The Department of Urban Studies and Planning offers two undergraduate majors 11 and 11-6, providing a wide-ranging and in-depth undergraduate education in the fields of urban planning and urban science.
The Bachelor of Science in Planning (SB, Course 11) provides a solid foundation, practical hands-on experience, and real-life problem solving and geared toward students intending to work in law, public policy, economic development, urban design, non-profit management, development, and planning.
The Bachelor of Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science (SB, Course 11-6), a joint major with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science builds on theory and the urban studies foundation, integrating social and technical skills that are grounded in real-world applications.
Course 11: Bachelor of Science in Planning (SB)
Those students who choose to major in the Department earn a Bachelor of Science in Planning (SB), an interdisciplinary pre-professional major designed to prepare students for careers in both the public and private sectors. A course 11 degree provides a sound foundation for students intending to do graduate work in law, public policy, economic development, urban design, management, and planning.
The courses in the major teach students how the tools of economics, policy analysis, political science, and urban design can be used to solve social and environmental problems in the United States and abroad. In addition, students learn the skills and responsibilities of planners who seek to promote effective and equitable social change.
The Department of Urban Studies and Planning offers many possibilities for creating a concentration tailored to your needs and interests in the following categories.
- Designing the Urban Environment
- Environmental Policy
- Urban History & Society
- Policy Analysis and Urban Problems
- International Development
Course 11-6: Bachelor of Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science (SB)
Those students who choose the joint major with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science will earn a Bachelor of Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science(SB), a major integrating social and technical skills with theoretical foundations and applied experience, designed to prepare students for careers in both the public and private sectors. The major provides a foundation for students intending to do graduate work in applied data analytics, public policy, economic development, urban design, management, and planning.
Majors take a set of common core courses in one of four streams:
- fundamentals of computer science
- fundamentals of urban planning
- machine learning, probability, and statistics
- policy and ethics
In addition, students will participate in an applied urban science synthesis lab, where high-tech tools will be brought together to solve real-world problems.
The courses in the major teach students how the tools of ethics and justice, statistics, data science, geospatial analysis, visualization, robotics, and machine learning can be applied to craft solutions to complex problems that require new strategies, technologies, types of data, and approaches to science. Students will also learn the skills and responsibilities of planners who seek to promote effective and equitable social change.
The Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science offer a diverse range of possibilities for creating a major tailored to your needs and interests in the following categories:
- Urban planning and policy
- Statistics, data science, geospatial analysis and visualization
- Computer science and machine learning
- Integrated, hand-on experience working with data and new technologies to address real urban problems
SB/MCP: Bachelor of Science + Master in City Planning
Undergraduate majors in Course 11 or 11-6 may apply for admission to the department's Master in City Planning (MCP) program in their junior year. Students accepted into the five-year program receive both the Bachelor of Science and the MCP at the end of five years of study. Admission is intended for those undergraduates who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the major and show commitment to the field of city planning. Criteria for admission include:
- Strong academic record in Course 11 subjects
- Letters of reference from departmental faculty
- Practical experience in planning which could be gained through internships, practicums, studios, UROPs, summer jobs, etc.
- A mature and passionate interest for the field which warrants further study
In the fall semester of the senior year, five-year students are considered participants in the MCP program and begin meeting its requirements. At the same time, they can be completing requirements for the undergraduate degree.
The Department offers three minors:
- Minor in Urban Studies and Planning
- Minor in Public Policy
- Minor in International Development
Students who successfully complete a minor program will have the field of study specified on their student transcript, thus giving recognition of focused work in the discipline.
Minor in Urban Studies and Planning
The six-subject Minor in Urban Studies and Planning offers students the opportunity to explore issues in urban studies and planning in some depth. Students initially take two Tier I subjects that establish the political, economic, and design contexts for local, urban, and regional decision making. In addition, students choose four Tier II elective subjects, which provide an opportunity to focus on urban and environmental policy issues or to study urban problems and institutions. Students are encouraged to craft a minor that reflects their own particular interests within the general parameters of the minor program requirements and in consultation with the minor advisor.
Minor in Public Policy
Public policy is an academic field that looks at the nature of public problems and how we attempt to address those problems through government action. The interdisciplinary HASS Minor in Public Policy is intended to provide a single framework for students in engineering and sciences who are interested in the role of public policy in the field of their technical expertise. The six-subject minor is organized in three tiers.
The first tier provides a foundation in the study of the public and private institutions in which public policy decisions are made and implemented. All students are required to take two subjects that introduce them to rationales for government action, justifications that form the fundamental basis for making public policy. The second tier explores methods of analyzing and assessing the impacts of policy change. The aim is to provide a basic level of competence so that students are knowledgeable about the range of approaches that professionals use to analyze public policies. The third tier offers an in-depth program of study in one substantive field of policymaking. All minors select one substantive policy field and take three subjects within that area of specialization. Students may substitute a semester-long internship for one subject in their chosen field, with the approval of their minor advisor. The internship must be at least 9 units and must be for a letter grade.
