First-Year Academics: HASS and Communication Requirements
This page details the HASS and Communication Requirements as they pertain to first-year students.
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.
- The Distribution (revised for Class of 2014 and beyond): Students are required to complete three (3) HASS distribution subjects, one from each of the
- Humanities (HASS-H)
- Arts (HASS-A)
- Social Sciences (HASS-S)
- Humanities (HASS-H)
- The Concentration – By the end of sophomore year, each student must choose a HASS concentration of 3-4 subjects in a particular field.
- Electives – 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
How the Communication Requirement and the HASS Requirement Overlap
- Each freshman is required to complete a minimum of one appropriate Communication-Intensive
HASS subject (CI-H or CI-HW) in his/her first year.
- The appropriate CI-H subject will depend on the results of the student's online Essay Evaluation
placement exam taken this summer. Results with recommendation for appropriate CI-H/CI-HW
are posted to the student's Online Advising Folder.
- All CI-H and CI-HW subjects will also serve to fulfill the HASS Requirement.
HASS Subjects and the HASS-D Lottery
Juniors and seniors must fulfill an earlier version of the HASS requirement. As the Institute phases out
older requirement, many subjects will still be labeled as "HASS-D", which are the subjects that
upperclassmen must fulfill. So, please be aware of the following:
- "HASS-D" subjects have a lottery to manage enrollment.
- Entering freshmen are not required to take HASS-D subjects. However, an entering freshman
who wishes to take a subject labeled HASS-D will have to enter the HASS-D lottery. If your
student enters the lottery, the subject received in the lottery will appear on his/her online
- Subjects that require students to enter the HASS-D lottery are clearly labeled in the online subject
listings with the instruction, "You must enter the HASS-D lottery to take this subject."
Adding a Subject Labeled "HASS-D"
Once the HASS-D lottery has run:
- A student CANNOT add a HASS-D onto his/her online registration.
- Any student wishing to add a class labeled HASS-D must still go to the first class with a paper
Add/Drop/Change form to get the instructor's signature.
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 or CI-HW (expository writing
Step 1: The Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE)
- The Freshman Essay Evaluation (FEE) is a diagnostic assessment of the student's competency in
expository writing. Most freshmen take this exam online over the summer.
- You and your advisee will be able to view the FEE results after August 15 in the student's online
Freshman Advising Folder.
- A freshman will receive an automatic placement of "CI-HW Subject Required" if s/he does not either take
the FEE or does not submit an AP score over the summer that exempts her/him from the FEE.
- Early Sophomore Standing: A freshman otherwise eligible for Early Sophomore Standing who does not
take and pass an appropriate Communication Intensive subject in the first term will not be allowed to
declare early sophomore status. So, if you have an advisee who has a lot of AP credit and/or transfer
credit (e.g., 45 or more additional units), please encourage the student to take the appropriate CI-H or
CI-HW class in first term.
Step 2: Helping Your Advisees Choose an Appropriate Communication Intensive Subject
- If the student takes the summer online Freshman Essay Evaluation, his/her FEE results will display on
the Online Freshman Advising folder, with a recommendation for which subject(s) will fulfill the student's
first Communication Intensive HASS subject.
Step 3: Interpreting the FEE results
- Your student may take any HASS subject labeled CI-H or CI-.HW in either Fall or Spring of freshman
- Your student MUST take a HASS writing-intensive subject, designated CI-HW.
- The student may take the CI-HW class in in either in either Fall or Spring of freshman year.
- However, the student will NOT receive CI credit for any other HASS subject until s/he passes a CI-HW
(Communication Intensive Writing) class.
- The student will receive appropriate HASS credit (e.g, HASS-A, H, or S) but not credit for the
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":
- Your student must take 21F.222 as his/her first CI subject.
- Taking 21F.222 in first semester sets the student up for success in his/her other subjects. The
student will also not receive CI credit for any other subject 21F.222 is passed.
"21F.220 Workshop in Written Expression (ELS) Required"
- Your student should plan to take 21F.220 in the Fall and 21F.222 in the Spring.
- 21F.220 does not carry CI credit, but it will count as a HASS-H subject toward the HASS Requirement. Your
student must take 21F.222 as their first CI-HW subject.