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 Conflict Chart

Please note the following subjects with special schedules:

Spring 2016 Partial Term, 1st six weeks of term:

11.237 The Practice of Participatory Action Research (PAR) (starts the 2nd week of classes)
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 2016 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

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
Prereq: 11.002J; Coreq: 14.01
description

Provides students with an introduction to public policy analysis. Examines various approaches to policy analysis by considering the concepts, tools, and methods used in economics, political science, and other disciplines. Students apply and critique these approaches through case studies of current public policy problems.

instructors
Cauam Ferreira Cardoso
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (1-246)
prerequisites
description

This course introduces undergraduates to the basic theory, institutional architecture, and practice of international development. We take an applied, interdisciplinary approach to some of the “big questions” in our field: What does development mean? Why are some countries persistently poorer than others?

instructors
Bruno Verdini
units
3-0-9U
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to negotiation strategies through theory and practice. Emphasizes a "hands-on" personal skill-building approach underpinned by foundational and cutting-edge research. Applications in government, business, nonprofit, multicultural, and interpersonal settings are examined.

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

Seminar on the history of institutions and institutional change in American cities from roughly 1850 to the present. Among the institutions to be looked at are political machines, police departments, courts, schools, prisons, public authorities, and universities. Focuses on readings and discussions.

instructors
Linda Shi, Michael Wilson
units
3-0-6U
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
description

This undergraduate course explores: (1) the origins of visionary urban ideas, (2) the political complexity of developing and implementing Big Plans, (3) their implications for social equity and the environment, and (4) the time and spatial scales by which to evaluate their impact.

11.125 Introduction to Education: Understanding and Evaluating Education
instructors
Shane Tutwiler
units
3-6-3U
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (5-217)
prerequisites
description

One of two introductory subjects on teaching and learning science and mathematics in a variety of K-12 settings. Topics include student misconceptions, formative assessment, standards and standardized testing, multiple intelligences, and educational technology.

instructors
units
3-6-3U
schedule
TR (1:00-2:30) (5-134)
prerequisites
description

Explores how we learn from computer games and simulations, and delve into the process of building and testing their own simulations. First, students investigate the design and use of games and simulations in the classroom, and the research and development issues associated with desktop computer-based, handheld computer based and non-computer based media.

instructors
Greg Schwanbeck
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) (1-132)
prerequisites
description

Three subject sequence focusing on the theory and practice of K-12 classroom education. Subject concentrates on the theory and psychology associated with student learning. Topics include educational theory, educational psychology, and theories of learning. Classroom observation is a key component.

instructors
units
3-0-6U/H
schedule
T (3:00-5:00), R (7:00-10:00) Screening (9-451, 3-133)
prerequisites
description

Over the past 150 years, the world has moved from one characterized by rural settlement patterns and provincial lifestyles to one dominated by urbanization, industrialization, immigration, and globalization.

instructors
units
3-0-9U
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (1-132)
prerequisites
description

Policy makers and analysts around the world are facing difficult policy decisions everyday.  For instance, should informal settlements in a city center be relocated to the urban fringe?  If not, what are the alternatives?  If so, would the relocation project make sense financially, socioeconomically, and politically?  Similarly, should municipalities charge user fees instead o

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
M (12:00-3:00) (4-261)
prerequisites
description

Surveys youth political participation in the US since the early 1800s. Investigates trends in youth political activism during specific historical periods, as well as what difference youth media production and technology use (e.g., radio, music, automobiles, ready-made clothing) made in determining the course of events.

instructors
units
3-6-3U
schedule
M (2:30-5:00) (Lab), MW (2:30-4:00) (Lecture) (W31-301 (Lab), 9-251 (Lecture))
prerequisites
description

An introduction to the research and empirical analysis of urban planning issues using geographic information systems. Extensive hands-on exercises provide experience with various techniques in spatial analysis and querying databases.

instructors
units
4-2-6G
schedule
MW (11:00-12:30), WR (5:00-6:30) Recitation , F (10:30-12:00) Recitation (9-354, 5-134 W & R, 9-451 on F)
prerequisites
Restricted to first-year MCP students or Permission of instructor
description

Develops logical, empirically based arguments using statistical techniques and analytic methods. covers elementary statistics, probability, and other types of quantitative reasoning useful for description, estimation, comparison, and explanation. Emphasis on the use and limitations of analytical techniques in planning practice. Restricted to first-year MCP students.

