Writing Majors, Minor, Concentration

The Program in Writing offers introductory writing as well as advanced coursework in the areas of Creative Writing, Nonfiction Writing, and Science Writing.


Students with questions about the Writing majors, how to declare a major, or how its requirements can be fulfilled, should make an appointment with any of following individuals.

Nick Montfort
Major Advisor
Shariann Lewitt
Major Advisor
Ken Manning
Minor Advisor
Ken Manning
Concentration Advisor


Choose at least two subjects in the major that are designated as communication-intensive (CI-M) to fulfill the Communication Requirement.

Required Subjects
21W.THT Writing Pre-Thesis Tutorial (6 units)
21W.THU Writing Program Thesis (CI-M) (12 units)
Undergraduate Thesis Manual available here: https://cmsw.mit.edu/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Writing-Thesis-Manual-Revised-2019.pdf
Select one of the following:
Fiction Workshop (CI-M)
Genre Fiction Workshop (CI-M)
Writing Science Fiction (CI-M)
Poetry Workshop (CI-M)
Interactive Narrative (CI-M)
Advanced Fiction Workshop (CI-M)
Advanced Poetry Workshop (CI-M)
Science Writing in Contemporary Society (CI-M)
Social Justice and The Documentary Film (CI-M)
Select nine subjects, of which one is normally introductory, that form a cohesive unit

Joint Degree Programs in Writing

Humanities and Engineering (21E) degree and Humanities and Science (21S) degree: Joint degree programs are offered in Writing in combination with a field in engineering or science (the 21E and 21S degrees). Students completing a joint degree are required to complete 7 Writing subjects (with a focus on creative, science or nonfiction writing), a Writing Pre-thesis and Thesis, and 6 subjects in an engineering or science major.

Minor in Writing

The Minor in Writing consists of six subjects focusing on one of the three areas mentioned above, arranged into two tiers of study as follows:

Tier I

One subject from the following:
21W.011 Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric and Contemporary Issues
21W.012 Writing and Rhetoric: Food for Thought
21W.013 Writing and Rhetoric: Introduction to Contemporary Rhetoric
21W.014 Writing and Rhetoric: Exploring Visual Media
21W.015 Writing and Rhetoric: Writing about Sports
21W.021 Writing and Rhetoric: MIT Inside, Live
21W.022 Writing and Experience: Reading and Writing Autobiography
21W.031 Science Writing and New Media: Explorations in Communicating about Science and Technology
21W.034 Science Writing and New Media: Perspectives on Medicine and Public Health
21W.035 Science Writing and New Media: Elements of Science Writing for the Public
21W.036: Science Writing and New Media: Writing and the Environment
21W.041[J] Writing about Literature
21W.042[J] Writing with Shakespeare
21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories
21W.756 Writing and Reading Poems

Tier II

Five subjects from among the remaining writing subjects.

Concentration in Writing

The Concentration in Writing consists of four subjects chosen in consultation with the Concentration Advisor.  Ordinarily, of these four, no more than one will be at the introductory level (21W.0xx). In addition, of the four, three will form a coherent group within one of the major categories of the curriculum.

A student may choose to go beyond the Concentration requirement, and build a Minor in the field. It is not then necessary to complete a separate Concentration, but the student must still fill out the Concentration Proposal and Completion forms.

You may see a list of Writing subjects offered this semester here: cmsw.mit.edu/education/subject-lists/writing/ and a full list of subjects in the Writing program here: student.mit.edu/catalog/m21Wa.html.