"Teach Anything" Policy

Where "teach anything" does not apply

We say you can teach anything for our programs, and to a significant extent, we mean it. We want classes that push boundaries, explore controversial topics, and go outside of what a traditional school system can offer. That said, there are a few things you can't do, or where we will ask to review your syllabus if you're skirting the edge of what we can allow.

This list is not intended to be a legalistic or strictly exhaustive one; we know you can come up with things that don't fit into this policy that we can't allow, but this covers nearly all of the reasons we reject classes based on content.

Teaching how to make very dangerous or illegal things

For legal and safety reasons, you cannot teach your students how to make illegal, explosive, highly corrosive, or infectious materials. You are, however, allowed to explore exciting and controversial topics, and discuss the nature and structure of such substances. For example, "How to make LSD at home" is not okay, but "The biochemistry of hallucinogens" is fine.

Encouraging students to break the law

We encourage classes that explore the boundaries of what is legal in our society (for example, "Why people deal drugs"). However, we cannot support classes which actively encourage students to break the law (such as "How to deal drugs and not get caught").

Religious proselytizing

ESP is a nonprofit organization with no religious affiliation. We allow and encourage our teachers to explore controversial political and religious topics, as long as they do so in a manner that does not make students feel uncomfortable or unable to disagree. Thus, classes that explain customs and beliefs of religions are fine (e.g. "Early Christian History" or "Intro to the Baha'i Faith"), but we cannot allow any religious proselytizing or recruitment, nor any disrespect towards a person's religious affiliations or beliefs (or lack thereof).


MIT and ESP are committed to equal opportunity in education for all. ESP does not discriminate on any characteristic listed in MIT's non-discrimination statement, nor can we allow teachers to discriminate. For instance, classes only open to students of a certain gender, race, or religion are not allowed, nor are classes that would make such groups or students feel discriminated against, marginalized, or objectified.


We do not allow Splash classes to be primarily for the purpose of advertising. While we support teachers encouraging students to continue learning beyond the classroom, including in organizations of which the teacher is a member, Splash classes should not be an opportunity to sell products to students, nor should they unduly pressure students to join outside organizations.

Last modified on May 06, 2021 at 09:13 p.m.