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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
Tom Levenson
Minor Advisor
Tom Levenson



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

Take two required subjects

21W.THTWriting Pre-Thesis Tutorial (6 units)
21W.THUWriting Program Thesis (CI-M) (12

Undergraduate Thesis Manual (PDF)

Take one of the following subjects

21W.757Fiction Workshop (CI-M)
21W.758Genre Fiction Workshop (CI-M)
21W.759Writing Science Fiction (CI-M)
21W.762Poetry Workshop (CI-M)
21W.765[J]Interactive Narrative (CI-M)
21W.770Advanced Fiction Workshop (CI-M)
21W.771Advanced Poetry Workshop (CI-M)
21W.777Science Writing in Contemporary Society (CI-M)
21W.786[J]Social Justice and The Documentary Film (CI-M)

And select nine subjects, one of which is normally introductory, that form a cohesive unit. Up to six subjects may also count toward the Institute HASS requirement.

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

Take one subject from the following

21W.011Writing and Rhetoric: Rhetoric and Contemporary Issues
21W.012Writing and Rhetoric: Food for Thought
21W.013Writing and Rhetoric: Introduction to Contemporary Rhetoric
21W.014Writing and Rhetoric: Exploring Visual Media
21W.015Writing and Rhetoric: Writing about Sports
21W.016Writing and Rhetoric: Designing Meaning
21W.021Writing and Rhetoric: MIT Inside, Live
21W.022Writing and Experience: Reading and Writing Autobiography
21W.031Science Writing and New Media: Explorations in Communicating about Science and Technology
21W.034Science Writing and New Media: Perspectives on Medicine and Public Health
21W.035Science Writing and New Media: Elements of Science Writing for the Public
21W.036Science Writing and New Media: Writing and the Environment
21W.041[J]Writing about Literature
21W.042[J]Writing with Shakespeare
21W.755Writing and Reading Short Stories
21W.756Writing 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.