The Terrascope Curriculum
As part of the Terrascope community, you will enroll in the same core subjects as other MIT freshmen, but you will also participate in a single required subject: 12.000 in the fall with the option of taking 1.016 in spring. (Note that as a student in 12.000, you are allowed to exceed the credit limit for first-year students.) Each year, a different complex problem is posed as a way for students to learn how to approach and solve problems that require interdisciplinary and innovative solutions. We think the Terrascope experience will punctuate your first year by teaching you to think outside of the box and provide you with a learning experience that ise very different from the rest of your classes.
Fall Class: 12.000 - "Solving Complex Problems" (also known as Mission) is a 9-unit subject that only freshmen can participate in. You may take Mission without committing to the yearlong Terrascope program. However, by enrolling in 12.000 you will enjoy the benefits of the Terrascope program and community, even if you do not continue in the Spring. You are invited to join students and faculty at weekly luncheons where guest speakers discuss their current research. You can also use the Program’s facilities including a dedicated classroom/study space, kitchen, and lounge. This structure allows students who feel unable to commit to a two-semester program to still benefit from the project-based learning environment of Solving Complex Problems and to experience the Terrascope community for the fall. Some students join Terrascope at the end of the semester.
Mission 2019 webpage is right here!
Optional Spring Class: "Communicating Complex Environmental Issues: Building Solutions and Communicating Ideas" Subject 1.016--9 units), builds on the material covered in fall, and is designed to develop additional depth in science concepts and introduce engineering and design process using some aspect of the topic studied in fall as context. Students work in small groups (2-5) with a wide variety of faculty members.
Optional Spring Class: Terrascope Radio
SP360 (12 units) offers the opportunity to satisfy the required freshman communications requirement by offering CI-H credit to produce a professional quality radio program based on material studied during the year. The class is a perfect integration of the Terrascope theme into the communications requirement.
General Institute Requirements
As part of the General Institute Requirements (GIRs), all MIT students are required to complete two semesters each of Calculus and Physics, and one semester each of Chemistry and Biology. As a Terrascope student, you fulfill these requirements by taking mainstream subjects according to your background and interest.
CI and HASS Requirement
You will have to take a CI-H and a HASS during your first year. Terrascope Radio can fulfill your CI-H. For a complete description of MIT's Communication Intensive (CI requirement), go to the MIT Undergraduate Communications Requirement page.
IAP Subjects Offered by EAPS and CEE
The Departments of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) have long traditions of offering field, laboratory, and classroom learning opportunities during MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP). The session is particularly well suited for off-campus study trips.
In EAPS, Sam Bowring and Tim Grove have been running a 10-day field trip to the southwestern U.S. (12.120) for more than a decade where they examine a number of issues relating to geology and the environment including volcanism, earthquakes, water shortages and climate change. This is appropriate for freshman. You can learn more about all field trips run by EAPS here.
Every year, Terrascope students will have the opportunity to participate in one of these credit-bearing IAP field activities.
Terrascope Field Trip:
Each spring, Terrascope students spend a week visiting a location of significance to the complex problem they posed solutions to in the fall. For example, during spring break in March of 2014 we visited Northern California to see power generation facilities. In spring 2013, we traveled to South Africa in conjunction with our year’s study of issues related to ensuring global access to clean water. Terrascope students automatically qualify for the trip. Learn more about field trips from prior years here.