MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
For Advisors
The First Year at MIT

First-Year Academics: HASS and Communication Requirements

This page details the HASS and Communication Requirements as they pertain to first-year students.

HASS Requirement

HASS subjects provide a welcome balance to problem-set-oriented Science Core subjects. All MIT undergraduates must complete 8 HASS subjects to fulfill the HASS General Institute Requirement. Students are expected to complete at least one HASS subject each semester.

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

  1. Distribution Component: Students 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: By the end of sophomore year, each student must choose a HASS concentration of 3-4 subjects in a particular field.
  3. HASS Elective – The remainder of the HASS Requirement can be fulfilled with 1-2 additional subjects from any HASS category (HASS-S, HASS-A, HASS-H), including subjects designated as HASS Elective (HASS-E).

How the Communication Requirement and the HASS Requirement Overlap

Communications Requirement

All freshmen are required to complete one Communication-Intensive HASS subject in their first year. This will fulfill their first of four subjects required to satisfy the Communication Requirement.

The FEE score determines which type of CI (Communication Intensive) subject your advisee must take during his/her freshman year. Communication Intensive subjects are designated CI-H (Communication Intensive-HASS) or CI-HW (expository writing subject).

Step 1: The Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE)

Advising notes:

Step 2: Helping Your Advisees Choose an Appropriate Communication Intensive Subject

Step 3: Interpreting the FEE results

"CI-H/CI-HW Required":

"CI-HW Required":

Advising note:

For a freshman required to take a writing subject, it's often in the student's better interests to take one in the first semester. However, the student is NOT required to do so.

"21F.222 ESL (English as a Second Language) Subject Required":

Advising note:

"21F.220 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) Required"