermodynamics and Kinetics

FA, SP

12

6.0001

Introduction to Computer Science Programming in Python

FA, SP (1sthalf)

6

6.01

Introduction to EECS via Robotics

SP

12

6.02

Introduction to EECS via Communication Networks

FA

12

6.03

Introduction to EECS via Medical Technology

SP

12

6.057

Introduction to MATLAB

IAP

3

6.08

Introduction to EECS via Interconnected Embedded Systems

SP

12

6.117

Introduction to Electrical Engineering Lab Skills

IAP

6

6.145

Brief Introduction to Python

IAP

3

6.146

Mobile Autonomous Systems Laboratory: MASLAB

IAP

6

6.147

The BattleCode Programming Competition

IAP

6

6.148

Web Lab: A Web Programming Class and Competition

IAP

6

6.151

iOS Game Design and Development Competition

IAP

6

7.002

Fundamentals of Experimental Molecular Biology

FA, SP

6

7.01x 

Introductory Biology

FA, SP

12

7.102

Laboratory in Molecular Biology

IAP

6

8.20

Introduction to Special Relativity

IAP

9

8.21

Physics of Energy

SP

12

8.223

Classical Mechanics II

IAP

6

8.s10

Techniques of Experimental Physics

SP

9

8.s50

Color Perception Technology

IAP

6

9.00

Introduction to Psychological Science

SP

12

9.01

Introduction to Neuroscience

FA

12

10.00

Molecule Builders

SP

6

10.10

Intro to Chemical Engineering

FA, SP

12

11.001J

Introduction to Urban Design and Development

FA

12

11.002J

Making Public Policy (CI-H)

FA

12

11.004

People and the Planet: Environmental Histories and Engineering

SP

12

11.005

Introduction to International Development

SP

12

11.011

The Art and Science of Negotiation

FA, SP

12

11.013J

American Urban History (CI-H)

FA

9

11.014J

History of the Built Environment in the US (CI-H)

FA

9

11.016J

The Once and Future City (CI-H)

SP

12

11.123

Big Plans and Mega-Urban Landscapes

SP

9

12.000

Solving Complex Problems

FA

9

12.001

Introduction to Geology

FA

12

12.002

Introduction to Geophysics and Planetary Science

SP

12

12.003

Introduction to Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics

FA

12

12.031J

Fundamentals of Ecology

FA

12

12.11

Nature's Sandbox: A Record of Great Moments in Earth History

IAP

2

12.409

Hands-On Astronomy: Observing Stars and Planets

SP

6

14.01

Principles of Microeconomics

FA, SP

12

14.02

Principles of Macroeconomics

FA, SP

12

14.30

Introduction to Statistical Methods in Economics

FA

12

14.73

The Challenge of World Poverty (CI-H)

FA

12

15.0111

Economic Analysis for Business Decisions

FA

9

15.053

Optimization Methods in Business Analytics

SP

12

15.276

Communicating with Data (CI-M)

SP

12

15.279

Management Communication for Undergraduates (CI-M)

FA, SP

12

15.312

Organizational Processes for Business Analytics (CI-M)

FA

12

15.359J

Innovation Engineering: Moving Ideas to Impact

FA

12

15.373J

Venture Engineering

SP

12

15.501

Corporate Financial Accounting

FA, SP

12

15.8141

Marketing Innovation

SP

9

15.s41

Software Tools for Business Analytics

IAP

3

16.00

Introduction to Aerospace and Design

SP

6

16.632

NEET Sophomore Seminar: Autonomous Machines

FA

3

17.03

Introduction to Political Thought

SP

12

17.01J

Justice (CI-H)

SP

12

17.20

Introduction to the American Political Process (CI-H)

FA

12

17.30J

Making Public Policy (CI-H)

FA

12

17.40

American Foreign Policy: Past, Present, and Future (CI-H)

FA

12

17.41

Introduction to International Relations (CI-H)

SP

12

17.50

Introduction to Comparative Politics (CI-H)

SP

12

18.062J

Mathematics for Computer Science

FA, SP

12

18.03

Differential Equations

FA, SP

12

18.05

Introduction to Probability and Statistics

SP

12

18.06

Linear Algebra

FA, SP

12

18.095

Mathematics Lecture Series

IAP

6

18.100x

Real Analysis - any "flavor" (some flavors CI-M)

FA, SP

12

18.200/18.200A

Principles of Discrete Applied Math (SP is CI-M)

