MIT SHASS Introductory-Level Subjects | Fall 2023


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 

African and African Diaspora Studies

21.A135[J]/21G.025[J]  Africa and the Politics of Knowledge; HASS-S | D. Asfaha

American Studies

17.20 Introduction to the American Political Process; HASS-S & CI-H | C. Stewart

Ancient and Medieval Studies

21L.001 Foundations of Western Literature: Homer to Dante; HASS-H & CI-A | S. Frampton
21H.130 The Ancience World: Greece; HASS-H & CI-H |  E. Driscoll


21A.00  Introduction to Anthropology: Comparing Human Cultures; HASS-S  | B. Stoetzer
21A.500[J]  Technology and Culture; HASS-S  |  H. Beltrán

Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies

21G.041[J]/21L.040[J]  Foundations of East Asian Literature and Culture: From Confucius to the Beats; HASS-H & CI-H | W. Denecke
21G.043[J]/21H.107[J]  Asian American History: 1865 to 1965; HASS-H | E. Teng

Comparative Media Studies (CMS)

CMS.100  Introduction to Media Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  |  E. Schiappa, I. Condry
CMA.614[J]/21W.791[J] Critical Internet Studies; HASS-S | A. Gibson
CMS.621 Fans and Fan Cultures; HASS-H | A. Schiappa


14.01  Principles of Microeconomics; HASS-S  |  J. Gruber
14.02  Principles of Macroeconomics; HASS-S  |  M. Beraja
14.73 The Challenge of World Poverty; HASS-S & CI-H | E. Duflo & F. Schilbach

Global Languages (GL)

21G.700 Introductory Spanish for Heritage Learners; HASS-H | Javier Barroso
21G.S81 Special Subject: Portuguese I; HASS-H | Nilma Dominique
21G.951 Arabic I; HASS-H | Muna Bruce

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


21H.130  The Ancient World: Greece; HASS-H | E. Driscoll
21H.151  Dynastic China; HASS-H | T. Brown
21H.157  Modern South Asia; HASS-H | S. Aiyar
21H.160  Islam, the Middle East and the West; HASS-H | P. Alimagham

Latin America and Latino/a Studies

17.55J Introduction to Latin American Studies will next be offered in AY24-25.


24.900  Introduction to Linguistics; HASS-S, CI-H | A. Albright
24.917  ConLangs: How to Construct a Language; HASS-S | K. von Fintel


21L.003  Reading Fiction; HASS-H & CI-H | J. Buzard
21L.005[J]/21M.609[J]  Introduction to Drama; HASS-H & CI-H | S. Alexandre
21L.010  Writing with Shakespeare; HASS-H & CI-HW | D. Henderson
21L.011  Introduction to Film Studies; HASS-H & CI-H | A. Svensson


21M.051  Fundamentals of Music; HASS-A | S. Iker, D. David
21M.150  Introductory Music Theory; HASS-A | G. Saraydarian
21M.223  Folk Music of the British Isles and North America; HASS-A & CI-H | J. Maurer


24.00  Problems of Philosophy; HASS-H & CI-H | E. Watkins
24.01  Classics of Western Philosophy; HASS-H & CI-H | B. Brasher
24.09  Minds and Machines; HASS-H & CI-H | D. Balcarras

Political Science

17.20  Introduction to the American Political Process; HASS-S & CI-H | C. Stewart
17.30  Making Public Policy; HASS-S & CI-H | A. Campbell
17.46  U.S. National Security Policy; HASS-S | E. Lin-Greenberg
17.50  Intro to Comparative Politics; HASS-S & CI-H | C. Lawson

Russian and Eurasian Studies

21H.244[J]/21G.085[J]  Imperial and Revolutionary Russia: Culture and Politics, 1700-1917; HASS-H | E. Wood

Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

STS.001  Technology in American History; HASS-H | D. Mindell, M.R. Smith
STS.011  Engineering Life: Biotechnology and Society; HASS-H  |  R.W. Scheffler
STS.012  Science in Action: Technologies and Controversies in Everyday Life; HASS-S | D. Banerjee

Theater Arts

21M.604[J]/21W.754[J]  Playwriting Fundamentals; HASS-A | K. Urban
21L.005[J]/21M.609  Introduction to Drama; HASS-A & CI-H |  S. Alexandre
21M.712  Choreography: Making Dances; HASS-A  |  J. Clark

Women's and Gender Studies (WGS)

WGS.123  The History of Women in Science and Engineering; HASS-H | M. Weinstock
WGS.160[J]/STS.021[J]  Science Activism: Gender, Race, and Power; HASS-E | E. Bertschinger
WGS.228  The Psychology of Sex and Gender; HASS-S |  C. Kapunga
WGS.245[J]/21L.480  Identities and Intersections: Queer Literatures; HASS-H | J. Terrones


21W.740 Writing Autobiography and Biography; HASS-A | K. Manning
21W.750 Experimental Writing; HASS-A | N. Montfort
21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories; HASS-A | F. Abbas