The professional degree offered by DUSP is the Master in City Planning (MCP). The two-year MCP Program emphasizes the mastery of the tools necessary for effective practice and is therefore distinct from liberal arts programs in urban studies. An intensive course of study stresses skills for policy analysis, advocacy, design, and institutional intervention in cities worldwide.
The requirements for the MCP program are:
Approximately 140 MCP students are enrolled in the department. These include not only students in the two-year sequence, but also undergraduates in the Five-Year SB/MCP Program, and candidates for the various dual degree programs including: architecture, transportation, real estate and business.
The MCP Committee, composed of faculty and students, is responsible for governing and continuously improving the Master's Program. Student members, representing first- and second-year MCP students, are elected early in the fall semester.
In the first semester, MCP students are assigned faculty advisors. Students are free to change advisors at any time with the agreement of the new advisor. If you wish to change advisors, notify Student Services, as well as your former advisor, following discussion with your prospective advisor.
To obtain the MCP degree, both Institute and DUSP requirements must be met, any exceptions must be petitioned to the MCP Committee:
The Professional Core is an integrated set of subjects and requirements designed to introduce students to the forces affecting cities, city planning traditions, methods, and the institutions with which planners work. Through lectures, case studies, group activities, and workshops, students become familiar with different avenues of professional practice and the challenges and opportunities in the field. The Core also aims to expose students to the central, recurring themes and issues of city planning, involving: power and money; race, class and gender; physical form and place; the natural environment; and institutional complexities. Developing core competencies in analysis and communication is also a major aim of the Core Subjects. Upon completing the Core, students should:
Core subjects and requirements are summarized below, followed by more detailed descriptions:
Students must complete the Core subject requirements in their first year (except for Thesis Prep/Thesis and the Practicum requirement) unless the MCP Committee approves a formal petition to do otherwise. Advisors should not sign a registration form that does not include the Core courses for the appropriate semesters unless the student has tested out of a Core subject or has an approved petition from the MCP Committee to meet the requirement in another way.
The subject attempts to achieve these multiple objectives by starting with historical accounts of how others with normative yearnings had acted, the impact of such actions, both intended and unintended, and the lesson the students can draw as they join the community of professionals with similar intentions. The subject relies on both lectures and case studies to cultivate an organizational understanding of how planning efforts unfold in practice, and why some efforts are more successful than others. Also, the case studies introduce the students to the diversity of thinking among the DUSP faculty. Jointly, the lectures and case studies provide an understanding of the mindset and skills of effective planners and, hopefully, will reinforce the students' confidence in their own ability to become innovative practitioners. Extensive discussions and debates among the students themselves are necessary to build a sense of an emerging community of budding practitioners. Such discussions in small groups are a central learning mechanism for the subject whose purpose is to help students develop the art of persuasion, self-reflection, and consensus building for social actions.
In each of the four specialization areas, an introductory subject is offered in the fall semester. As part of the Core, students are required to take at least one introductory subject in one of the specialization areas. The introductory subjects for the four specialization areas are:
Explores how public policy and private markets affect housing, economic development, and the local economy; provides an overview of techniques and specified programs policies and strategies that are (and have been) directed at neighborhood development; gives students an opportunity to reflect on their perspective on the housing and community development process; emphasizes the institutional contexts within which public and private actions are undertaken.
First subject in the Environmental Policy and Planning sequence. Reviews the basics of federal environmental policy-making as well as the philosophical debates concerning growth and scarcity, utilitarianism vs. deep ecology, “command-and-control” vs. market-oriented approaches to regulation and expertise vs. indigenous knowledge. Heavy emphasis on analytical techniques including environmental impact assessment and, cost-benefit analysis. Emphasis on the role of consensus building and dispute resolution in environmental planning.
The overriding goal of the MCP Core Practicum requirement is to provide students with experience in the practice of city and regional planning by providing the opportunity to develop integrated planning solutions within the constraints of real-world settings and scenarios. DUSP intends these subjects to place students and faculty at the leading edge of planning practice by exploring innovative ways to integrate planning disciplines, work with clients and communities, apply reflective practice and connect theory and practice.
