MIT SHASS Introductory-Level Subjects | Spring 2018


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.120  American Dream: Exploring Class in the US; HASS-S  | C. Walley
21A.157 The Meaning of Life; HASS-S  | S. Helmreich and H. Paxson

Comparative Media Studies (CMS)

CMS.100 Introduction to Media Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  | I. Condry and J. Picker
CMS.301 Introduction to Game Design Methods; HASS-A  | M. Jakobsson
CMS.309J/21W.763J Transmedia Storytelling: Modern Science Fiction; HASS-A  | H. Hendershot


14.01 Principles of Microeconomics; HASS-S  | J. Harris
14.02 Principles of Macroeconomics; HASS-S  | J. Poterba
14.46 Innovation Policy and the Economy (New); HASS-S, CI-H  | H. Williams

Global Studies and Languages (GSL)

21G.026  Global Africa: Creative Cultures (New); HASS-H  | A. Edoh
21G.055J/CMS.311J  Media in Weimar and Nazi Germany; HASS-H, CI-H  | W. Uricchio
21G.074  Topics in Portuguese Popular Culture: The Portuguese-speaking World through Film, Music and Fiction; HASS-H | A. Igrejas

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 | C. Horan
21H.161 The Middle East in the 20th Century; HASS-H, CI-H | P. Alimagham
21H.165 A Survey of Modern African History (New); HASS-H | K. Mutongi


24.9000 How Language Works (New); HASS-S | K. von Fintel


21L.001 Foundations of Western Literature: Homer to Dante; HASS-H, CI-H  | S. Frampton
21L.004 Reading Poetry; HASS-H, CI-H | M. Fuller
21L.005 Introduction to Drama; HASS-A, CI-H | D. Henderson


21M.011 Introduction to Western Music; HASS-A, CI-H | M. Marks, T. Neff, T. Neff
21M.030 Introduction to World Music ; HASS-A, CI-H | E. Ziporyn, K. Haas
21M.051 Fundamentals of Music; HASS-A |  M. Cuthbert, K. Salfelder


24.00 Problems of Philosophy; HASS-H, CI-H | A. Byrne
24.05 Philosophy of Religion; HASS-H, CI-H | J. Spencer
24.07 The Ethics of Climate Change (New); HASS-H, CI-H  | K. Setiya and C. Hare

Political Science

17.01J/24.04J Justice; HASS-H, CI-H  | S. Hahn
17.42 Causes and Prevention of War; HASS-S, CI-H | S. Van Evera
17.53 Rise of Asia; HASS-S | M. T. Fravel and V. Narang

Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

STS.007 Technology in History; HASS-H, CI-H  | R. Williams
STS.008 Technology and Experience; HASS-S, CI-H  | M. Boucher
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.605 Voice and Speech for the Actor; HASS-A  | K. Eastley, O. D'Ambrosio
21M.645 Motion Theater; HASS-A  | J. Scheib, C. Hammond

Women's and Gender Studies (WGS)

WGS.101 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies; HASS-H, CI-H  | A. Walsh
WGS.109  Women and Global Activism in Media and Politics; HASS-H, CI-H  | A. Sur
WGS.142 Narrative and Identity: Writing and Film by Contemporary Women of Color; HASS-H  | S. King


21W.747 Rhetoric; HASS-H, CI-H  | S. Strang, A. Karatsolis
21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories; HASS-A  | S. Lewitt, M. Nathan
21W.775 Writing About Nature and Environmental Issues; HASS-H, CI-H  | C. Taft