MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World



Political Science
Repairing America’s social safety net

In a recent book, political scientist Andrea Campbell gives a firsthand perspective on how America’s means-tested social insurance programs inadvertently keep the people they are intended to help in a state of perpetual financial distress. Campbell also proposes more sensible social policy.


Monthly Digest 
Said and Done 

Research, News, and Kudos
from the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities,
Arts, and Social Sciences

MIT tackles ethics of climate change

“Why, despite the steady growth of scientific knowledge, policy initiatives at every level, and an active civil society, have we failed to act effectively? What's gone wrong here?”


Bengt Holmström receives the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics

Bravo! Bengt Holmstrom, the Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics in MIT SHASS, has won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics for his contributions to contract theory. He shares the prize wtih Oliver Hart, of Harvard University.

Stories + Videos
Stories, Nobel Lecture, Ceremony


“Uniting through Voice & Song” celebrates MIT values

“These are MIT’s values and MIT’s path,” said MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhardt. “They always have been — and I can promise you that nothing will change our course.”

Story on MIT News

Watch the event online

Harriet Ritvo: What is "Wild"?

"Even when people agree about whether wildness is good or bad," Ritvo tells MIT SHASS, "they have often disagreed about exactly what it is, and about whether an individual organism or group of organisms or even an environment should be described as wild.

Story at MIT News

Institute History 
The Rise of the Humanities at MIT

Part of the "Common Threads" video, produced for MIT's 150th anniversary celebration, this three-minute clip traces the rise of the humanities, arts, sciences, and social science disciplines at MIT.  

Watch for the appearance of Winston Churchill! 

Video Clip

What’s the best remedy for inequality within the 99%?

“Higher education, and public education, is America’s best idea,” says MIT economist David Autor. “Our decision to send our entire public through high school over the first 30 years of the 20th century was probably the single most important factor in U.S. economic predominance for that century.”


Political Science
Can America have a renaissance in manufacturing? 

In Making in America, Suzanne Berger, Starbuck Professor of Poltical Science, describes ways to strengthen American manufacturing, including public-private collaborations, manufacturing innovation institutes, and industry-community college projects.

News story  |  Report

Music and Theater Arts
Mens et Musica 

Today, unprecedented numbers of incoming students—80 percent—arrive at MIT with deep experience in the arts, especially in music.

Story at MIT Spectrvm

Women's & Gender Studies
My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper, a program founded in 2016 by Professor Helen Elaine Lee, supports black women students at MIT, with social, professional, and mentoring relationships.

Learn more at MIT News

Wi-Phi online platform presents "philosophy's greatest hits"

Can science describe everything there is to know about the world? Do humans have free will? What is it for a sentence to be "true"? Dig into these and other questions at Wi-Phi — an online, interactive toolkit for building a better mind.

Story + Wi-Phi

The MIT Campaign for a Better World

"Humanity faces urgent challenges — challenges whose solutions depend on marrying advanced technical and scientific capabilities with a deep understanding of the world's political, cultural, and economic complexities." — L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT

Join us in building a better world

Social Innovation
J-PAL North America partners with state and local governments

J-PAL North America will partner with at least 12 state and local governments and share the evidence generated to ensure that it reaches other state and local governments facing similar challenges.

Read more at MIT News

Digital Humanities at MIT

Using computational tools and methods, humanities scholars are opening new lines of research and asking questions never before possible. 


Erica James launches MIT Global Health & Medical Humanities Initiative

Resolving public health crises requires astute political leadership and an informed public as well as the best medical science. The MIT Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative, led by Erica James is bringing together expertise in political, economic, social, and cultural realms. 


Music + Engineering
MIT students make music from particle energy.

In Keeril Makan's most recent Introduction to Composition class, students were asked to design a musical instrument. Some made flutes, chimes, and homemade drums. Sergheyev, Lopez, and Liu decided to make musical textures from nuclear radiation — gamma sonification.


Linguistics + Biology
A new theory on the deep roots of human speech    

Shigeru Miyagawa, MIT Professor of Linguistics, says the balance of evidence suggests human language is a grafting of two communication forms found elsewhere in the animal kingdom: the elaborate songs of birds, and information-bearing expression seen in various other animals.


MIT Music Online 
The Listening Room 

The finest music by MIT’s Music faculty and student-musicians is available at The Listening Room—an online collection that showcases the Institute’s remarkable passion for music.

Listening Room | Video

Meet Dean Nobles

“MIT SHASS is important because all the rest of the endeavors at which the Institute so excels — science, engineering, business, and architecture — exist within social, political, cultural, and economic contexts, and those are the realms that the SHASS faculty research and explore."  — Melissa Nobles, Kenan Sahin Dean

Full Story | Interview

What makes MIT Philosophy so successful?  

Consistently ranked among the top philosophy departments in the nation, MIT Philosophy recently also drew attention for extraordinary success in placing its PhD graduates in tenure-track positions. What's the secret?



MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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