By participating in practicum subjects, students will gain experience confronting difficult tradeoffs while working on multidisciplinary planning problems in specific settings. Additionally, the practicum subjects will expand on skills and concepts introduced in the MCP Core and serve as the centerpiece for the Department's sustained involvement in communities. The Core Practica subjects are intended to bridge the broad range of interests and expertise among DUSP faculty and students by fostering interdisciplinary learning and cutting across program groups
With the exception of students completing the Urban Design Certificate, each incoming MCP student is required to complete at least one of the designated Core Practica subjects. (Beyond this special case, there are no exceptions or substitution of alternative subjects for the practicum requirement.) Students may complete the requirement in any semester; however, it is anticipated that most students will complete the requirement in the spring of their first year or fall of their second year. Students should recognize that practica subjects might involve a more rigorous workload than a typical DUSP subject because of the nature of field-based projects.
Students submit a short application on a semester-by-semester basis to apply to practica they are interested in taking. Faculty teaching practica review material and make decisions based on a variety of factors including the needs of the practicum (i.e., specific skill sets, language, etc.) and whether the applicant has already taken a practicum course. Students should be aware that all practica have limited enrollments and not everyone is placed in their first choice. Students are notified before pre-registration for the semester the practicum is scheduled in.
For a current list of subjects that meet the Core Practicum requirement, see http://dusp.mit.edu/subjects. Please note that this list may expand if additional practicum subjects are designated.
adopted by the MCP Committee, March 2013.
The Department offer an engagement with problem-based work through studios and workshops. Studios and workshops provide learning through action—an investigative and creative process driven by research, exploration, and experimentation; planning and designing come together, accompanied by critique and reflection.
Studios and workshops may be designated as fulfilling the department's practicum requirement for the MCP degree. Such designation is determined and announced at the beginning of each semester, and is intended to occur before enrollment begins.
Studios entail five essential elements:
Studios are time intensive, characterized by non-linear, iterative practices. This entails expectations for engagement that go beyond the formal structure of MIT subject unit timetable/distribution, and studios do carry higher numbers of credit units. DUSP offers studios that adhere closely to the design-centered tradition, but also designates “planning studios,” which follow a studio pedagogy but typically engage a broader array of skills and methods beyond urban design, and can therefore more easily accommodate students with less training in design who bring other skillsets and orientations.
A workshop is an applied planning class designed to develop specific plans, proposals or designs to address a planning problem or issue. Workshops can be project-based in which they address a problem or issue in the context of a specific organization and/or place or researched-based to explore solutions to planning issues through case study or other research methods but are not tied to specific organizations or places. Other kinds of workshops center on design inquiry taught in a broad research or case study format. The specific planning problem or issue and potential solutions are explored in depth but workshops entail fewer credit units and usually entail less time devoted to in-class exploration and reflection than studios. They provide a more flexible pedagogical exploration of planning issues and methods and the formulation of proposals and solutions through field research, analysis, client interaction, hands-on exercises, and case studies. Planning problems and issues tackled in workshops may be policy, programmatic, prototypical designs or place-based plans. Workshops do not substitute for studios but are offered to increase the range of planning and design practice, learning and inquiry.
The MCP committee designates particular subjects as fulfilling the DUSP practicum requirement. A practicum designation typically implies that a subject provides an opportunity to synthesize planning or design solutions within the constraints of client-based project. The designation is determined on a case-by-case basis and may include studios and workshops. Students and professors may not petition the MCP Committee for practicum status outside the formal procedure for proposing and approving practica offerings in a given semester.
In assessing the suitability for practicum approval, the MCP committee considers how a subject meets the following criteria:
Entering students who wish to take studios will normally take them during semesters 2 or 3. MCP1 students are strongly advised not to enroll in any design studios during their first semester, unless they already have a professional design degree and have obtained approval from their advisor. Students wishing to take a studio in their last semester will need to adjust their course load accordingly, especially if they are also working to complete a thesis, though it is also possible to use a final semester studio as a vehicle for working on a Design Thesis. Admission to studios is determined on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the professor, which may require portfolio submittals for competitive selection. Studios may also qualify as Practica depending upon the nature of the work conducted.
Only one workshop may be taken in a semester during which a student is registered for an additional design studio. Admission to Research/Design Workshops is determined on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the professor. Workshops may also qualify as Practica depending upon the nature of the work conducted.
In order to avoid schedule conflicts, all department studios will be encouraged to be scheduled during the timeslot T-TH 1:00–6:00PM in order to coincide with the larger studio offerings throughout the SA+P. Workshops are encouraged to avoid this timeslot to reduce enrollment conflicts.
All MCP students are required to enroll in one practicum subject for degree fulfillment, typically in semesters 2 or 3. Urban Design Certificate students can have their practicum requirement fulfilled by taking an approved certificate studio.