instructors
units
3-3-6G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Surveys uses of qualitative methods in urban design and planning research and practice. Topics include observing environments, physical traces, and environmental behavior; asking questions; focused interviews; standardized questionnaires; use of written archival materials; use of visual materials, including photographs, new media, and maps; case studies; and comparative methods.

instructors
units
3-0-3G
schedule
TR (5:00-6:30) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to the practice of case study research and more generally to competing ideas about context-independent vs. context-dependent knowledge, arguments for and against generating theory on the basis of a single case, and problems of verification in participatory action research (i.e. disconfirming the researcher’s preconceptions).

instructors
units
3-0-6U/H
schedule
T (3:00-5:00), R (7:00-10:00) Movie (9-451, 3-133)
prerequisites
description

Over the past 150 years, the world has moved from one characterized by rural settlement patterns and provincial lifestyles to one dominated by urbanization, industrialization, immigration, and globalization.

instructors
Eric Klopfer, Jason Haas
units
3-6-3G
schedule
TR (1:00-2:30) (5-134)
prerequisites
description

Understand how we learn from computer games and simulations, and delve into the process of building and testing their own simulations. First, students explore the design and use of games and simulations in the classroom, and the research and development issues associated with desktop computer-based, handheld computer based and non-computer based media.

instructors
units
4-0-8G
schedule
MW (3:30-5:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Investigates social conflict and distributional disputes in the public sector. While theoretical aspects of conflict and consensus building are considered, focus is on the practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. Comparisons between unassisted and assisted negotiation are reviewed along with the techniques of facilitation and mediation.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
M (3:00-6:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Examines ways urban design contributes to distribution of political power and resources in cities. Investigates the nature of relations between built form and political purposes through close study of a wide variety of situations where public sector design commissions and planning processes have been clearly motivated by political pressures.

instructors
Dennis Frenchman, Steve Weikel
units
6-0-12H
schedule
MW (2:30-5:30), M (6:00-7:30) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on the synthesis of projects for the real estate development industry, including the integration of physical design and programming with finance and marketing. Interdisciplinary student teams analyze how to maximize value in large-scale, mixed use projects in the process of preparing professional development proposals, involving sites in US cities and internationally.

instructors
units
6-0-9G / PRACTICUM
schedule
TR (2:00-5:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Introduces the range of practical approaches involved in evaluating and planning sites within the context of natural and cultural systems. Develops the knowledge and skills to analyze and plan a site for development through assignments and a client-based project.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
W (2:00-5:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Examines the worldwide trends of increasing demographic complexity as it relates to the practice of planning and students’ own capabilities. Students will engage around topics of cultural competency, power analyses, and facilitative leadership through readings, guest speakers, and facilitative leadership training.

instructors
Carlo Ratti, Ricardo Alvarez
units
3-0-6H
schedule
F (10:00-1:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

The Digital Revolution is changing the way we live today as radically as the Industrial Revolution did almost two centuries ago. As urbanization accelerates across the world, digital media and information technologies hold huge potential for understanding, designing, and managing cities.

instructors
Lauren Jacobi
units
3-0-6 H / 3-0-9H
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (3-133)
prerequisites
4.252J, 11.001J, 11.301J, or permission of instructor
description

Why and how are cities made? What forces have shaped cities through time? And how has the physical urban form of the city structured power relations?

instructors
Brent D. Ryan, Rafi Segal
units
0-12-9G
schedule
TR (1:00-6:00) (Studio (3-405/3-405A))
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
units
2-0-7G
schedule
W (9:00-11:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Examines innovations in urban design practice occurring through the work of leading practitioners in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. Features evening or in-class lectures by major national and global practitioners in urban design.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
F (12:00-3:00) (10-485)
prerequisites
Permission of instructor
description

This workshop explores the relationships between landscape, ecology, and urbanism, and the theories, tactics, and workings of the field of Landscape Urbanism.  Topics will vary from year to year as Landscape Urbanism evolves. This year we question Landscape Urbanism’s ability to deal with issues of resiliency and climate change adaptation.

instructors
units
2-0-7G
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Examines the relationship between urban design ideals, urban design action, and the built environment through readings, discussions, presentations, and papers. Analyzes the diverse design ideals that influence cities and settlements, and investigates how urban designers use them to shape urban form.

instructors
C. Gordon
units
2-0-4H
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) First half of the term (9-354)
prerequisites
Permission of instructor
description

Develops a strong strategic understanding of how best to deliver various types of projects in the built environment. Examines the compatibility of various project delivery methods, consisting of organizations, contracts, and award methods, with certain types of projects and owners.

