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The Graduate School, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Office of the Registrar


HASS Core Requirements

HASS Core Requirements

Background: Regardless of a student’s major (or dual-major), all Rensselaer undergraduates must satisfy core requirements in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (the HASS Core Requirements) and School of Science (the Math/Science Core Requirements) to meet their graduation requirements. This document provides guidance on how to satisfy the HASS Core Requirements. Additionally, a link to a requirements checklist is available at the bottom of this page.

In general, all Rensselaer undergraduates must complete (with a passing grade) 24 credits of HASS courses. This is typically accomplished by taking a combination of six 4-credit courses. Achieving the 24-credit total is slightly different for students in majors in the School of Engineering (see note 1) and the School of Architecture (see note 2).

Note 1: Engineering majors must complete 22 credits of HASS courses in addition to a three-course sequence of 2-credit professional development (PD) courses entitled PD1, PD2, and PD3. PD2 counts as 2-credits toward the HASS Core.

Note 2:Architecture majors must complete 20 credits of HASS courses. Four credits of the HASS core requirements are embedded within the Architectural Genealogy sequence: ARCH 4100 and ARCH 4110.

Specifics of the Requirement

Distribution Requirement: Students must complete a minimum of 8 credits of courses within the Humanities, and at least 8 credits of courses within the Social Sciences (see Table below). The remaining 8 credits are satisfied by any combination of Humanities, Social Sciences, or interdisciplinary courses (courses with the designation IHSS). Note that IHSS courses can be counted as either humanities or social science courses.

Humanities and Social Science Course Departmental Prefix Designations
Humanities Social Science
ARTS (Arts; Music) COGS (Cognitive Science)
COMM (Communication & Media) ECON (Economics)
LANG (Language) PSYC (Psychology)
PHIL (Philosophy) STSS (Anthropology)
STSH (History) STSS (Sociology)
STSH (Science & Technology)
WRIT (Writing)
IHSS (Interdisciplinary HASS) IHSS (Interdisciplinary HASS)

Depth Requirement: Students must take at least two courses with the same course departmental prefix designation, one of which is above the 1000 level. Examples: PSYC 1200 + PSYC 2220; WRIT 2310 + WRIT 2320; ECON 1200 + ECON 4130.

Communication Intensive Requirement: Students must take at least two courses designated as Communication Intensive or “CI”. One CI course must be taken in the HASS core and one in the student’s major. Courses designated as CI are accessed via the SIS homepage or through the APPROVED COMMUNICATION INTENSIVE COURSE LISTING

4000-level Requirement: : Students must take at least one 4000-level HASS course.


  1. A maximum of three 1000-level courses can be counted toward the HASS core requirement. Any additional 1000-level HASS courses will be counted as “Free Electives”.
  2. A maximum of 8 transfer or AP credits can be counted toward the HASS Core.

Checklist for HASS Core Requirements