MIT Writing Requirement


Occasionally, a student may wish to petition the Committee on the Writing Requirement to request a waiver of the procedures governing Phase One or Phase Two. Although the Committee evaluates each petition on its own merits, it approves petitions only in exceptional circumstances in which a student has acted in good faith to fulfill the Requirement but is unable to meet a deadline or other guidelines because of factors beyond his or her control.

Petition the Committee on the Writing Requirement about a matter as early as possible. The Committee treats petitions submitted early more favorably than petitions submitted long after the specific problem became apparent. For example, if you plan to take three terms of a foreign language, and, consequently, will not be taking a subject that will require a paper suitable for Phase One until your fourth term at MIT, you should petition the Committee during your first year to extend the deadline.

  1. Call the Writing Requirement Office to make an appointment with the Director to discuss your case.
  2. Obtain a standard Institute petition form from the Writing Requirement Office, Undergraduate Academic Affairs, or the Registrar's Office.

To avoid delays in having your petition reviewed:

  • fill out completely the biographical information at the top of the petition form
  • state exactly what you are asking the Committee to do
  • state the specific reasons why you have been unable to meet the Requirement policies or why you will be unable to meet them
  • provide as much supporting evidence and information as you can
  • ask your advisor to sign and comment on your petition*
  • if the petition concerns Phase Two, also have your petition signed and endorsed by your Departmental Writing Coordinator*
  • include written statements of support from your advisor and any other appropriate faculty or staff.

*Petitions by seniors enrolling in an Approved Phase Two Writing Subject, however, do not require signatures by the advisor and Departmental Writing Coordinator.

Turn in the petition, along with any supporting evidence, to the Writing Requirement Office by the appropriate Petition Deadlines. The Director of the Writing Requirement will inform you by letter, within five weeks, of the Committee's decision.

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