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

Building on 11.351, studies key issues of principal asset management agreements, through the lens of the real estate developer/investor, in connection with the value creation, financing and restructuring phases of a real estate venture. Value creation phase focuses on negotiating office and retail leases.

instructors
Walter Torous
units
3-0-6H
schedule
TR (1:00-2:30) (9-354)
prerequisites
15.426J, 15.401, or permission of instructor
description

Investigates the economics and finance of securitization, a practice that allows illiquid assets to be transformed into more liquid securities. Considers the basic mechanics of structuring deals for various asset-backed securities. Investigates the pricing of pooled assets, using Monte Carlo and other option pricing techniques, as well as various trading strategies used in these markets.

instructors
units
3-0-6H
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Presents a theory of comparative differences in international housing outcomes. Introduces institutional differences in the ways housing expenditures are financed, and the economic determinants of housing outcomes, such as construction costs, land values, housing quality, and ownership rates.

instructors
units
3-0-9H
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Analysis of local and state power to regulate land use and development. Particular emphasis on the evolution of planning and zoning regulations, and the perceived narrowing of the relationship between public improvements requirements and development impact.

instructors
T. Kochan
units
Arranged
schedule
R (4:00-7:00) (E62-350)
prerequisites
description

Examines opportunities and challenges involved in building and growing businesses that achieve high financial performance and returns to society. An anchor course for the social dimensions of sustainability and serves as an elective Sloans Sustainability Certificate program.

instructors
units
2-0-1H / PRACTICUM
schedule
()
prerequisites
description

Field-based Practicum in which 12 DUSP students selected by application will prepare for a two week stay in Malaysia during which they will work, under the close supervision of DUSP faculty and faculty at the Universiti of Teknologi of Malaysia(UTM) to assess the sustainable development efforts of regional development agencies in Penang, Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru.  The overa

instructors
Walter Torous
units
2-0-4H
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) First half of the term, Recitation T 5:30-7:00 (9-354)
prerequisites
11.431, 15.401, 15.402, or 15.407
description

The evolving organization and operation of real estate capital markets. Sources of real estate capital. Primary and secondary mortgage markets. The investment behavior of real estate assets. The development of REITs and securitized debt markets. Advanced pricing techniques for complex real estate securities. First half of the term subject. Prerequisites: 11.431, 15.401, 15.402, or 15.407

instructors
units
2-0-4G
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) Second half of the term, Recitation T 5:30-7:00 (9-354)
prerequisites
description

Introduction to analytical tools to support design and decision-making in real estate and infrastructure development. Particular focus on identifying and valuing sources of flexibility using real options, Monte-Carlo simulation, and other techniques from the field of engineering systems. Integrates economic and engineering perspectives, and is suitable for students with various backgrounds.

instructors
units
3-0-9G / PRACTICUM
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (3-401)
prerequisites
11.203, 11.220
description

Focuses on the policy tools and planning techniques used to formulate and implement local economic development strategies. Includes an overview of economic development theory, discussion of major policy areas and practices employed to influence local economic development, a review of analytic tools to assess local economies and how to formulate strategy.

instructors
Reinhard Goethert
units
3-0-6H
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (1-371)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Considers a new interdisciplinary paradigm of practice that regards dialogue among practitioners and users essential for efficacious and creative design and planning process. Focuses on non-traditional client groups: communities, the poor, and the generally excluded middle-income.

