MIT SHASS Introductory-Level Subjects | Fall 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.500J  Technology and Culture; HASS-S  |  S. Helmreich

Comparative Media Studies (CMS)

CMS.100  Introduction to Media Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  |  J. Reich, I. Condry
CMS.313  Silent Film; HASS-H  |  H. Hendershot


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.024J  The Linguistic Study of Bilingualism; HASS-S, CI-H  |  S. Flynn
21G.046  Modern Chinese Fiction and Cinema; HASS-H, CI-H  |  J. Wang
21G.055J  Media in Weimar and Nazi Germany; HASS-H, CI-H  |  W. Uricchio

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.001  How to Stage a Revolution; HASS-H, CI-H  |  P. Alimagham, M. Ghachem, C. Horan
21H.151  Pre-Modern China; HASS-H  |  T. Brown
21H.155  Modern Japan: 1600 to Present; HASS-H  |  H. Nagahara


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


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  |  I. Hattwick


24.00  Problems of Philosophy; HASS-H, CI-H  |  C. Hare
24.013  Philosophy and the Arts; HASS-H, CI-H  |  B. Skow
24.02  Moral Problems and the Good Life; HASS-H, CI-H  |  K. Setiya

Political Science

17.03  Introduction to Political Thought; HASS-S  |  K. Hoss
17.20  Introduction to the American Political Process; HASS-S, CI-H  |  C. Stewart
17.46  US National Security Policy; HASS-S  |  E. Lin-Greenberg

Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

STS.001  Technology in American History; HASS-H  |  M. Roe Smith
STS.004  Intersections: Science, Technology, and the World; HASS-H  |  D. Fitzgerald
STS.049  The Long War Against Cancer; HASS-H, CI-H  |  R. Scheffler

Theater Arts

21M.600  Introduction to Acting; HASS-A  |  K. Mancuso
21M.606  Introduction to Stagecraft; HASS-A  |  Staff
21M.800  All the World's a Stage: Socio-Political Perspectives in Global Performance; HASS-H  |  C. Brathwaite

Women's and Gender Studies (WGS)

WGS.110J  Sexual and Gender Identities in the Modern US; HASS-H  |  C. Horan
WGS.160J  Science Activism: Gender, Race, and Power; HASS-E  |  E. Bertschinger
WGS.225J  The Science of Race, Sex, and Gender; HASS-S  |  A. Sur


21W.747  Rhetoric; HASS-H, CI-H  |  S. Lane
21W.778  Science Journalism; HASS-H, CI-H  |  T. Levenson