About HSSP

Interested in teaching for HSSP? Here's the fine print.

What is HSSP?

HSSP is a 5- to 8-weekend program held twice each year by ESP, once in the spring and once in the summer. About 300-500 students from 7th through 12th grades visit MIT each weekend to take classes about various subjects. Students attend the same classes throughout the program. Summer HSSP runs from July to August. Summer HSSP runs from July to August.

Who can teach for HSSP?

Most of our classes are taught by small groups of MIT undergraduate or graduate students, although there are often non-MIT-affiliated teachers. There is no geographic restriction on teachers this year; teachers can teach from anywhere.

The extended duration of HSSP and the requirements of the MIT Minors Policy make it ideal for classes to be taught by small groups of teachers. If you are teaching by yourself, please expect your class to require additional time and effort to fulfill the minors policy. Ultimately, any adult who is able to fulfill our program policies may teach for HSSP. We do not require any prior teaching experience.

What exactly must we do to teach?

  • Come up with ideas for your class(es) and register before our deadline.
  • Make sure that you fulfill the MIT Minors Policy.
  • Familiarize yourself with our funding and reimbursement policy for class supplies.
  • Attend an informal teacher interview (more information below).
  • Look out for our emails with further details!

What can we teach?

Almost anything you want! STEM. Humanities. Arts and music. Games and puzzles. Hobbies and crafts. Summer HSSP 2023 will be hybrid this year. Students will attend classes virtually while teachers have the option of teaching on-campus. If you're not sure what to teach, check out either the Summer HSSP 2022 Class Catalog or the Spring HSSP 2022 Class Catalog for ideas. Also feel free to reach out to summer-hssp@mit.edu if you have questions about what to teach.

Class lengths can be 1 or 1.5 hours per weekend, and class sizes can range from a small workshop to a giant lecture.

Who can we teach?

HSSP has students ranging from 7th graders to 12th graders. You may limit your class to any subset of our grade range at your discretion. We are often especially short on middle school classes, and we encourage classes that target the lower end of the grade range. If you'd like help figuring out how to adjust your class idea to a younger audience, let us know!

How do we obtain class supplies?

ESP offers generous funding for class supplies. You are automatically granted $50 per class (for the duration of the program, not per weekend). You can also request additional funds via email; we'll gladly accommodate reasonable requests of any amount, but you must ask us first!

Please read our page on class supplies and reimbursements for the full details on our policies. In particular, note that MIT does not allow us to reimburse tax, so please look over the information on making your purchases tax-exempt.

How does the the teacher interview work?

All HSSP classes require a brief, informal teacher interview. After teacher registration closes, we will email you with more information about interview logistics. The interview is an opportunity for us to get to know your class and help you teach it better! Please come prepared with a rough syllabus of your class (e.g. what's intended to be covered on each weekend), as well as any questions or concerns you have for us. Remember that the interview is meant to be an informal event—we want you to understand what teaching for HSSP is like, and we're here to help you make your class the best that it can be.

What does HSSP stand for?

When the program was first run in 1957, it was called the Summer Studies Program, or SSP, and it was for high schoolers only. Several years later, the program also began running in spring and fall, so the name was changed to High School Studies Program, or HSSP. Eventually, we opened the program to middle schoolers as well as high schoolers, so the name High School Studies Program was no longer accurate. By that point, the acronym "HSSP" was well-known in the community, so kept the HSSP acronym but stopped using the full "High School Studies Program" name. Because of that, "HSSP" actually doesn't stand for anything any more!

In the past decade or so, HSSP directors have given each program a different backronym, on which the program art is usually based. Recent backronyms have included "Highly Suspect Sloth Party" (Spring 2020), "Highly Self-Similar Sharks on a Plane" (Summer 2020), "Hardly Serious Space Pandas" (Summer 2021), "Hawaiian Sweet and Sour Pineapples" (Spring 2022), and Hungry Squirrels Scrutinizing Pinecones (Summer 2022).

Additional Information

Don’t know what to teach? Check out What Should I Teach? for suggestions. You're also welcome to browse old class catalogs! Check out either the Spring HSSP 2022 Class Catalog or the Summer HSSP 2022 Class Catalog for ideas. Also feel free to reach out to summer-hssp@mit.edu if you have questions about what to teach online. Want more information on how to teach? Check out Teaching Advice for some teaching tips. Feel free to visit Logistics to find out more about how ESP can help you!

Sign me up!

Return to the main page to sign up when registration is open. If you have further questions about Spring or Summer HSSP, feel free to send us an email at spring-hssp@mit.edu or summer-hssp@mit.edu, respectively.

Last modified on May 07, 2023 at 08:46 p.m.