Subjects

The Department offers many subjects for undergraduates and graduates alike. These are broken down into core, specialized and research subjects. Each year the Department offers 25 undergraduate and more than 90 graduate subjects of instruction from which each student designs, with faculty guidance, an individual program of study that matches his or her interests and experiences. 

Many of the courses developed by DUSP faculty are provided free to the public through MIT's Open CourseWare site.

Spring 2015 Graduate Conflict Chart

Please note the following subjects with special schedules:

Spring 2015 Partial Term, 1st six weeks of term:

11.237 The Theory of Participatory Action Research (PAR),
11.344 Innovative Project Delivery in the Public and Private Sectors
11.432 Real Estate Capital Markets
11.523 Fundamentals of Spatial Database Management

Spring 2015 Partial Term, 2nd six weeks of term:

11.434 Tools for Analysis: Design for Real Estate and Infrastructure Development
11.524 Advanced Geographic Information Systems Project

Specific Dates:

11.S951 Regional Ocean and Coastal Zone Planning and Management Working Group meets on 2/9, 2/23, 3/9, 4/6, 5/4

instructors
units
4-0-8U
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (5-217)
prerequisites
description

Examines how the struggle among competing advocates shapes the outputs of government. Considers how conditions become problems for government to solve, why some political arguments are more persuasive than others, why some policy tools are preferred over others, and whether policies achieve their goals.

instructors
units
2-0-7U
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Seminar on the history of selected features of the physical environment of urban America. Among the features considered are parks, cemeteries, tenements, suburbs, zoos, skyscrapers, department stores, supermarkets, and amusement parks. Focuses on readings and discussions.

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (2:00-3:30) (4-253)
prerequisites
description

Readings and discussions focusing on a series of short-term events that shed light on American politics, culture, and social organization. The events studied in 2006 were the Boston Tea Party of 1773; the crisis at Boston over the case of Anthony Burns, an escaped slave, in 1854; the Homestead strike of 1892; and the student uprisings at Columbia University in 1968.

instructors
Nicholas Ashford
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (3:30-5:00) (E51-057)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to important issues in contemporary environmental law, policy, and economics. Discusses the roles and interactions of Congress, federal agencies, state governments, and the courts in dealing with environmental problems.

instructors
Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MWF (3:30-5:00) (N51-310)
prerequisites
description

Issues in international development, appropriate technology and project implementation addressed through lectures, case studies, guest speakers and laboratory exercises. Students form project teams to partner with community organizations in developing countries, and formulate plans for an optional IAP site visit.

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (56-154)
prerequisites
description

One of two introductory subjects on teaching and learning science and mathematics in a variety of K-12 settings. Topics include education and media, education reform, the history of education, simulations, games, and the digital divide.

instructors
Reen Gibb
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) (1-134)
prerequisites
description

Concentrates on core set of skills and knowledge necessary for teaching in secondary schools. Topics include classroom management, student behavior and motivation, curriculum design, educational reform, and the teaching profession. Classroom observation is a key component.

instructors
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30), F (1:00-2:00) (8-205, 10-401)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on financing tools and program models to support local economic development. Provides an overview of private capital markets and financing sources to understand capital market imperfections that constrain economic development, business accounting, financial statement analysis, federal economic development programs, and public finance tools.

instructors
units
2-0-10 U/G
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Provides a rigorous and critical introduction to the history, foundation, structure, and operation of the human rights movement. Focuses on key ideas, actors, methods and sources, and critically evaluates the field.

instructors
David Hsu
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Examines efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions to create, finance, and regulate infrastructure and energy technologies from a variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives. Explores how an energy crisis can be an opportunity for making fundamental changes to improve collapsing infrastructure technologies.

instructors
Jim Buckley
units
4-1-7G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Introduces the profession of urban and regional planning. Emphasizes the key sensibilities necessary for effective planning practice as well as professional writing and oral communication skills.

instructors
units
2-0-2G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30), H2 (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Introduces applications of microeconomic theory to planning problems including urban form and structure, government's role in urban settings and problems of housing finance.

instructors
units
3-0-5G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30), H1 (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Introduces basic economic analysis for planning students including the functioning of markets, the allocation of scarce resources among competing uses, profit maximizing behavior in different market structures. Course illustrates theory with contemporary economic issues.

instructors
units
2-2-2G / H1
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00) Lecture, M,W,R (5:00-7:00) Lab (9-354, Lec, W31-301, Lab)
prerequisites
description