DUSP promotes a learning environment that supports the diverse values of the entire MIT community of students, faculty, administration, staff, and guests. Fundamental to the mission of planning education is the stewardship of this diversity in a positive and respectful learning environment that promotes the highest intellectual integrity and cultural literacy. As studio, workshop, and practicum learning is often accomplished through project-based activities during and outside of class times, maintaining this environment at all times is the responsibility of the entire community. Faculty and students should strive to understand and mutually respect the varied commitments of each other and work together to manage expectations of time and effort devoted to assignments, pin-ups, and public reviews. Required travel for these types of subjects should take place to avoid conflicts of time with normal semester work. It is recommended that travel take place during IAP, pre-semester, or during planned spring/fall breaks and holiday weekends. When travel conflicts do arise with other courses, the student's participation in travel becomes optional, with no adverse effects on their grading.
Studio workload is close to or equivalent to taking two regular subjects. Studios earn 18 to 21 units of credit with a minimum of 8 hours of contact a week (4–5 hours of studio time twice a week)
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) formerly understood and utilized primarily by specialists have become ordinary tools that planning professionals must use or manage on a daily basis. For example, there is a minimal computer literacy level required for effective practice and a need for some professionals to have higher levels of training. The minimal literacy level is not so much a list of software applications, say, that one needs to learn as it is a clear understanding of planning-relevant needs and tools that supports life-long learning as technologies evolve. DUSP subjects increasingly assume that students have basic computer skills, such as knowledge of spreadsheet models, database management packages, mapping, presentation graphics, and use of the World Wide Web.
The online computing instruction in Excel, 11.205 (Introduction to Spatial Analysis), and 11.220 (Quantitative Reasoning) provide the typical MCP student with what we feel is minimal computer literacy. Rather than teaching students software keystrokes, the classes contextualize essential computing tools by linking them to the themes and challenges faced by planning professionals.
You have been accepted to DUSP not only on the basis of your outstanding record but also your demonstrated potential to grow and develop your abilities, both academically and professionally. Perhaps the most important of these is the ability to communicate the results of your planning work to diverse audiences, both within and outside the academic environment, and to develop that work through effective interaction with those audiences.
We know that success in both academic work and professional practice is tied closely to your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. The most effective planners can ask probing questions and listen effectively across cultural and other boundaries, organize and analyze data, and formulate conclusions that become compelling pieces of action plans or—at the very least—persuasive arguments about how one should address an issue or problem.
For these reasons, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning has consistently treated communication skills, written and oral, as core competencies. We expect these skills of all graduating students, and we provide a range of resources that you should use to develop and demonstrate these skills.
In the Fall, your writing will be formally assessed. Specifically, you will be asked to write a one-page paper as part of your assignment for DUSP's critical introduction to planning: Gateway (11.201). This writing sample will be used to assess your writing skills in order to determine what level of additional guidance, if any, you may need re: your writing. Given the stress placed on clear writing in all DUSP subjects, in addition to the thesis, DUSP considers it important to identify early on those who might find individualized levels of writing instruction beneficial in furthering their academic and professional careers. Also, the diagnostic exercise enables us to open a dialogue with each of you about your writing strengths and weaknesses and to help you identify strategies that will help you progress while you are here in DUSP. Your papers will be evaluated primarily on the presence of a clearly defined and presented central idea with a well-organized, persuasive, and coherent structure of support. In addition, we will look for well-developed paragraphs with clear topic sentences; smooth transitions; concise, grammatically constructed sentences; use of concrete nouns and active verbs; idiomatic usage; precise word choice; and correct punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
All students who are not native speakers of English also take the English Evaluation Test, given by the faculty in Foreign Languages and Literatures (FLL) during Orientation week, for an early diagnosis and evaluation of their abilities in both speaking and writing. This test is required even if for students who have previously attended a college or university in an English-speaking country.
Any subjects recommended by the FLL faculty are considered requirements by DUSP. The results of this review will determine whether students will be required to take one or more of the following ESL subjects to achieve professional-level proficiency in English:
The Department considers competency in English at the level of 21F.227 prerequisite for completion of the MCP degree. Proficiency in spoken English and proficiency in writing are treated as entirely distinct and students must demonstrate both if they are to successfully complete their course of study in DUSP.
In addition to these subjects, there are other resources available to students who want to strengthen their communication skills:
The MCP thesis is an independent piece of analytic work, organized around a set of research questions. A broad range of studies can qualify as a thesis. Some are academic research projects; others are closer to being professional reports (for a client) on planning practice and policy questions. Still others may be design proposals or documented formal models. The thesis must have an analytical dimension that addresses issues of implementation, design, public policy or planning practice.