The Public Policy Minor is administered jointly by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Political Science.
Students interested in this minor should begin by contacting Professor Justin Steil. Majors in Urban Studies are not permitted to minor in Public Policy. Political Science majors can minor in Public Policy, however they can not use any course for the minor that they are using to fulfill their major.
Minor in International Development
MIT students have enormous interest in tackling problems of global poverty and economic development in the poor regions of the world. The minor in international development will increase the capability to understand, analyze and tackle today's problems in emerging countries, including the challenges of dealing with increasing urbanization, the need for industrial growth and jobs for increasing number of educated youth, the crisis of resources and infrastructure, the fragmentation of state capacity and rising violence, the ethical and moral issues raised by development planning, the role of appropriate technology and research, and the challenge of dealing with popular discontent. Through research and teaching, we combine a robust introduction to the theoretical framework of the field, with a strong analytical orientation and problem-solving method tested through field engagement. Taught by faculty from one of the worlds premier academic centers of expertise in planning, at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and with more than a quarter century of experience in dealing with problems of international development, the minor is a new offering to MIT students that emphasizes problem-solving, multidisciplinarity and an understanding of institutions at various levels from the local to the global as the key to solving todays problems in emerging countries.
The six-subject minor is structured into two tiers. The first tier gives students a general overview of the history of international development and major theories and debates in the field, and an introduction to the dilemmas of practice. It will also introduce students to the challenges of applying models of interventions across contexts and the importance of understanding local institutional frameworks and political economies across scales and levels of governance. The second tier of classes offers an array of more specialized and advanced subjects to allow students greater depth in specific sectors and international development issues with faculty immersed in a variety of disciplines. These sectors range from public finance, infrastructure and energy, sustainability, the role of technology policy, the form and the structure of cities, the politics of urban change and development, the role of law and public policy in development and the rethinking of development in terms of human rights.
The courses seek to combine the real world resources of experienced practitioners by taking advantage of fifteen mid-career international development and planning practitioners (Spurs/Humphrey fellows), who are hosted by DUSP each year, and who can serve as a major resource for connecting MIT undergraduates to the international world of development planning practice.
The Department of Urban Studies and Planning offers many HASS concentrations tailored to a wide variety of student needs and interests. The following list suggests some of the most popular combinations of subjects.
You can also create an individually-crafted HASS concentration that fits your particular interests while taking account of Institute guidelines. The Department will assist you in selecting three HASS subjects that suit your concerns and background. Subject offerings change on an annual basis and students should check with Sandra Elliott, for the latest information.
Current HASS Concentrations:
Big Data and Cyber Security
- 11.138 Crowd Sourced City: Civic Tech Prototyping
- 11.154 Big Data, Visualization, and Society
- 11.155[J] Data and Society
- 11.074 Cybersecurity Clinic*
Climate Change and Environmental Planning
- 11.148 Environmental Justice: Law and Policy
- 11.169 Global Climate Policy and Sustainability
- 11.171 Indigenous Environmental Planning
Designing the Urban Environment
- 11.001[J] Introduction to Urban Design and Development
- 11.016[J] The Once and Future City
- 11.123 Big Plans and Mega-Urban Landscapes
Energy and Infrastructure
- 11.142 Geography of the Global Economy
- 11.165 Urban Energy Systems and Policy
- 11.173[J] Infrastructure Design for Climate Change
Housing, Land Use Law, and Social Change
- 11.041 Introduction to Housing, Community, and Economic Development
- 11.067 Land Use Law and Politics: Race, Place, and Law
- 11.148 Environmental Justice: Law and Policy
International Development and Human Rights
- 11.005 Introduction to International Development
- 11.025[J] D-Lab: Development
- 11.164[J] Human Rights at Home and Abroad
Negotiation and Leadership
- 11.011 The Art and Science of Negotiation
- 11.111[J] Leadership in Negotiation: Advanced Applications
- 11.164[J] Human Rights at Home and Abroad
Policy Analysis and Urban Problem-Solving
- 11.002[J] Making Public Policy
- 11.003[J] Methods of Policy Analysis
- 11.011 The Art and Science of Negotiation
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides a unique opportunity for students to participate in ongoing faculty research, off-campus research, or other related field experiences. UROP offers students a chance to apply classroom learning to a real-world problem. UROP projects can supplement coursework and provide opportunities for professional experience. Learn more about UROP.
Recent UROP projects in DUSP have explored such areas as legal studies, housing and real estate, computer mapping, economic and social development, energy, environmental impact, and social welfare. For information about UROP opportunities, contact Cherie Abbanat.
We welcome any questions you have about the DUSP undergraduate programs.
- Questions, concerns, and/or complaints regarding registration, enrollment, leaves, exams and/or other student requirements should be addressed to Sandra Elliott.
- Questions, concerns, and/or complaints regarding regarding the masters programs' student process should be addressed to the undergraduate Committee co-Chairs (see DUSP Governance)