I don't like math or science

<p>Though I'm not horrible at either math or science, they're not my thing. I know that I want to study writing and language and linguistics, and MIT's program is one of the strongest in the world. Would it be absurd to apply there well aware of what I want to study? Would I be restricting myself?
It's possible (though I believe unlikely) that I'll have a change of heart and choose to major in something other than English/Comp. Lit, but I seriously doubt that what I'll eventually focus on will be related in any way to MIT's specialty. </p>

<p>Basically, my question is: would a writer be happy in a very math/science-y environment?</p>

<p>Well the main issue with your plan is that MIT has pretty stict general education requirements. You HAVE TO take chem, physics, and calculus in order to graduate. So unless you feel like you would be happy in a place where you have to take a course (or three) in something you don't like, MIT may not be the best place for you. Check out the GERs on the MIT website though just to make sure.</p>

<p>I knew a guy at MIT who majored in writing (his only major,) and started a newspaper and wrote most of its articles. I think he was pretty happy. He now works for Forbes. </p>

<p>However, it's more likely that a writer would be happy at MIT with strong math and science bent. (I'd bet the guy who I mentioned did as well.)</p>

<p>I was very strong in english and the humanities, and even with a strong math and science interest, being at MIT bothered me a little. I knew other artsy people that were the same. This is not to say that the humanities classes weren't good. There is a techy vibe there which I wasn't completely comfortable with. When you learn, you are "tooling," as in strapping on more and more tools with which to process information. It's a different philosophy than Aristotle might have espoused, where in the old Greek ethic philosophy and math/science were intertwined. It's possible I just chose the wrong major, though, because engineering has less philosophical-type thinking than say, physics.</p>

<p>If you don't even have an interest in math/science, a strong interest, then I think MIT is the wrong choice.</p>

<p>You'll have to complete a year of theoretical physics and a year of calculus. You'll also need a semester of biology and chemistry. You're required to take 2 restricted electives in science beyond that, as well as a lab. That's over a year of science coursework.</p>

<p>You'll also be in an incredibly science-driven environment, where people will talk about math/science/engineering quite a bit, arguing the merits of some theory or bouncing science-y project ideas off each other.</p>

<p>I don't know how much you like/dislike science, but even if you can get through the year+ of science requirements, you need to decide if you'll thrive in a very science-driven environment.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice. I'm fine with completing a few requirements in science/math, but I really am not interested in such an intense focus.
No Chomsky for me then!</p>

<p>Kind of along the lines of what collegealum said -- as a sanity check, even in a school that does NOT have a science/math bent, it is common to see people doubling in mathematics and linguistics. I imagine this might be more common at MIT. I don't know much about linguistics, but it is possible the teaching style may reflect something about the crowd.</p>

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There is a techy vibe there which I wasn't completely comfortable with.

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<p>I second this idea actually; there is something incredibly different between interacting with most engineers who like literature and people whose primary interest is literature. My interest in aspects of the humanities is also quite strong, so I have found myself considering this distinction.</p>

<p>There is, however, some merit to considering: what if you don't go to MIT? Unless you're going to some school that has a really strong undergraduate humanities interest, you may find that instead of techie humanities students, you will interact with a lot of humanities students who take it as the "soft option" compared to a major like engineering. Of course I mean this with due respect - I personally do not think one area of study is actually more intrinsically tough (and indeed, this seems to hold up in the more elite programs).</p>

<p>Another comment: it is good not to be misled by strong departmental rankings in a subject area. Departmental rankings do not necessarily reflect the level of undergraduate interest or proficiency in the given area.</p>

<p>The existence of a formal major is not always important; for instance, MIT doesn't have biomedical engineering, but that's irrelevant given that you can do this by taking an engineering major and taking electives in the field.</p>

<p>However, I really have no idea what an undergrad interested in linguistics would take. As far as I know, there is no undergrad major, while obviously the grad program is great. What would a linguistics person major in? This has to be a consideration.</p>

<p>^There's an undergrad major in course 24 -- a linguistics track and a philosophy track. </p>

<p>For the OP, you might consider applying to Harvard, as Harvard students are permitted to cross-register for MIT classes. This would be a way to benefit from the MIT linguistics faculty and coursework without actually attending MIT.</p>