Practical introduction to spatial analysis and geographic information systems (GIS). Examines how geography is represented digitally and how nonrandom distributions of phenomena as diverse as poverty and scenic resources can be better understood by examining their spatial characteristics.

instructors
Janelle Knox-Hayes
units
3-0-9G
schedule
MW (10:00-11:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Develops skills in research design for policy analysis and planning. Emphasizes the logic of the research process and its constituent elements. Topics include philosophy of science, question formulation, hypothesis generation and theory construction, data collection techniques (e.g. experimental, survey, interview), ethical issues in research, and research proposal preparation.

instructors
Dayna Cunnigham, Lawrence Susskind
units
3-0-3G
schedule
TTH (5:00-6:30), Partial Term (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to the theory of action research and more generally to competing ideas about the uses of social research to promote social change.  Focus will be on the epistemological foundations for action research, knowledge generation in action research, the role of the “friendly outsider,” action science and organizational learning, participatory evaluation and arguments for

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Examines both the structure of cities and ways they can be changed. Includes historical forces that have produced cities, models of urban analysis, contemporary theories of urban design, implementation strategies. Core lectures supplemented by discussion sessions focusing on student work and field trips.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
M (2:00-5:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Examines the urban environment as a natural phenomenon, human habitat, medium of expression, and forum for action. Subject has two related, major themes: how ideas of nature influence the way cities are perceived, designed, built, and managed; and how natural processes and urban form interact and the consequences of these for human health safety and welfare. Enrollment limited. 

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
W (2:00-6:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Explores photography as a disciplined way of seeing, or investigating urban landscapes and expressing ideas. Readings, observations, and photographs form the basis of discussions on light, detail, place, poetics, narrative, and how photography can inform design and planning. Enrollment limited.

instructors
units
4-2-9G
schedule
W (6:00-9:00), F (9:00-12:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

The Urban Design Skills course introduces urban planning students to methods for observing, interpreting, representing, and transforming the urban environment.

instructors
units
0-12-9G / PRACTICUM
schedule
TR (1:00-6:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

The design of urban environments. Strategies for change in large areas of cities, to be developed over time, involving different actors. Fitting forms into natural, man-made, historical, and cultural contexts; enabling desirable activity patterns; conceptualizing built form; providing infrastructure and service systems; guiding the sensory character of development.

instructors
John Kennedy
units
2-0-4 / H2
schedule
R (3:00-5:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Explains the role of the entrepreneur in the built environment using case studies to outline different steps in developing real estate, construction, architectural and related enterprises. Emphasizes strategic marketing and implementation of the plan in the development of these businesses. Addresses the progression of an idea, from an opportunity to a sustainable business.

instructors
units
3-0-6G
schedule
R (6:00-9:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Studies key issues of principal development- phase agreements, through the lens of the real estate developer, in connection with the site con- trol, entitlement, capitalization, and construction phases of a real estate development venture.

instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
T (1:00-5:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Examines the fundamentals of real estate development products, including residential, hotel, office, research and development/lab, and retail uses. Includes faculty lectures, guest presentations, and field trips to local case study projects. Prepares MSRED candidates for the spring Real Estate Development Studio. Core requirement for MSRED candidates.

instructors
Terry Szold, Susan Silberberg
units
3-0-9G / PRACTICUM
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Seminar and fieldwork on strategies of planning and control for growth and land use, chiefly at the municipal level. Growth and its local consequences; land use planning approaches; implementation tools including innovative zoning and regulatory techniques, physical design, and natural systems integration. Projects arranged with small teams serving municipal clients.

instructors
Michael Golay
units
3-1-8G
schedule
TR (3:00-5:00) (32-155)
prerequisites
description

Assessment of current and potential future energy systems. Covers resources, extraction, conversion, and end-use technologies, with emphasis on meeting 21st-century regional and global energy needs in a sustainable manner.

instructors
Susan Solomon
units
3-0-9G
schedule
M (3:00-6:00) (54-824)
prerequisites
description

Examines the role of science in the U.S. environmental policymaking process. Part I examines the methods by which scientists learn about the natural world; the treatment of science by experts, advocates, the media, and the public; and the way science is used in legislative, administrative and judicial decision making.

instructors
units
Arranged
schedule
W (2:00-5:00) (5-216)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on water in environmental planning, policy, and design. Draws together faculty and students who are working on water-related research projects to develop and maintain a current perspective on the field from the site to metropolitan and international scales. Limited to 15.

instructors
J. Phillip Thompson, Justin Steil
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

 

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Explores the policy tools and planning techniques used to formulate and implement housing strategies at local, state and federal levels.

