Students and Advisors
In order to graduate, you must complete four CI subjects: two CI-Hs and two CI-Ms, as specified by your major.
Your first CI subject will be CI-H (Communication Intensive in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences). CI-H subjects provide you with a foundation in effective writing and oral communication. CI-H subjects are writing classes or classes in the HASS curriculum in which you plan, organize, draft, and revise a series of assignments based on course material. CI-HW subjects are a subset of CI-H subjects and concentrate more particularly on writing and revising. You must pass your CI-H subject in order to receive credit. You may receive CI credit for only one CI-H subject per semester.
CI-M subjects (Communication Intensive in the Major) teach the specific forms of written, oral, and/or visual communication appropriate to the field's professional and academic culture. You must complete two CI-Ms within your declared major. You must pass the CI-M subject in order to receive credit. You may receive credit for more than one CI-M per term or for both a CI-H and a CI-M taken in the same term.
In order to remain in compliance with the Communication Requirement you must pass one CI-H by the end of your first year, two CI subjects by the end of your second year, three CI subjects by the end of your third year and four CI subjects by graduation. Exceptions to this pacing including transfer students and students completing a double major, are addressed below.
MIT's writing placement test, the Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE), determines what type of CI-H you must take during your first year. Students who scored a 5 on either of the Advanced Placement English Tests are exempt from the FEE, equivalent to a "CI-H/CI-HW Required " on the FEE. If you earned a score of 5 on either of these AP tests, request that the Educational Testing Service submit your AP scores to MIT. Students who scored a 7 on the English A or B Higher-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) exam will also be exempt from the FEE. If you earned a 7 on either of these IB exams, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to verify your placement.
The FEE is administered online twice during the summer, once in June and once in July. A complete description of the FEE, including how to register, is available online.
If you cannot take the online FEE, you must take a paper-and-pencil Make-up exam during Orientation. If English is not one of your primary languages, and you did not take the online FEE, you should take the English Diagnostic Review (EDR) test during Orientation. The EDR is offered at the same time as the Make-up FEE and includes the same essay topics.
Choosing an appropriate CI-H
Your FEE score determines which type of CI subject you must take during your freshman year. If you received a score of:
- "CI-H/CI-HW Required " You may take any CI-H or CI-HW in either semester of your freshman year. A full list of CI-H subjects is available online.
- "CI-HW (Writing Subject) Required" You must take one of the Expository Writing subjects designated as CI-HW in either the first or second semester of your freshman year. A full list of CI-HW subjects is available online. The Expository Writing Subject must be your first CI subject: You will not receive CI credit for any other subject until you pass a CI-HW subject. A CI-HW subject will count as one of your two CI-H subjects.
- "21F.222 (English as a Second Language) Subject Required" You must take 21F.222 as your first CI subject. You are encouraged to take 21F.222 in the fall term, because it provides a good foundation for communication in your other MIT subjects, but you may delay until the spring. You will not receive CI credit for any other subject until you pass this subject.
- "21F.220 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) Required" You should register for 21F.220 Workshop in Written Expression. While 21F.220 does not carry CI credit, it will count as a HASS-H subject toward the HASS Requirement. You will be required to take 21F.222 Expository Writing for Bilingual Students as your first CI-HW subject. You will not receive credit for any other CI-H subject until you complete 21F.222. You should plan to take 21F.220 in the fall term and 21F.222 in the spring term.
- Students who do not take the FEE and who have not submitted an AP score exempting them from the test will automatically receive the result "CI-HW (Writing Subject) Required."
You may take your first Communication Intensive (CI) subject in either the fall or spring semester of your freshman year. However, most CI subjects have a maximum enrollment of 18-25 students, so you need to plan the year carefully to ensure that you are able to take the class of your choice and to avoid possible academic consequences.
- If you do not take the appropriate CI-H/HW subject in the fall term, you must complete a CI-H/HW in the spring semester. Failure to complete the appropriate Communication Requirement subject in your first year may have academic consequences, including a credit limit for sophomore year.
- You are only able to receive CI credit for one CI-H subject per semester.
- In order to be eligible for early sophomore standing, you must complete an appropriate CI subject during the fall term of your freshman year. Otherwise, even if you have sufficient credit, you will not be eligible for early sophomore standing for the Spring.
You must complete your second Communication Intensive subject by the end of your sophomore year. This may be either a second CI-H subject, or, if your major allows, a CI-M subject. If you do not complete your second CI subject by the end of your sophomore year, you will be in non-compliance with the CR.
You must complete three appropriate CI subjects by the end of your junior year. Normally, you take your first CI-M subject as a junior. These subjects may be required courses or restricted electives that count towards the departmental program. Please consult our list of CI-M subjects by major.
You must complete two CI-H subjects and two CI-M subjects within the specific degree program of your major(s) to receive your S.B. Degree.
The first step towards fulfilling the Communication Requirement is to take the Freshman Essay Evaluation, described above. You will need to complete one CI subject each year for a total of two CI-H and two CI-M subjects by graduation. During your first year at MIT you must either pass a CI subject or receive transfer credit for one.
For transfer credit requests associated with CI subjects, you must first seek approval of the department's transfer credit examiner. Once the transfer credit examiner has approved the subject, you must then petition the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement in order to receive CI credit. Please contact the Office of the Communication Requirement (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your individual circumstances.
Please see Eligibility and Deadlines for Double Majors
Students who wish to complete two majors must pass two CI-H subjects and complete the CI-M subjects that fulfill the communication component of each major. Normally, these students will take four CI-M subjects, that is, two in each major program. In certain cases a CI-M subject may be common to both departments. These CI-M subjects may be used to fulfill the communication component of the two majors simultaneously. Please contact the Office of the Communication Requirement (email@example.com) to discuss your individual circumstances.
You may petition the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) to substitute a CI-M outside your major to count as a CI-M for your major or to use one of your major's CI-Ms to count as a CI-M for both of your majors. The outside CI-M must be part of a coherent program approved by your academic advisor. Students may also petition to defer completion of a CI subject. Such petitions are rarely approved except in cases where students change majors. Please contact the Office of the Communication Requirement (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your individual circumstances and whether or not a petition is appropriate in your case.
Petitions regarding the Communication Requirement are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by SOCR approximately every two weeks, as schedules permit. Students wishing to petition may pick up paper forms in 5-133 or obtain a PDF copy here: petition form. Decision letters are sent within one business day of the Subcommittee's decision. Petition decisions are final.
SOCR will not consider an appeal unless the student can provide substantial and compelling new information that was unavailable to the Subcommittee when it made its initial decision. Students wishing to appeal a SOCR decision must submit a petition that details the new information.
Students who fall behind the minimum rate of completion for the Communication Requirement are in noncompliance. At the end of each term, the names of noncompliant students are forwarded to the Committee on Academic Performance (CAP), which may take further action to bring such students into good academic standing. Should the CAP vote a Communication Requirement Warning, it will carry a credit limit for the following term. The CAP has additional information on how to respond to Communication Requirement Warning.