School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Technology’s Cultural Side

Grace Young MIT

Like many students at MIT, Grace Young (’14) did not attend the Institute for an arts degree–but that does not make her any less artistic! Photo: Art in MIT

Although most people know MIT for its education in math and science, about eighty percent of the incoming freshmen have prior experience in the arts.  This knowledge comes in handy, since every undergraduate must take at least eight courses from the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Looking for a hotel near MIT? CLICK HERE!

MIT has always endorsed the humanities as a means to progress a student’s critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills.  However, it was not until 1950 when the first student could graduate from the Institute with a Humanities degree.  Today, SHASS is dedicated to “empower[ing] young scientists, engineers, thinkers, and citizens with historical and cultural perspectives…to help them serve the world well, with innovations and lives that are rich in meaning and wisdom.”

Campus and Classes

SHASS involves twelve buildings in the center of campus: the Ray and Maria Stata Center, the Tang Center, the Hayden Memorial Library, and the Ford, Maclaurin, Muckley, Suffolk, Sloan, and Wiesner buildings.  A number of these buildings—like the Ray and Maria Stata Center—do not exclusively hold SHASS classrooms, but involve other degrees from the Schools of Architecture and Planning or the Sloan School of Management.

Most students who graduate from MIT do not major in the arts or humanities; those subjects are not what the Institute is famous for, after all.  Nevertheless, SHASS offers many majors like Political Science, Music, Literature, Economics, Philosophy, and Global Studies just like any other liberal arts college.  That way, students can pursue their interests and still apply to jobs with an MIT degree.

SHASS courses range from Economics to the Theater Arts, but they encompass the cultural aspects of the world that pure science tends to ignore.  While relatively few students from the Institute graduate with a SHASS degree, the direct involvement of humanities in the MIT curriculum teaches students how to apply their scientific findings in a less-than-scientific world.

Map Location of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

[pw_map address=”Maclaurin Buildings Cambridge, MA 02142″]