Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Office

This was another extremely busy year in the HASS Office. In addition to all on-going projects and tasks, considerable time and energy was devoted to preparation for the implementation of the Communication Requirement in fall 2001. The HASS Office provides all administrative and clerical support to the HASS Overview Committee (HOC), which spent the year reviewing proposals for HASS Communication Intensive (HASS CI, consisting of CI-H and CI-HW classes) subjects, as well as handling other matters related to HASS CIs—criteria, tutors, etc. In the spring, HOC recommended the final list of HASS CIs to the Committee on Curricula (COC), which approved it in toto. The HASS Office Coordinator, Dr. Bette Davis, serves as ex officio member of the HOC. The administrative assistant maintains the web list of HASS CI subjects and the HASS CI database. The latter contains information on all HASS CIs that have been offered during the past three-year "pilot phase," as well as those approved as official HASS CIs effective fall 2001. The CI database makes a total of five databases that this small office maintains; others are the HASS Minor, Course 21 majors, Harvard Cross-Registration, and "mailing list" databases.

The Coordinator, Bette Davis, served as a member of the "Advising at MIT Discovery Project" Stakeholders group. Very briefly stated, the purpose of that project was to determine how information technologies could be used to improve advising at MIT.

HASS Enrollment Statistics by Field and Subject — Recent Trends

Total enrollments in all HASS subjects were down by about 300-9828, compared to 10,132 in AY2000. Correspondingly, there were fewer HASS subjects offered—466, compared to 478 in 1999-2000. The number of autonomous sections was down slightly—598, compared to 609 in AY2000. The number of HASS-D subjects taught was almost exactly the same, 117, compared to 118 last year. The two fields with the largest overall enrollments were the same as last year, in the same order: 1803 in Economics (up from 1745 last year) and 1515 in Foreign Languages and Literatures (about the same as last year, 1509). Literature (958) and Writing (908) reversed order for third and fourth highest enrollments. Next were Music (684 not including six-unit music performance), and History (617). Most fields either saw a drop in enrollment or remained stable. However, Archaeology again had the largest increase over last year in terms of percentage (from 147 to 166, or 13 percent), followed closely by Political Science (from 467 to 521, or 12 percent). The next highest increases in enrollment, in terms of percentage, were in Literature, with a 4 percent increase, and Economics, with a 3 percent increase.

HASS Concentrations: Patterns of Popularity

In 2000–2001, students submitted 2184 HASS Concentration proposals and 1183 completion forms, compared to 2229 proposals and 1267 completion forms last year. Once again, Economics and Foreign Languages led in the number of completed HASS Concentrations: in 2000–2001, 341 (compared to 367 last year) students completed concentrations in Economics, and 213 completed concentrations in Foreign Languages and Literatures, compared to 236 last year. (For a breakdown by languages, see Table II.) The next two most popular HASS Concentration fields are Music, with 94 completed concentrations, and Literature, with 77, followed by Philosophy (55), Writing (54), and Psychology (50).

HASS Minor Programs

2000–2001 showed an increase in the total number of HASS Minor applications from all graduating classes; however, the number of HASS Minors received by the Class of 2001 was down— 173, compared to 225 last year. There were 439 applications, compared to 414 last year and 475 in 1998–1999. The two most popular fields in terms of applications filed were the same as last year: Economics (168) and Music (47). There were 44 minors in Foreign Languages (7 in French, 16 in German, and 21 in Spanish). Other popular HASS Minors were Writing (29), Political Science (23), and Literature (22). The 173 HASS minors received by members of the Class of 2001 were in 22 fields.

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Harvard Cross Registration

The number of MIT undergraduates cross-registered for courses at Harvard increased in 2000-2001. 246 students took 290 subjects at Harvard, compared to 204 students enrolled in 220 subjects in 1999-2000. Last year there was a decrease in these enrollments; the previous year there had been a sizable increase; they seem to fluctuate for no obvious reason. As usual, foreign languages were by far the most popular field of study. 139 of the 290 subjects were in 21 different foreign languages. The most popular language was Arabic (28). There was a three-way tie for second—among Korean, Russian, and Urdu-Hindi (11 each). These were followed by Italian and Greek (10 each), and Hebrew (8). Enrollments in other languages ranged from one to seven. The most popular fields outside foreign languages were Economics (28), History (16) and Government (15), followed by Art/Visual Studies (11) and English (9).

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S.B. Degrees Granted in SHASS

89 students received the S.B. in SHASS this year, down from 94 last year. Of these, 41 degrees were in Economics (Course 14) and 9 were in Political Science (Course 17). During the same time period, September 2000 through June 2001, a total of 32 students completed the S.B. Degree in Humanities (Course 21). Eight of these received joint degrees, 5 in 21-E and 3 in 21-S. Another 20 received degrees in a specified field within Course 21. Six students received the S.B. in Philosophy and one received the S.B. in Linguistics and Philosophy (Course 24).

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Undergraduate Majors in SHASS

The four departments in SHASS had 135 undergraduate majors this year; this figure includes only first degrees. Eighty-four of these are majoring in Economics, and the Political Science Department had 16 majors. Twenty-five students had a Humanities major as their first degree in 2000–2001; of these, 8 were joint majors (7 in 21-E and 1 in 21-S.) Of the specified majors within Humanities, History and Literature had the most majors, 6 in History and 4 in Literature. Ten undergraduates had a first degree in Philosophy or in Linguistics and Philosophy.

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Honors and Awards Granted to Undergraduate Majors in SHASS

Among the more notable honors achieved by SHASS majors this year were:

Bette Davis

More information about the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences can be found online at


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