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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Committee on the HASS Requirement records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AC-0405

  • Staff Only
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Scope and Contents

The collection documents the work of the Committee on the HASS Requirement, 1973 to 1980, which reviewed courses offered to fulfill requirements in humanities subjects. The records include course descriptions submitted for consideration by the School of Humanities and Social Science departments, notes about course content, reading lists, assignments, correspondence between committee members and department heads, reports about subjects under review, and a record of the final decisions. The courses represented go beyond those fields and disciplines traditionally labeled as “humanities.”

Records of a later committee on the HAAS requirement can be found in collection AC 536.


  • Creation: 1973 - 1980


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical Note

A new form of requirement in the humanities titled the Institute Requirement in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) was approved by the faculty after extensive debate in 1974. It contained “two main features: a distribution component requiring students . . . to take at least three subjects in three separate fields from a selected list of humanistically oriented ‘distribution subjects,’ and a concentration component requiring students to take at least three or four subjects in a given field in order to achieve some degree of depth.”(1) A faculty committee, the Committee on the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement, was established to administer the new requirement. Its major responsibilities were “1) to oversee the selection of Distribution subjects; 2) to review proposals for creating new Fields of Concentration; and 3) to decide which undergraduate subjects shall be eligible for elective credit under the terms of the Requirement.”(2) The committee was to include members from all the schools at the Institute.

The first change to the HASS requirement was made in 1982-1983 and included a significant redefinition of the criteria for humanities distribution subjects. In addition, the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science (now the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) was given the responsibility for monitoring the working of the requirement and the committee ceased to exist.(3)

__________________ (1) Report to the President, 1973-74.

(2) Committees of the Institute, 1982-83.

(3) Report to the President, 1982-83.


2 Cubic Feet (2 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Related Materials in the Institute Archives

Records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Committee on the HASS Requirements, 1985-1986 (AC 536).

Processing Information note

Some collection descriptions are based on legacy data and may be incomplete or contain inaccuracies. Description may change pending verification. Please contact the MIT Department of Distinctive Collections if you notice any errors or discrepancies.

Preliminary Inventory to the Records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Committee on the HASS Requirement
Ready For Review
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US