The issue of the GIRs has been debated by faculty and the administration for decades with some minor changes over the years, mostly in the area of the humanities. In terms of the science GIRs, while there has been some suggestions for their elimination (most frequently chem and bio), most such proposals were rejected. These classes are prerequisites for a number of majors and taking them out of the GIRs would force departments to integrate these classes into their programs. It would also force students to choose their majors freshman year which is against the philosophy of MIT which encourages exploration. Most importantly, it would largely eliminate the shared freshman experience which is one the most unique features of an MIT undergraduate education. My D was no physics fan but going through the 8.01/8.02 sequence with all her friends made the experience much more bearable. Finally, MIT prides itself on providing its students with a broad scientific background essential to the understanding of any increasingly complex environment. Because of these various factors, combined with the fact that very few MIT students are pure HASS majors (most HASS majors are double majors in a science or engineering field), it is unlikely the current approach will change. There has actually been discussions about expanding the GIRs to include at least one computer science or introductory engineering class.
Last edited by cellardweller; 08-07-2012 at 11:08 AM.