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

"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."



Research and Innovation 
great ideas to make a better world

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, 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 
for lives of success and meaning

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 
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


"Will the future be humane and livable? What knowledge and values will guide and sustain us? MIT's SHASS faculty and students address some of largest, most consequential human questions of our time."


Suggested links


The Power of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT
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Impact: Making a Better World
Discover how MIT's social sciences, arts, and humanities fields make a better world possible through innovative research, teaching, and collaboration.
Browse the Research Portfolio

Video: Essential
100% of MIT students study the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Find out why!
Watch short video

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

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: What do you want to make?
Ask MIT students what they want to make. They'll have infinite answers.
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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. 

Image courtesy of the MIT Edgerton Center