Communication Requirement

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Beginning with students entering in Fall 2001, all MIT undergraduates must fulfill a Communication Requirement (CR) by completing a program of four communication-intensive (CI) subjects that teach written and oral communication. The CR is designed to ensure that the students’ communication training is distributed over several years of study. To achieve this goal, the Requirement is structured so that students complete at least one CI subject in each year of undergraduate study.
Two of the required subjects are chosen from a group of designated subjects offered in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences curriculum (CI-H subjects). The other two required CI subjects are taken in the student’s major department (CI-M subjects).

  • CI-H subjects (Communication Intensive in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences) provide a foundation in effective writing and oral communication. CI-H subjects are writing classes or classes in the HASS curriculum in which students plan, organize, draft, and revise a series of assignments based on course material.
  • CI-HW subjects are a subset of CI-H subjects concentrating more particularly on the writing process. CI-HW subjects focus on the writing process (e.g., pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing) and the rhetorical dimensions of writing (e.g., the audience for whom one is writing, the purpose for which one is writing—to argue, inform, persuade, explain, and convince).
  • CI-M subjects (Communication Intensive in the Major) teach the specific forms of communication common to the field’s professional and academic culture. Students may write in teams, prepare and present oral and visual research reports for different audiences, learn audience analysis and peer review, or go through the experience of proposing, writing, and extensively revising a professional journal article.

As a result of this structure, a wide spectrum of communication-intensive subjects is offered across all five Schools throughout the Institute. These subjects encompass a number of formats including: laboratory classes, in which students write, revise and present laboratory reports; seminars, in which they prepare and lead discussions; senior theses; and independent research projects.