FA, SP

12, 15

18.510

Introduction to Mathematical Logic and Set Theory

FA

12

18.600

Probability and Random Variables

FA, SP

12

18.700

Linear Algebra

FA

12

18.703

Modern Algebra

SP

12

18.781

Theory of Numbers

SP

12

18.900

Geometry and Topology in the Plane

FA

12

20.001

Introduction to Professional Success and Leadership in Biological Engineering

FA

3

20.020

Introduction to Biological Engineering Design Using Synthetic Biology

SP

9

20.051

NEET Sophomore Seminar: Living Machines

FA+SP

6+6

21A.00

Introduction to Anthropology: Comparing Human Cultures

SP

12

21A.01

How Culture Works

FA

12

21A.157

The Meaning of Life

SP

12

21G.101   

Chinese I  

FA, SP

12

21G.111  

Chinese Calligraphy ​

IAP

12

21G.301  

French I    

FA, IAP, SP

12

21G.401  

German I​

FA, IAP, SP

12

21G.501   

Japanese I  

FA, IAP

12

21G.611  

Russian I  ​

FA, IAP

12

21G.701  

Spanish I   

FA, IAP, SP

12

21G.705

Intensive Spanish for Medicine and Health 

SP

12

21G.800     

Accelerated Introductory Portuguese

SP

12

21G.901  

Korean I      ​

FA, IAP

12

21G.800

Accelerated Introductory Portuguese

SP

12

21G.901

Korean I

FA, IAP

12

21H.001

How to Stage a Revolution (CI-H)

FA

12

21H.102

American History since 1865 (CI-H)

SP

12

21H.132

The Ancient World: Rome (CI-H)

SP

12

21H.160

Islam, the Middle East, and the West

FA

12

21H.165

A Survey of Modern African History

SP

12

21H.172J

Latin America through Film

SP

12

21H.185J

Environment and History (CI-H)

FA

12

21L.000J

Writing About Literature (CI-HW)

FA

12

21L.003

Reading Fiction (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

21L.004

Reading Poetry (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

21L.009

Shakespeare (CI-H)

FA

12

21L.015

Children’s Literature (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

21L.310

Bestsellers

FA (1st half)

6

21L.320

Big Books

FA, SP (2ndhalf)

6

21L.434

Science Fiction and Fantasy

FA

12

21M.011

Introduction to Western Music (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

21M.030

Introduction to World Music (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

21M.051

Fundamentals of Music 

FA, SP

12

21M.065

Introduction to Music Composition

FA, SP

12

21M.080

Introduction to Music Technology

FA, SP

12

21M.301

Harmony and Counterpoint I (some music experience required)

FA, SP

12

21M.600

Introduction to Acting

FA, SP

9

21M.601

Drawing for Designers

FA, SP

9

21M.603

Introduction to Design for the Theater

FA

12

21M.605

Voice and Speech for the Actor

FA, SP

9

21M.606

Introduction to Stagecraft

FA, SP

9

21W.747

Rhetoric (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

21W.755

Writing and Reading Short Stories

FA, SP

12

21W.759

Writing Science Fiction (CI-M)

SP

12

22.01

Introduction to Nuclear Engineering and Ionizing Radiation

FA

12

22.011

Nuclear Engineering: Science, Systems and Society

SP

3

22.03

Introduction to Nuclear Design (associated with “Clean Energy Systems” NEET thread)

FA

6

22.04J

Social Problems of Nuclear Energy (CI-M)

SP

12

24.00

Problems of Philosophy (CI-H)

FA

12

24.01

Classics of Western Philosophy (CI-H)

SP

12

24.013

Philosophy and the Arts (CI-H)

FA

12

24.02

Moral Problems and the Good Life (CI-H)

FA

12

24.04J

Justice (CI-H)

SP

12

24.05

Philosophy of Religion (CI-H)

FA

12

24.06J

Bioethics (CI-H)

FA

12

24.09

Minds and Machines (CI-H)

SP

12

24.191

Being, Thinking, Doing (or Not): Ethics in Your Life

SP

6

24.900

Introduction to Linguistics (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

24.917

ConLangs: How to Construct a Language

FA

12

CMS.100

Introduction to Media Studies (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

CMS.301

Introduction to Game Design Methods

SP

12

CMS.309

Transmedia Storytelling: Modern Sci-Fi

SP

12

SP.361

Majors and Careers through a Terrascope Lens

IAP

3

STS.003

Ancient Greeks to Modern Geeks: A History of Science (CI-H)

SP

12

STS.004

Intersections: Science, Technology, and the World (CI-M)

FA

12

STS.006J

Bioethics (CI-H)

FA

12

STS.050

The History of MIT

SP

12

STS.075J

Technology and Culture

FA, SP

9

WGS.101

Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies (CI-H)

FA, SP

12

WGS.110J

Sexual and Gender Identities

FA

12

WGS.225J

The Science of Race, Sex, and Gender

SP

12

Additional SHASS Subjects

YYou can find the Fall 2019 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.