MIT SHASS Introductory-Level Subjects | Spring 2020


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.00 Introduction to Anthropology: Comparing Human Cultures; HASS-S  | A. Moran-Thomas
21A.157 The Meaning of Life; HASS-S  |  S. Helmreich & G. Jones
21A.120 American Dream: Exploring Class in the U.S.; HASS-S | C. Walley

Comparative Media Studies (CMS)

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


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

21G.064  Introduction to Japanese Literature; HASS-H, CI-H  | I. Condry
21G.077J  Introduction to the Classics of Russian Literature; HASS-H  | M. Khotimsky
21G.800  Accelerated Introductory Portuguese; HASS-H | N. Dominique

GSL 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.102 American History Since 1865; HASS-H, CI-H | A. Pope
21H.165 A Survey of Modern African History; HASS-H | K. Mutongi
21H.181J Libertarianism in History; HASS-H | M. Ghachem


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


21L.003 Reading Fiction: Voyages; HASS-H, CI-H | W. Kelley
21L.011 The Film Experience; HASS-A, CI-H | K. Stevens
21L.019 Introduction to European and Latin American Fiction: Dangerous Women in Novel & Film; HASS-H, CI-H  |  K. Finn


21M.011 Introduction to Western Music; HASS-A, CI-H | E. Pollock
21M.080 Introduction to Music Technology; HASS-A | I. Hattwick
21M.215 Music of the Americas; HASS-A |  C. Shadle


24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy; HASS-H, CI-H | S. Haslanger
24.013 Philosophy and the Arts; HASS-H, CI-H | B. Skow
24.07 Ethics of Climate Change; HASS-H, CI-H  | C. Hare, K. Setiya

Political Science

17.41 Introduction to International Relations; HASS-S, CI-H  | R. Nielsen
17.50 Introduction to Comparative Politics; HASS-S, CI-H | C. Lawson
17.53 Rise of Asia; HASS-S | R. Samuels, V. Narang

Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

STS.003 Ancient Greeks to Modern Geeks: A History of Science; HASS-H, CI-H  | W. Deringer, D. I. Kaiser
STS.005J Data and Society; HASS-H | E. Medina, S. Williams
STS.012 Science in Action: Technologies and Controversies in Everyday Life; HASS-S  |  D. Banerjee

Theater Arts

21M.600 Introduction to Acting; HASS-A  | A. Kohler
21M.606 Introduction to Stagecraft; HASS-A  |  S. Rodemann
21M.607 Playwriting Methods (NEW); HASS-A  |  K. Urban

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.118  Gender in the Visual Arts (NEW); HASS-A  | J. Lee


21W.735 Writing and Reading the Essay; HASS-H, CI-H  |  K. Ragusa
21W.741J Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies; HASS-A, HASS-H, CI-H  | M. DeGraff, D. Fox Harrell, D. Wood
21W.747 Rhetoric; HASS-H, CI-H  | S. Strang, A. Karatsolis