“There are a lot of wonderful interdisciplinary programs and classes in SHASS that everyone at MIT could benefit from.”
— Katherine Silva, Economics ’17
On Thursday, September 8, 2016, several hundred MIT undergraduates attended the annual TOUR de SHASS, an academic fair that gives students a chance to discover the range and depth of MIT courses in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT-SHASS).
Kimia Ziadkhanpour, Biology ’18, was impressed with the range and depth of courses of study. “It's a more comprehensive program than I had thought. Wish I could take them all!”
The combination of STEM and SHASS fields defines a serious, comprehensive MIT education. As MIT President Rafael Reif recently remarked, “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.”
Every MIT undergraduate, regardless of their major, is required to take a minimum of eight HASS classes, which represents nearly 25% of their total class load at MIT. Many students immerse themseves in areas of interest by pursuing majors or minors in one of the many MIT-SHASS fields.
At the TOUR this year students visited information stations staffed by faculty and undergraduate academic administrators from the 13 MIT-SHASS fields: anthropology; economics; political science; global studies and languages; history; linguistics; literature; comparative media studies/writing; music; theater arts; philosophy; science, technology, and society; and women’s and gender studies.
Dean Melissa Nobles at the TOUR de SHASS
“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 Rief, President of MIT
Exploring diverse fields
Students at the event were pleased to discover the wide range of fields in MIT-SHASS, and many were glad for a chance to get input and guidance directly from the faculty.
“It was really nice to be able to talk to people about the HASS programs,” said Maedeh Marzoughi, Mechanical Engineering ’19, “and to have access to all the departments in one place.”
Haley Cope, ’18, already pursuing a major in Women's and Gender Studies, said the Tour only “emphasized the fact that there are too many interesting classes to take before I graduate.”
Literature professor Arthur Bahr talks with a student
“It's a more comprehensive set of programs than I had thought. Wish I could take them all!”
—Kimia Ziadkhanpour, Biology ’18
An interdisciplinary addition
One new addition to the TOUR's offerings in 2016 was an informational table dedicated to the 10 SHASS interdisciplinary fields. These undergraduate programs each embrace several academic disciplines to take a multi-faceted approach to the world's most complex issues.
Interdisciplinary programs draw upon courses and faculty across several areas of study to construct concentrations, minors, and majors in areas such as African and African Diaspora Studies; American Studies; Ancient and Medieval Studies; Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies; Latin American and Latino Studies; Legal Studies; Middle Eastern Studies; Russian and Eurasian Studies; and Public Policy.
“SHASS Interdisciplinary Programs allow students to tackle the most complex problems we face today,” said Andrea Wirth, SHASS Academic Administrator. “Through these multidisciplinary approaches, the fullest extent of the issues can be studied and better understood.”
As in year's past, students at the TOUR were excited to discover the range and variety of MIT's SHASS courses and programs. “There are a lot of wonderful classes and interdisciplinary programs in SHASS that everyone at MIT can benefit from,” said Katherine Silva, Economics ’17. “HASS is bae.”
Take the TOUR de SHASS online
MIT-SHASS classes empower students for success, and for a lifetime of creativity and growth.
Story by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Staff Writer: Daniel Evans Pritchard