Writing and Humanistic Studies

A photo of a woman and a beam of blue light in the dark.

(Photo courtesy of Nicholas Altenbernd. Used with permission.)


Featured Courses

The MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies gives students the opportunity to learn the techniques, forms, and traditions of several kinds of writing, from basic expository prose to more advanced forms of non-fictional prose, fiction and poetry, science writing, scientific and technical communication and digital media.

Our faculty consists of novelists, essayists, poets, translators, biographers, historians, engineers, and scientists.

Program subjects are arranged by four areas: exposition and rhetoric, creative writing, science writing, and technical communication. In each area, introductory subjects lead to more specialized advanced subjects. Introductory subjects are designed for students with little experience in writing. Advanced subjects are for students who have mastered the elements of sentence and paragraph structure. A number of the advanced subjects use writing as a vehicle to explore humanistic and scientific issues in a broad cultural context.

The Graduate Program in Science Writing is a 12-month course of study leading to a Master of Science degree. Aimed at students who wish to write about science and technology for general readers, the program is built around an intensive two-semester advanced science-writing seminar. Links to other MIT programs and departments - such as the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships program, Comparative Media Studies, and the Program in Science, Technology and Society - provide rich resources for students who come to the Graduate Program in Science Writing from a variety of backgrounds.


Writing and Humanistic Studies Courses

Course # Course Title Level
21W.035 Science Writing and New Media: Elements of Science Writing for the Public Undergraduate
21W.730-1 Expository Writing: Social and Ethical Issues in Print, Photography and Film Undergraduate
21W.730-1 Expository Writing: Exploring Social and Ethical Issues through Film and Print Undergraduate
21W.730-2 The Creative Spark Undergraduate
21W.730-3 Writing and the Environment Undergraduate
21W.730-3 Consumer Culture Undergraduate
21W.730-3 Expository Writing: Autobiography - Theory and Practice Undergraduate
21W.730-4 Writing on Contemporary Issues: Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about the Cultures of Food Undergraduate
21W.730-4 Expository Writing: Analyzing Mass Media Undergraduate
21W.730-5 Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace Undergraduate
21W.730-5 Writing on Contemporary Issues: Imagining the Future Undergraduate
21W.731-1 Writing and Experience: Exploring Self in Society Undergraduate
21W.731-2 Writing and Experience: Crossing Borders Undergraduate
21W.731-4 Writing and Experience Undergraduate
21W.732 Science Writing and New Media Undergraduate
21W.732-1 Introduction to Technical Communication: Perspectives on Medicine and Public Health Undergraduate
21W.732-2 Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and Technology Undergraduate
21W.732-2 Intro to Tech Communication Undergraduate
21W.732-5 Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical Writing Undergraduate
21W.734J Writing with Shakespeare Undergraduate
21W.734J Writing About Literature Undergraduate
21W.735 Writing and Reading the Essay (Fall 2005) Undergraduate
21W.735 Writing and Reading the Essay (Fall 2004) Undergraduate
21W.739J Darwin and Design (Fall 2010) Undergraduate
21W.739J Darwin and Design (Fall 2003) Undergraduate
21W.741J Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies Undergraduate
21W.742 Writing About Race Undergraduate
21W.742J Writing About Race: Narratives of Multiraciality Undergraduate
21W.745 Advanced Essay Workshop Undergraduate
21W.746 Humanistic Perspectives on Medicine: From Ancient Greece to Modern America Undergraduate
21W.747 Classical Rhetoric and Modern Political Discourse Undergraduate
21W.747 Rhetoric (Spring 2005) Undergraduate
21W.747-1 Rhetoric (Spring 2010) Undergraduate
21W.747-1 Rhetoric (Spring 2006) Undergraduate
21W.747-1 Rhetoric (Fall 2006) Undergraduate
21W.747-2 Rhetoric: Rhetoric of Science Undergraduate
21W.749 Documentary Photography and Photojournalism: Still Images of a World in Motion Undergraduate
21W.749 Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of A World In Motion Undergraduate
21W.755 Writing and Reading Short Stories (Spring 2012) Undergraduate
21W.756 Writing and Reading Poems Undergraduate
21W.757 Writing and Reading Short Stories (Spring 2012) Undergraduate
21W.758 Genre Fiction Workshop Undergraduate
21W.765J Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice (Spring 2006) Undergraduate
21W.765J Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice (Spring 2004) Undergraduate
21W.765J Theory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive Narrative Undergraduate
21W.772 Digital Poetry Undergraduate
21W.775 Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues Undergraduate
21W.777 The Science Essay (Spring 2009) Undergraduate
21W.777 The Science Essay (Spring 2008) Undergraduate
21W.780 Communicating in Technical Organizations (Spring 2005) Undergraduate
21W.780 Communicating in Technical Organizations (Fall 2001) Undergraduate
21W.783 Science and Engineering Writing for Phase II Undergraduate
21W.784 Becoming Digital: Writing about Media Change Undergraduate
21W.785 Communicating in Cyberspace Undergraduate
21W.789 Communicating with Mobile Technology Undergraduate