instructors
units
3-0-6G
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on the connection (or not) between mind (theory) and matter (lived experience). Examines basic tenets of classical and recent political economic theories and their explication in ideas of market economies, centrally planned economies, social market economies, and co-creative economies.

instructors
Gloria Schuck
units
3-0-3G / H1
schedule
MW (10:30-12:00) (9-357)
prerequisites
description

Designed to help students deepen their understanding of leadership and increase self-awareness. They examine authentic leadership styles and create goals and a learning plan to develop their capabilities. They also participate in activities to strengthen their "leadership presence" - the ability to authentically connect with people's hearts and minds.

instructors
units
4-0-8G
schedule
MW (4:00-5:30) Lec, M (5:30-7:00) Rec (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Concepts and techniques for analyzing financial decisions in property development and investment. Topics: leasing and property income streams, pro forma analysis, equity valuation, tax analysis, options, risk, and the financial structuring of real property ownership.

instructors
units
4-0-8G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) Lec, M (9:00-10:30) Rec (4-270 Lec, 9-354 Rec)
prerequisites
description

Develops an understanding of the economic factors that shape and influence the markets for real property. Includes an analysis of housing as well as commercial real estate, and covers demographic analysis, regional growth, construction cycles, urban land markets and location theory. Exercises and modeling techniques for measuring and predicting property demand, supply, vacancy and prices.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30), F (1:00-2:00) (8-205, 10-401)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on financing tools and program models to support local economic development. Provides an overview of private capital markets and financing sources to understand capital market imperfections that constrain economic development, business accounting, financial statement analysis, federal economic development programs, and public finance tools.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
M (12:30-3:30) (E51-165)
prerequisites
description

Survey of the history of efforts to apply scientific methods and technological tools to solve social and political problems, with a focus on the United States since 1850. Topics include: city planning, natural resource management, public education, economic development, quantification and modeling in the social and policy sciences, technology transfer, and political economies of expertise.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
W (4:00-6:30) (E51-376)
prerequisites
description

The Schumpeterian notion of technological innovation as "the engine of growth" is being challenged as the globalization of trade is increasingly seen as the driving force of industrial economies.

instructors
Amy Smith
units
3-2-7U/G
schedule
MWF (3:30-5:00) (N51-310)
prerequisites
description

Issues in international development, appropriate technology and project implementation addressed through lectures, case studies, guest speakers and laboratory exercises. Students form project teams to partner with community organizations in developing countries, and formulate plans for an optional IAP site visit.

instructors
David Hsu
units
3-0-9U/G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Examines efforts in developing and advanced nations and regions to create, finance, and regulate infrastructure from a variety of method- ological and disciplinary perspectives. Explores how an energy crisis can be an opportunity for making fundamental changes to improve col- lapsing infrastructure networks. Introduces the challenges to modern society concerning energy security.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Examines urban development challenges in conflict cities. Case studies used to examine the basic infrastructural, governance, social, and economic dilemmas facing citizens and local officials.

instructors
units
2-2-2G / H2
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00) Lecture, M,W,R (5:00-7:00) Lab (9-354, Lec, W31-301, Lab)
prerequisites
description

An introduction to geographic information systems (GIS) as applied to urban and regional planning, community development, and local government. Emphasis on learning GIS technology and spatial analysis techniques through extensive hands-on exercises using real-world data sets such as the US census of population and housing.

instructors
units
2-4-6G
schedule
M (6:00-8:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Advanced seminar extends computer and analytic skills developed in the other subjects in this sequence into a research environment. Students present a structured discussion of a journal article representative of current research in Planning Decisions Support Systems, and complete an approved short research project.

instructors
units
2-1-9G
schedule
M (2:00-4:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Focuses on the theory and practice of transportation system finance, examining the range of relevant topics including basic public finance, politics, institutional structures, externalities, pricing, and the role of advanced technologies.

instructors
Frederick Salvucci, Michael Murga
units
3-0-9G
schedule
F (2:00-5:00) (5-217)
prerequisites
description

Studies the history, policy, practice and politics of urban transportation.

instructors
Carolina Osorio
units
3-1-8G
schedule
TR (10:30-12:00) Lec, R (4:00-5:00) Rec (1-390 Lec, 1-150 Rec)
prerequisites
description

Problem-motivated introduction to methods, models and tools for the analysis and design of transportation networks including their planning, operations and control. Capacity of critical elements of transportation networks. Traffic flows and deterministic and probabilistic delay models.

