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

MIT's Mission in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences


Generating practical solutions for the world's great challenges requires technical and scientific creativity—
and an understanding of the world’s human complexities: political, cultural, and economic.

MIT's Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences fields empower young scientists, engineers, thinkers, and citizens—with historical and cultural perspectives, and skills in critical thinking and communication—to help them serve the world well, with innovations and lives that are rich in meaning and wisdom.


Welcome new students and visitors.
Learn about the MIT-SHASS Mission on this page, and to discover more about MIT's humanities, arts, and social science fields, take the virtual TOUR de SHASS.


Areas of Focus   

Research and Innovation 
generating great ideas to meet the world's great challenges 

MIT SHASS is home to research that has a global impact, and to superb graduate programs, all recognized as among the finest in the world. With 13 academic fields, the School's portfolio is vast, including: international studies, linguistics, comparative media studies, economics, poverty alleviation, literature, anthropology, digital humanities, philosophy, global studies and languages, music and theater arts, writing, political science, security studies, women's and gender studies, and history.

The School's research helps alleviate poverty; safeguard elections; steer economies; understand the past and present; assess the impact of new technologies; understand human language; create new forms at the juncture of art and science; and inform policy and cultural mores on issues including justice, healthcare, energy, climate, education, work and manufacturing, inclusion, and economic equity.
Research Portfolio

Teaching Critical Skills 
giving all MIT students the foundations for lives of success, meaning, and wisdom 

Meeting great challenges requires technical and scientific creativity, and an understanding of the world’s human complexities — cultural, political, and economic. The MIT SHASS disciplines empower young students, thinkers, and citizens with a range of critical skills needed for success in every endeavor. The cultural and historical perspectives, creativity, judgment, communication and critical thinking skills gained in engagement with the School's disciplines help MIT students create innovations—and lives—
that are rich in meaning and wisdom. 
Fields of Study

Educating Leaders and Global Citizens 
providing transformative international education

The School has a central role in international education at MIT, and in preparing students to be leaders and good global citizens. Through MISTI, the School's applied international education program, MIT students learn how to work, collaborate, and thrive in cultures around the globe.  
MISTI Program



MIT SHASS Fields of Study 
Take the TOUR de SHASS

Music at MIT
"In One Voice," MIT Spectrum, Spring 2013
"In a sense, music is math and science,” says Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music.

Video on the Rise of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT
3-minute video clip
Part of the "Common Threads" video produced for MIT's 150th anniversary celebration. Watch for the appearance of Winston Churchill! 

The MIT Mission
To advance knowledge and to educate students
in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world's great challenges.

MIT is dedicated to providing its students with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery
with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community. We seek to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

The Power of STEM + SHASS at MIT

Image courtesy of the MIT Edgerton Center