Writing and Humanistic Studies

Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies
Photo by Nicholas Altenbernd

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.

Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies links

Visit the MIT Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies home page at:

Review the MIT Department of Writing and Humanistic Studies curriculum at:


Updated within the past 180 days

MIT Course #Course TitleTerm
 21W.730-1Expository Writing: Exploring Social and Ethical Issues through Film and PrintFall 2002
 21W.730-1Expository Writing: Social and Ethical Issues in Print, Photography and FilmFall 2005
 21W.730-2The Creative SparkFall 2004
 21W.730-3Expository Writing: Autobiography - Theory and PracticeSpring 2001
 21W.730-3Consumer CultureFall 2002
 21W.730-3Writing and the EnvironmentSpring 2005
 21W.730-4Expository Writing: Analyzing Mass MediaSpring 2001
21W.730-4Writing on Contemporary Issues: Food for Thought: Writing and Reading about the Cultures of FoodFall 2008
 21W.730-5Writing on Contemporary Issues: Imagining the FutureFall 2007
21W.730-5Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in CyberspaceFall 2008
 21W.731-1Writing and Experience: Exploring Self in SocietySpring 2004
 21W.731-4Writing and ExperienceSpring 2002
 21W.732-1Introduction to Technical Communication: Perspectives on Medicine and Public HealthSpring 2007
 21W.732-2Intro to Tech CommunicationFall 2002
 21W.732-2Introduction to Technical Communication: Ethics in Science and TechnologyFall 2006
 21W.732-5Introduction to Technical Communication: Explorations in Scientific and Technical WritingFall 2006
 21W.734JWriting About LiteratureFall 2006
 21W.735Writing and Reading the EssayFall 2004
 21W.735Writing and Reading the EssayFall 2005
 21W.739JDarwin and DesignFall 2002
 21W.739JDarwin and DesignFall 2003
21W.742JWriting About RaceSpring 2007
21W.742JWriting About Race: Narratives of MultiracialityFall 2008
21W.745Advanced Essay WorkshopSpring 2008
 21W.746Humanistic Perspectives on Medicine: From Ancient Greece to Modern AmericaSpring 2005
 21W.747RhetoricSpring 2005
 21W.747-1RhetoricFall 2006
 21W.747-1RhetoricSpring 2006
 21W.747-2Rhetoric: Rhetoric of ScienceSpring 2006
 21W.747-3Classical Rhetoric and Modern PoliticsSpring 2006
 21W.749Documentary Photography and Photo Journalism: Still Images of A World In MotionSpring 2002
 21W.755Writing and Reading Short StoriesFall 2006
 21W.756Writing and Reading PoemsFall 2006
 21W.765JTheory and Practice of Non-linear and Interactive NarrativeSpring 2003
 21W.765JInteractive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and PracticeSpring 2004
 21W.765JInteractive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and PracticeSpring 2006
 21W.772Digital PoetryFall 2005
 21W.775Writing about Nature and Environmental IssuesFall 2006
21W.777The Science EssaySpring 2008
 21W.780Communicating in Technical OrganizationsFall 2001
 21W.780Communicating in Technical OrganizationsSpring 2005
 21W.780Communicating in Technical OrganizationsSpring 2006
 21W.783Science and Engineering Writing for Phase IIFall 2002
 21W.784Becoming Digital: Writing About Media ChangeFall 2005
 21W.785Communicating in CyberspaceFall 2003
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