MIT SHASS Introductory-Level Subjects | Spring 2021


Suggested Introductory Subjects 

The following is a list of subjects that have been suggested by the departments, programs, and sections as among those recommended for students who may not already have experience in these fields. This list is not all-inclusive, and is intended only as one possible starting point for students looking to explore the MIT SHASS fields. HASS-Exploration (HEX) subjects, for instance, provide another appropriate route, and many students will find additional subjects that match their own distinctive interests.

The full list of course offerings is available through the online subject listing and more information is always available through the departments, programs, and sections. Students should always refer to the official subject listing for updated schedules and locations. This list may not be updated after the start of classes.

Enjoy the exploration!  

Fields of Study 


21A.01  How Culture Works; HASS-S  | M. Buyandelger
21A.157  The Meaning of Life; HASS-S  |  S. Helmreich, H. Paxson
21A.500J  Technology and Culture; HASS-S  |  L. Bonilla

Comparative Media Studies (CMS)

CMS.100  Introduction to Media Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  |  J. Reich, P. Roquet
CMS.301  Introduction to Game Design Methods; HASS-A  |  M. Jakobsson, S. Verrilli
CMS.587J  Introduction to Education: Understanding and Evaluating Education; HASS-S, CI-H  |  M. Thompson, J. Gardony


14.01  Principles of Microeconomics; HASS-S  |  S. Ellison
14.02  Principles of Macroeconomics; HASS-S  |  R. Caballero
14.70J  Medieval Economic History in Comparative Perspective; HASS-S, CI-H  |  A. McCants

Global Languages (GL)

21G.028J  African Migrations; HASS-S  |  A. Edoh
21G.057J  Gender, Race, and Environmental Justice; HASS-S | B. Stoetzer
21G.077J  Introduction to the Classics of Russian Literature; HASS-H  |  M. Khotimsky

Global Languages offers language instruction courses at a variety of levels to suit your skills. All but ELS provide subjects for complete beginners:  ChineseEnglish Language StudiesFrenchGermanJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian, and Spanish.


21H.132  The Ancient World: Rome; HASS-H, CI-H | W. Broadhead
21H.161  The Modern Middle East; HASS-H, CI-H | P. Alimagham
21H.165  A Survey of Modern African History; HASS-H | K. Mutongi


24.900  Introduction to Linguistics; HASS-S, CI-H | N. Richards
24.912J  Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies; HASS-A/HASS-H, CI-H  |  M. DeGraff, D. Fox Harrell, D. Wood


21L.001 Foundations of Western Literature: Homer to Dante; HASS-H, CI-H |  J. Buzard
21L.006 American Literature; HASS-H, CI-H  |  L. Finch
21L.007 World Literatures; HASS-H, CI-H  |  W. Denecke


21M.030  Introduction to World Music; HASS-A, CI-H  | G. Dempsey
21M.051  Fundamentals of Music; HASS-A  |  D. David
21M.080  Introduction to Music Technology; HASS-A  |  M. Schumaker


24.09  Minds and Machines; HASS-H, CI-H  |  E.J. Green
24.013  Philosophy and the Arts; HASS-H, CI-H  |  B. Skow
24.118  Paradox and Infinity; HASS-H  |  A. Rayo

Political Science

17.309J  Science, Technology, and Public Policy; HASS-S, CI-H  |  K. Oye, N. Selin
17.42  Causes and Prevention of War; HASS-S, CI-H  |  S. Van Evera

Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

STS.011  Engineering Life: Biotechnology and Society;  HASS-H  | R. W. Scheffler
STS.012  Science in Action: Technology and Controversies in Everyday Life; HASS-S  |  D. Banerjee
STS.031J  Environment and History; HASS-S, CI-H  |  K. Brown, S. Solomon

Theater Arts

21M.600  Introduction to Acting; HASS-A  |  J. Sonenberg
21M.606  Introduction to Stagecraft; HASS-A  |  S. Rodemann
21M.715  Topics in Theater Arts: Creating the World We Want: Protest, Activism, and Performance; HASS-A (confirmed by Registar's Office)  |  C. Brathwaite

Women's and Gender Studies (WGS)

WGS.101  Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  | A. Walsh
WGS.224  Race, Gender, and Social Inequality: Reproductive Health Care in the United States; HASS-S  |  L. Janiak
WGS.S10  Special Subject in Women's Studies: Black Feminist Health Science Studies;  |  M. Bailey


21W.035  Science Writing and New Media: Elements of Science Writing for the Public; HASS-H, CI-HW  | Staff
21W.741J  Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies; HASS-A/H, CI-HW  |  M. DeGraff, D. Fox Harrell, D. Wood
21W.747  Rhetoric; HASS-H, CI-H  |   S. Strang, S. Lane