100% of MIT undergraduate study the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Here's why.

"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."


In this short video, MIT Chancellor Melissa Nobles, who served as SHASS Dean from 2015 to 2021, and others (including Winston Churchill!) show why the humanities, arts, and social sciences are essential to an MIT education — and to the Institute's innovation ecosystem.

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Commentary: The Power of STEM + SHASS at MIT

"At MIT, we view the humanities, arts, and social sciences as essential, both for educating great engineers, scientists, scholars, and citizens, and for sustaining the Institute’s capacity for innovation.  Why? Because the Institute’s mission is to advance knowledge and educate students who are prepared to help solve the world’s most challenging problems – in energy, health care, transportation, and dozens of other fields.

To do this, our graduates naturally need advanced technical knowledge and skills — the deep, original thinking about the physical universe that is the genius of the science and engineering fields. But the world’s problems are never tidily confined to the laboratory, workbench, or spreadsheet.

From climate change to poverty to disease, the challenges of our age are unwaveringly human in nature and scale; and engineering and science issues are always embedded in broader human realities, from deeply-felt cultural traditions to building codes to political tensions. So our students also need an in-depth understanding of human complexities — the political, cultural, and economic realities that shape our existence — as well as fluency in the powerful forms of thinking and creativity cultivated by the humanities, arts, and social sciences."