What you need to know

As part of MIT’s General Institute Requirements, all undergraduates must complete the HASS Requirement. It consists of eight subjects of at least nine units each in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Learning in the humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS) is an indispensable part of your undergraduate education. The HASS Requirement provides you with opportunities to deepen your knowledge in a variety of cultural and disciplinary areas, practice critical thinking, and develop vital skills while trying something new.

There are three components to the HASS Requirement: Distribution, Concentration, and HASS Electives. To stay on pace, we recommend that you take one HASS subject each semester during your four years at MIT. Two of the subjects you complete to fulfill the HASS Requirement may also count toward the Communication Requirement if they are also designated as CI‑H subjects.

Distribution component (three subjects)

  • You must complete three HASS Distribution subjects, one from each of the following categories: arts (HASS‑A), humanities (HASS‑H), and social sciences (HASS‑S). You are strongly encouraged to complete this component by the end of your junior year.
  • If you take more than one subject in the same category, one can fulfill part of the Distribution component. You may use the other(s) toward your HASS Electives or Concentration.

Concentration component (three or four subjects)

  • The HASS Concentration includes three to four subjects, depending on your choice of field.
  • You may use a single subject for both the Distribution and Concentration components of the Requirement with the permission of your Concentration advisor.

HASS Elective (one or two subjects)

  • You will fulfill the remainder of the Requirement with your choice of subjects from any HASS category or those designated as HASS Electives (HASS‑E).

What you need to do

Search for subjects in any HASS category on the advanced search page of the Subject Listing & Schedule, and follow our guidelines to stay on track.

first-year STUDENTS

  • Plan to take at least one HASS subject each semester. One of your two HASS subjects should be designated as Communication Intensive (CI‑H or CI‑HW).
  • Consider a HASS Exploration Subject (HEX).

Sophomores

  • Consider completing your Distribution component by taking a third and fourth HASS subject. Again, one of these two HASS subjects should be Communication Intensive.
  • Review our list of Concentration fields and their requirements and begin to consider area(s) of interest.

Juniors

  • You should be well on your way towards completing the HASS Requirement. We encourage you to complete the Distribution component this year.
  • Consult with a Concentration advisor in the area(s) you are considering for your Concentration.
  • Submit your HASS Concentration proposal by the end of the first week of classes during the second term of your junior year.
  • Students who took early sophomore standing — submit your HASS Concentration proposal in the fall of your third year.

Seniors

  • You must complete the HASS Requirement in order to receive your degree.
  • Submit your HASS Concentration Form by the end of the first week of your final term at MIT.

Know the rules

These are a few of the special circumstances and procedures that may affect how you fulfill the HASS Requirement. Email hassreq@mit.edu with questions.

  • All HASS Requirement subjects must be taken for a letter grade or under first-year P/D/F. Subjects taken under junior-senior P/D/F will not count towards the Requirement.
  • If you wish to enroll in a HASS subject that is also designated as CI‑H or CI‑HW, you must use the CI‑H/HW selection tool, accessed through pre-registration.
  • Transfer credit may be used as HASS Elective subjects in fulfillment of the Requirement, but it usually cannot be used towards the Distribution component. Contact the transfer credit examiner in the appropriate HASS field for more information.
  • In most cases, you must petition the Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement to receive credit for a subject taken at Harvard or Wellesley.
  • Six-unit subjects in a relevant field can often be counted towards the Requirement. View Substitutions within the HASS Requirement for more information.
  • AP credit can never be used to fulfill any part of the HASS Requirement.
  • A few subjects fall under more than one HASS category. These subjects will automatically audit for the category you need.