Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Concentration Form is Now Online

By Patricia Fernandes, Advisor, Communication and HASS Requirements, Office of Faculty Support

As part of the eight-subject Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement, all undergraduates must complete a HASS Concentration that provides increased knowledge in a particular HASS field. Students select from 35 different concentrations, such as American Studies, Anthropology, Chinese, or Economics, and propose a 3- or 4- subject concentration. Concentration Advisors review and approve proposals and verify completion.

Historically, students submitted paper HASS Concentration Proposal and Completion Forms to their Concentration Advisors for approval. Once approved, the students were required to manually distribute copies to several offices and the data was manually entered into the student’s record. This fall, MIT launched an online version of the HASS Concentration Form, simplifying this process for both students and Concentration Advisors.

In the online version, the proposal and completion forms have been merged into one form with two sections.  Students access and submit the form for approval twice – first to propose the subjects, and then later to confirm completion of the Concentration. When a student submits the form, it is automatically routed to the appropriate Concentration Advisor for review.  The Concentration Advisor can approve it or return it to the student for revision. Throughout this process, email notifications ensure students are aware of how the process is progressing and Advisors are aware of outstanding reviews. While the process has been streamlined, students are still required to discuss their plan and subject choices with the Concentration Advisor throughout the process.

Benefits of moving the HASS Concentration Form online:

  • The online system eliminates paper – no printing costs and no need to file, save, and manage paper.
  • Students no longer need to distribute multiple copies of the paper form to multiple locations.
  • Students no longer need to obtain a copy of their grade report and status of registration; the system automatically provides this information to the Concentration Advisor.
  • Concentration Advisors and HASS Administrators will be able to better track students in their HASS fields with reporting tools.
  • The online system eliminates data entry for the Office of the HASS Requirement.
  • The online system provides reporting tools and bulk email for the Office of the HASS Requirement.

All undergraduates are required to submit the HASS Concentration Form as part of the HASS Requirement.

  • All students graduating after June 2015 will complete their HASS Concentration Form online.
  • Students graduating this academic year (September 2014, February 2015, and June 2015) will continue to complete this component of the HASS Requirement with paper HASS Concentration Forms.

To date, approximately 450 students have begun the transition from the paper form to the new online form.  With the HASS Concentration Proposal deadline for second-term juniors coming in early February, the Office of the HASS Requirement will begin to email reminders out to students by the end of November. We anticipate well over 1,000 forms in the system during the spring. The Office of the HASS Requirement is also planning for an assessment of the project for spring term. Students, faculty, and staff should email hcf-help@mit.edu with any questions or feedback.  

The digitization of paper forms and petitions is one of the priorities of MIT’s Education Systems Roadmap.  The goal is to eliminate the need to physically manage and track paper and introduce more efficient processes. The HASS Concentration Form is the second of four high-impact forms that were prioritized for digitization: Add/Drop, HASS Concentration, Late Add/Drop and the Graduate Student Petition. Both online Add/Drop and the HASS Concentration Form are now deployed, while development continues on the other forms.