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

Investigates the use of social medial and digital technologies for planning and advocacy by working with actual planning and advocacy organizations to develop, implement, and evaluate prototype digital tools. Students use the development of their digital tools as a way to investigate new media technologies that can be used for planning.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
F (7:30-12:30) (Off Campus )
prerequisites
description

Introduction to core writings in urban sociology. Examines key theoretical paradigms that have comprised the field since its founding. Explores the nature and changing character of the city and the urban experience in the US and abroad, providing context for development and application of planning skills and sensibilities as well as urban research.

instructors
Susan Murcott
units
3-0-6
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (N51-350)
prerequisites
description

Focuses on disseminating water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) innovations in developing countries, especially among underserved communities. Structured around field-based learning, case studies, lectures and videos. Emphasis on core WASH principles, culture-specific solutions, appropriate and sustainable technologies, behavior change, social marketing and building partnerships.

instructors
units
3-0-9H
schedule
MW (9:30-11:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Water and sanitation services are increasingly inundated fields of both study and practice.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (10-401)
prerequisites
description

Examines the behavioral foundation for policy design, using urban transportation examples. Introduces multiple frameworks of understanding behavior, contrasting perspectives of classic economic theory with behavioral economics and social psychology, suggests corresponding policy interventions, and establishes a mapping between behavior, theory and policy. Presents a spectrum of instruments for

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (1-132)
prerequisites
description

Policy makers and analysts around the world are facing difficult policy decisions everyday.  For instance, should informal settlements in a city center be relocated to the urban fringe?  If not, what are the alternatives?  If so, would the relocation project make sense financially, socioeconomically, and politically?  Similarly, should municipalities charge user fees instead o

instructors
units
3-0-9H
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450A)
prerequisites
description

Examines globally relevant challenges of adequately and effectively attending to public sector responsibilities for basic services with limited resources.

instructors
units
2-2-2H
schedule
MW (2:30-4:00) (Lecture), M (2:30-5:00) (Lab) (W31-301 (Lab), 9-251 (Lecture))
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
3-3-6H
schedule
T (4:00-7:00) Lab, R (5:00-6:30) Lecture (W31-301 (Lab), 9-251 (Lecture))
prerequisites
description

Extends the computing and geographic information systems (GIS) skills developed in 11.520 to include spatial data management in client/server environments and advanced GIS techniques. First half covers the content of 11.523, introducing database management concepts, SQL (Structured Query Language), and enterprise-class database management software.

instructors
units
2-2-2H
schedule
T (4:00-7:00) Lab, R (5:00-6:30) Lecture (W31-301 (Lab), 9-251 (Lecture))
prerequisites
description

The fundamentals of database management systems as applied to spatial analysis. Includes extensive hands-on exercises using real-world planning data. Introduces database management concepts, SQL (Structured Query Language), and enterprise-class database software. Same content as first half of 11.521. First half of term. Prerequisites: 11.204 or permission of instructor

instructors
units
H
schedule
T (4:00-7:00) Lab, R (5:00-6:30) Lecture (W31-301 (Lab), 9-251 (Lecture))
prerequisites
description

Learning and utilizing advanced geographic information system techniques in studio/lab setting with real-world client problem and complex digital spatial data infrastructure. Projects typically use the client and infrastructure setting for 11.521. Credit cannot also be received for 11.521 in the same semester. Second half of term. Prerequisites: 11.523 or permission of instructor

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (11:00-12:30) (5-234)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Focuses on the integration of land use and transportation planning, drawing from cases in both industrialized and developing countries. Reviews underlying theories, analytical techniques, and the empirical evidence of the land use-transportation relationship at the metropolitan, intra-metropolitan, and micro-scales.

instructors
Gabriel Sanchez Martinez
units
3-0-9H
schedule
TR (4:00-5:30) (1-150)
prerequisites
1.201 or permission of instructor
description

Discusses evolution and role of urban public transportation modes, systems and services, focusing on bus and rail. Describes technological characteristics and their impacts on capacity, service quality, and cost. Current practice and new methods for data collection and analysis, performance monitoring, route and network design, frequency determination, and vehicle and crew scheduling.

instructors
J. Coughlin
units
3-0-9H
schedule
F (2:00-5:00) (1-150)
prerequisites
Permission of the instructor
description

Examines the economic and political conflict between transportation and the environment. Investigates the role of government regulation, green business and transportation policy as a facilitator of economic development and environmental sustainability.

instructors
units
3-0-6H
schedule
W (9:00-12:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

Seminar focused on helping to doctoral students to do learn how to craft an argument, a fundamental building block of independent scholarship, including using theory to frame an argument; moving from data to an argument; and writing a literature review with a critical point of view. Builds on first year paper proposal developed in 11-233, as well as data gathered over the IAP period.

instructors
Justin Reich
units
2-0-4U
schedule
W (10:30-12:30) (E14-633)
prerequisites
description

