Administrative Procedures

HASS Distribution Categories

The HASS Distribution consists of three categories: humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Propose a new subject for the HASS Requirement

Propose a HASS Exploration (HEX) subject

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 opportunity 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. THe deadline for AY2015-16 HEX proposals is December 5, 2014. Please contact hassreq@mit.edu with any questions.

Funding for HEX subjects is available through d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education. Current proposals are due October 1, 2014.

Propose a new or revised Concentration

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:

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.

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