Subcommittee on the HASS Requirementreturn to MIT home page
- Propose a new subject for the HASS Requirement
- Propose a HASS Exploration (HEX) Subject
- Propose a new or revised Concentration
- Student Petitions for a substitution within the HASS Requirement
HASS Distribution Categories
The HASS Distribution consists of three categories: humanities, arts, and social sciences.
- Humanities: Humanities subjects describe and interpret human achievements, problems, and historical changes at individual as well as societal levels. Although humanist inquiry employs a variety of methods, such disciplines as history, literature, and philosophy typically produce their accounts of cultural accomplishments through close analysis of texts and ideas: contemporary and historical, personal and communal, imaginative and reflective.
- Arts: Arts subjects emphasize the skilled craft, practices, and standards of excellence involved in creating representations through images, words, sounds, and movement (e.g., sculptures, stories, plays, music, dance, films, or video games). Although arts subjects also engage in critical interpretation and historical analysis, they focus more centrally on expressive and aesthetic techniques and tools, such as the uses of rhythm, texture, and line.
- Social Sciences: Social Science subjects engage in theory-driven as well as empirical exploration and analysis of human transactions. They address the mental and behavioral activities of individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, and nations. Social science disciplines such as anthropology, economics, linguistics, political science, and psychology seek generalizable interpretations and explanations of human interaction.
- Departments or HASS teaching units (both within and outside of SHASS) who wish to propose a new subject to count towards the HASS Requirement are asked to email a Subject Proposal Form for the HASS Requirement and syllabus to the Subcommittee for its review. Catalog Coordinators in each Department/unit can enter the subject as a new subject into the Curricular Information System (CIS). A refresher on the process and subject numbering can be found on the Registrar's website.
- Catalog Coordinators and Undergraduate Administrators will be contacted with deadlines for HASS proposals at the beginning of the fall semester. Please note, proposals will be accepted in the fall semester for the next Academic Year. The SHR deadlines may be earlier than other subject deadlines. Please contact the staff to the Subcommittee, if you have questions.
- When entering the subject in CIS please enter the proposed HASS GIR attribute for the HASS Distribution (Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, or Elective). Once a HASS GIR attribute is entered in CIS, the proposal will be sent to the Subcommittee to review and approve or comment.
- The Subcommittee will work with the Catalog Coordinator to resolve any questions or concerns about the HASS designation or approve the HASS GIR designation in the CIS.
- The CoC has the final review and approval of all subjects.
HEX subjects are team-taught classes that explore a major concept or topic from multiple viewpoints found across or within disciplines in the humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS). By showcasing the generative value of dialogue and debate among diverse disciplines, specialties, theoretical frameworks, or methodologies, HEX subjects allow students to approach a given problem, phenomenon, or topic from multiple vantage points. Emphasizing close interaction with faculty, the courses encourage the development of foundational skills such as critical reading and analysis of primary materials. More broadly, they provide a pathway into modes of thinking that are central to the HASS curriculum and offer students an oppportunity to explore concepts, topics, and histories that are crucial to understanding and inhabiting the complex world in which we live.
HEX subjects are open to undergraduates of all years. Class sizes vary but student enrollment should not exceed 25 students per instructor (faculty or senior lecturer).
Advantages to being part of the HEX Program include the opportunity to explore topics through multiple lenses, team-teaching, becoming familiar with the pedagogical strategies of colleagues and sharing or developing new research and curricular ideas. Instructors in the SHR-recommended Program have occasion to build relationships with fellow instructors in other departments and teach previously unreached students about their area of expertise. Events such as the annual HEX Instructors Luncheon over IAP provide opportunities to share experiences, perspectives, challenges and pedagogical innovations.
MIT instructors interested in teaching a HEX subject should follow instructions for proposing a new or revised subject and also complete the HEX portion of the Subject Proposal Form for the HASS Requirement. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Funding for HEX subjects is avaliable through d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education. Current proposals are due October 1, 2014.
Historically, HASS teaching units in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, and elsewhere in the Institute, have developed and maintained Concentration programs. In addition, interdisciplinary HASS Concentrations have been constituted over time, as new questions and combinations of disciplines have emerged in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The goals of SHR in overseeing the Concentration Component of the HASS Requirement are to review periodically the roster of Concentrations to avoid overlap and confusion in the offerings, to ensure the sustainability of existing Concentrations, and to facilitate the establishment of new Concentrations when intellectual developments merit them. In the course of these periodic reviews, SHR will work with the administrative unit responsible for administering each Concentration to ensure that subject offerings are sufficient to sustain the Concentration, and that appropriate instructors, preferably regular faculty, are available to serve as advisors to the Concentration.
The Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement will review proposals for revisions to or new Concentrations while they are in session, during the academic year.
Guidelines for New Concentrations, or Revisions to Existing Concentrations
The Department/Unit Head, Associate Head, Undergraduate Officer, or other faculty responsible for undergraduate education should complete a HASS Teaching Unit Concentration Proposal Form that addresses the following concerns:
- Intellectual justification for the new Concentration or revision.
- Statement distinguishing the proposed Concentration or revision from existing Concentration.
- Proposed name and list of subjects that students can count towards the Concentration.
- The name of one regular faculty member from a HASS teaching unit who will take responsibility for advising in the Concentration.
- Letter from the head of the implicated unit or units stating a commitment to offer the requisite subjects on a regular basis.
- A description of the Concentration to inform students what they will study (examples can be found on specific Concentration sites on the Concentrations page of this site).
Questions about the above processes can be directed to the staff to the Subcommittee.
Student Petitions: a substitution within the HASS Requirement and Distribution credit for subjects taken outside of MIT
The Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement is responsible for review of student petitions for substitutions within the HASS Requirement. Information on petition guidelines, the process, and petition forms are available on the petitions page of this site. Students should contact the Office of the HASS Requirement (35-433) for more information about a particular subject, the petition process, and to discuss the status of a petition.Back to top