With the largest Planning faculty in the United States, MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning has unparalled breadth and depth of expertise. In particular, IDG faculty conduct research or work on projects in virtually every area of the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, Oceania, and Central and South America. They explore issues as diverse as our geographic scope: Development, Globalization, Governance, Health and the Environment, Human Rights, Industrialization, Policy and Law, Regional Economies, Technology, Transportation, Urban Issues, and Water and Sanitation.

IDG Students have a number of opportunities to engage in original research, including work opportunities with IDG faculty, international internships and practica, and summer fieldwork. They examine the roles of planners and engage with questions at various levels, ranging from work in international institutions to the national, regional, city and neighborhood scales. Students often apply these opportunities to the development of their Master's theses.