What you need to know

No single subject can give you all you need to be an effective communicator. The Communication Requirement (CR) develops your communication skills through sustained instruction and practice sequenced throughout the undergraduate program.

To remain in compliance with the CR, you must pass one CI‑H subject by the end of your first year, two CI subjects by the end of your second year, three CI subjects by the end of your third year, and four CI subjects by graduation.

First year

  • Take the First-year Essay Evaluation (FEE), administered online in June and July, to determine what type of CI‑H you must take during your first year.
  • Register for the test and learn more about FEE results and exemptions.
  • You may submit a score of 5 on either of the AP English exams, or a score of 7 on the English A or B Higher-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) exam, instead of taking the FEE.
  • If you are a non-native English speaker or if not all of your schooling (ages six through high school) was in English, you should take the FEE online in June or July. This will determine whether you should take 21W.222 Expository Writing for Bilingual Students as your first CI subject.
  • Enroll in your first CI‑H/HW subject in the fall or spring semester. Most CI subjects have a maximum enrollment of 18 to 25 students, so plan carefully to best position yourself to take the subject of your choice.
  • If, based on your FEE results, you are CI-HW Required, you will not receive CI credit for any CI subject taken prior to a CI-HW.
  • If you do not take the appropriate CI-H/HW subject in the fall, you must complete one in the spring. Failure to comply may have academic consequences, including a credit limit for your sophomore year.
  • You cannot receive CI credit for more than one CI‑H subject per semester.

Sophomore year

  • You must complete your second CI subject by the end of your sophomore year.
  • This subject may be a second CI‑H or, if your major allows, a CI‑M subject.
  • If you do not complete your second CI subject by the end of your sophomore year, you will fall out of compliance with the CR.

Junior year

  • By the end of your junior year, you should have completed three of the four required CI subjects. Most students will take their first CI‑M subject as juniors and begin to develop the communication skills specific to the professional and academic culture of their discipline.
  • Consult our list of CI-M subjects by major.

Senior year

  • You must complete two CI‑H subjects and two CI‑M subjects within the specific degree program of your major(s) to receive your SB degree.

Transfer students

  • Take the First-year Essay Evaluation (FEE).
  • During your first year at MIT, you must pass a CI subject or receive transfer credit for one.
  • To receive transfer credit for a CI subject, contact the department's transfer credit examiner.
  • Once they have approved the subject, petition the Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement in order to request CI credit.
  • Complete at least one CI subject each year for a total of two CI‑H and two CI‑M subjects by graduation.

CR petitions

The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement (SOCR) is responsible for oversight of the Requirement. You may petition SOCR to allow a CI‑M outside your major to count as a CI‑M for your major, or to use one of your major's CI‑Ms to count as a CI‑M for both of your majors. The outside CI‑M must be part of a coherent program approved by your academic advisor. Although rarely approved except in cases of a change of major, you may also petition to defer completion of a CI subject.

What you need to do

  • Contact us at commreq@mit.edu to discuss your individual circumstances.
  • Download and complete a CR Petition.
  • Share a copy with your academic advisor.
  • Submit your completed petition with signatures, written statements, and any supporting material to commreq@mit.edu.
  • Petitions are accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by SOCR approximately every other week during the fall and spring terms.
  • You will be notified within one business day of SOCR’s decision.
  • SOCR will not consider an appeal to any decision unless you can provide substantial and compelling new information that was unavailable to the Subcommittee when it made its initial determination.
    • To appeal a SOCR decision, submit another petition that details the new information.