instructors
Moshe Ben-Akiva
units
3-1-8G
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) Lec, F (11:00-12:00) Rec (1-390 Lec, 1-390 Rec)
prerequisites
description

Covers the key principles governing transportation systems planning and management. Introduces the microeconomic concepts central to transportation systems. Topics include economic theories of the firm, consumer, and market, demand models, discrete choice analysis, cost models and production functions, and pricing theory.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (56-167)
prerequisites
description

First subject in the Environmental Policy and Planning sequence. Reviews philosophical debates concerning growth and scarcity vs. deep ecology. Examines the ongoing policy debate concerning "command-and-control" vs. market-oriented approaches to regulation. Considers the debate regarding the importance of expertise vs. indigenous knowledge.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (3:30-5:00) (E51-057)
prerequisites
description

Reviews and analyzes federal and state regulation of air and water pollution and hazardous wastes. Analyzes pollution as an economic problem and the failure of markets. Emphasizes use of legal mechanisms and alternative approaches (such as economic incentives and voluntary approaches) to control pollution and to encourage chemical accident and pollution prevention.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
Restricted to first-year MCP and SPURS students.
description

Studies interaction between planners and institutions at different scales, from local to global/transnational. Emphasizes a historical and institutional approaches to development planning. Includes an overview of theories of development, state, organizational arrangements, and implementation mechanisms.

instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
R (11:00-12:30) Seminar, W (12:30-2:00) Debate (9-450B (Seminar), 9-450A+B (Debate))
prerequisites
description

Brings together DUSP faculty and others to debate key issues in applied planning theory. Sessions focus on questions of livability, territoriality, governance, and reflective practice. Subject is required for first-year DUSP PhD candidates, but the six debate sessions are open to the full department community. 

instructors
units
2-0-4
schedule
T (3:00-5:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Cities are massive, interconnected, complicated systems, but luckily there are techniques to observe and make sense of them.  In particular, in the seminar we will get to know Greater Boston and the field of urban planning by thinking about urban systems and urban data.

instructors
Harvey Michaels
units
3-1-8
schedule
TR (1:00-2:30) (56-154)
prerequisites
description

Energy management is a growing segment of the sustainability industry, applying science and business innovations to improving the efficiency of home and building energy use, To address climate change, among our greatest challenges, scientists agree that energy management is the largest single component of an achievable solution.  This course explores key dimensions of energy managem

instructors
units
2-0-7G
schedule
W (5:00-7:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

The course will explore, using a case study and practical application methods, different strategies and tools that are being employed around the world to respond to the growing phenomenon of displacement and evictions in the context of rapid development and urbanization.

instructors
Bish Sanyal, Cauam Ferreira Cardoso
units
2-0-10G
schedule
M (10:00-12:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

This is an advanced seminar which will analyze the effectiveness of developmental and planning theories from the perspective of practitioners who implement projects and policies
based on such theories. The course will be organized around twelve implementation puzzles which should be considered for re-theorizing both developmental and planning

instructors
Bob Simha, Joost Bonsen
units
schedule
T (4:00-6:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Understanding MIT is a special seminar on the challenges of designing & building research university campuses and crafting conditions for a supportive & vibrant learning community. We invite the senior academic, administrative, and trustee leadership of MIT to share with us what they do to help the Institute stay vital in the short, medium, and long term.

instructors
units
5-0-10 / PRACTICUM
schedule
R (2:00-7:00) (3-401)
prerequisites
description

Provides students with an opportunity to do team projects in the Dudley neighborhood as part of a ongoing commitment of DUSP to work with the DSNI on projects ranging from the building design, housing, energy, food systems, education, economic cooperatives, community arts and citizen engagement.

instructors
units
1-0-2
schedule
F (12:00-1:30) (9-455)
prerequisites
Permission of the Instructor
description

This seminar dissects ten projects from head to toe to illustrate how research ideas are initiated, framed, analyzed, evidenced, written, presented, criticized, revised, extended, and hopefully published, quoted and applied! In parallel the course engages students in designing and executing their own transportation research.

instructors
Phillip Clay, Mariana Arcaya
units
3-0-3G
schedule
MW (9:00-11:00) (66-148)
prerequisites
description
instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
MW (9:00-11:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Required subject for MCP students.  Students attend one session per week. 

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
F (12:00-3:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

Designed for students writing a thesis in Urban Studies and Planning or Architecture. Develop research topics, review relevant research and scholarship, frame research questions and arguments, choose an appropriate methodology for analysis, and draft introductory and methodology sections.