Large-scale learning environments are places with many learners and few experts to guide them. This course explores the opportunities, limits, and tradeoffs of new technologies that support teaching and learning at scale.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

As ever larger numbers of people live outside the country of their birth and the world is increasingly urbanized, cities across the globe are being reshaped by immigrants.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (9-450A - Class)
prerequisites
description

Examines the built, psychosocial, economic, and natural environment factors that affect health behaviors and outcomes. Introduces tools designed to integrate public health considerations into policymaking and planning. Extensive hands-on training in the application of Health Impact Assessment methodology, which brings a health lens to policy, budgeting, and planning debates.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
TR (2:30-4:00) (9-450A - Class)
prerequisites
description

Examines the built, psychosocial, economic, and natural environment factors that affect health behaviors and outcomes. Introduces tools designed to integrate public health considerations into policymaking and planning. Extensive hands-on training in the application of Health Impact Assessment methodology, which brings a health lens to policy, budgeting, and planning debates.

instructors
Justin Reich
units
2-0-4G
schedule
W (10:30-12:30) (E14-633)
prerequisites
description

Large-scale learning environments are places with many learners and few experts to guide them. This course explores the opportunities, limits, and tradeoffs of new technologies that support teaching and learning at scale.

instructors
units
3-0-9
schedule
TR (9:30-11:00) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

As ever larger numbers of people live outside the country of their birth and the world is increasingly urbanized, cities across the globe are being reshaped by immigrants.

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
MW (2:00-3:30) (5-233)
prerequisites
description

This course will cover four inter-related questions:
(i) What are the theories which explain the emergence and expansion of the urban informal economy?
(ii) What kinds of planning efforts have worked in influencing the quality of life of the urban poor who rely for their livelihoods on urban informal economy?

instructors
units
3-0-9G
schedule
R (9:30-12:30) (10-485)
prerequisites
description

Data visualization is an important way for architects, planners, and policy experts to communicate with the public and its use has increased dramatically.

instructors
Jason Jackson
units
3-0-9
schedule
T (2:00-5:00) (2-103)
prerequisites
description

Do markets constitute a morally fair and economically efficient means of societal organization? Why have market institutions and logics become so pervasive in modern society?

instructors
P. Christopher Zegras, Onesimo Flores
units
3-2-10G / PRACTICUM
schedule
F (9:00-12:00) (3-401/403)
prerequisites
description

This practicum, taught in a workshop format, focuses on the development and implementation of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in a Latin American Mega City. Specifically, the practicum will explore the relationship between the mass transit infrastructure and services and the planning and design of their specific urban environments in Mexico City.

instructors
units
1-0-2G
schedule
F (12:00-1:30) (9-451)
prerequisites
Permission of 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
units
3-0-6
schedule
T (11:00-12:30), T (12:30-2:00) Lecture Series (9-450A - Class, 9-450AB - Lecture Series )
prerequisites
description

Offered in conjunction with the department-wide Bemis Speaker Series on 'Rethinking Law and Planning,' this seminar explores key themes and challenges in how we should think about law in planning today. Critiques existing approaches and theories, including the limitation of planning law to land-use and zoning, and to domestic law.

instructors
units
2-0-7
schedule
F (1:00-3:00) (9-417)
prerequisites
description

This seminar seeks to engage and build students’ oppositional consciousness in the service of imaginative and radical political, social and economic change. We will begin with two introductory sessions considering the relationships between structural violence and identity, and oppositional consciousness and futurity.

instructors
units
2-0-6G
schedule
W (2:00-4:00) (9-451)
prerequisites
Permission of Instructor
description

Seminar focused on understanding how theories of infrastructure are common to many systems that make up the modern city, including energy, water, transportation, and telecommunications; and how these theories and infrastructures are implemented in practice.

instructors
Kairos Shen
units
3 units P/D/F
schedule
F (1:00-3:00) (9-354)
prerequisites
description

This four-part seminar will review and examine the dynamic interaction of private and public interests that have shaped some of the most important real estate development proposals in Boston in the last two decades.

instructors
Jason Jackson
units
3-0-6
schedule
M (3:30-5:30) (9-450B)
prerequisites
description

This course is intended for MCP students preparing to conduct international field research. The class will introduce the basics of field research, including different types of data collection and qualitative data analysis techniques. Over the course of the semester, students will develop their ideas for their thesis project and prepare a thesis proposal.