The thesis requirement offers the opportunity to:
The program recognizes both the “traditional” thesis approach (independent work on a topic defined and developed by the student in concert with a thesis advisor) and a “structured” approach (work on a topic emerging out of the student's participation in on-going research directed by a faculty member, who will also serve as the thesis advisor). Beyond this, the program recognizes the following alternative thesis options, each described in more detail below:
approved by MCP committee 3/13.
The Client linked thesis focuses on addressing a professional planning problem with an outside client/sponsor organization. For this type of thesis, the topic definition, planning approach and methods are developed in the context of a client-focused planning issue or problem rather than being based on a student defined research question. Consequently, the methods used and thesis format will more closely resemble a professional report than a research-based thesis.
Students opting for the client-linked thesis need to have their client/sponsor arrangement approved by their thesis advisor prior to initiating the project, ideally in advance of the third semester of the program. This approval is to ensure that the student is not being asked to by the client/sponsor to conduct work outside of the educational milieu intended for this thesis option, thereby minimizing the chance of exploitation.
The following thesis preparation process is recommended for professional project theses:
approved by MCP committee 3/13.
A Design Thesis can be of two forms: Design or Design Research.
In both thesis forms, drawings and representations of physical, multiscalar spatial issues are the center of the student's thesis and written text is to be used in a supporting role to the original visual presentation materials.
Because the Design Thesis centers on visual representation rather than writing, students who choose this path would not be relying as heavily on social science models of research that currently are taught in DUSP. Rather, they would require instruction in the research methods more closely aligned with those of design disciplines, such as analytical drawing and mapping techniques and how to formulate arguments for a design intervention.
approved by MCP committee 3/13.
Various forms of media—including photography, digital visualization, lighting, film, computer and mobile phone applications—are ubiquitous in urban planning research and practice. The Media Thesis allows students to investigate (research) and implement (design) various forms of media to develop and answer research questions focused on urban planning, development, and policy, including spatio-temporal and place-based interventions. The Media Thesis differs from the traditional MCP thesis in that students who choose a media thesis will implement/design their research ideas through a medium they choose. While a traditional MCP thesis might analyze how multi-media could be used for planning practices, students who choose a media thesis will be innovating in the medium itself using it as a method to address an issue linked to urban planning. Students interested in the Media Thesis must have a research question that explains the importance of using their chosen medium to answer a planning question.
In addition to the media product, the Media Thesis will have written component that describes the media method developed. The write-up should include:
Media Thesis students are encouraged to take whichever thesis prep subject best matches their substantive interests. In some situations a thesis prep faculty instructor may know the substantive content of the field the student is studying but may not have sufficient expertise in the desired medium of conveyance. In these circumstances, with consent of their advisor and notification provided to the MCP committee, an alternative approach to thesis prep can be arranged with an expert in their chosen medium. If this happens, the student will still need to identify a DUSP faculty member to serve as the designated advisor for the thesis, but the person providing special media expertise may be expected to play a strong role as the thesis reader. The Media Thesis cannot be pursued if these issues are not covered and approved at the beginning of the thesis prep semester (i.e., not later than the beginning of the penultimate semester of the student's program).
It should be noted that any copyright of the Media Thesis and product will follow MIT policies, which can be found, on the following web site. http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/thesis-specs
The thesis process is a multi-semester experience including a formal process of Thesis Preparation and the Thesis for which 24 units of credit are received. Students may begin the process of selecting a thesis topic upon entry to the program, but certainly by the second semester. A thesis preparation subject or another approved context helps to structure this initial stage, but typically the bulk of data collection, analysis, and writing of the thesis occurs in the final semester. Key steps and requirements in the thesis process include:
Thesis Prep (11.THG) is a required course within the MCP curriculum that is taken preparatory to a student's enrolling in thesis (also 11.THG). Thesis Prep is graded J/U to indicate that a student has either satisfactorily (J) or unsatisfactorily (U) completed the requirements to begin thesis writing. Thesis prep may also be pursued “in another context” with an individual instructor, but the requirements are the same. (See “Fulfilling the Requirement,” below)
Thesis Prep is a critical component of the MCP curriculum. The difficult task of Thesis-writing is greatly aided by a well-developed, clear thesis proposal. Selecting an advisor is also greatly aided by a thesis proposal that is formulated prior to a student's approaching faculty. Thesis Prep is intended to assist the student in:
Thesis Prep (11.THG) is offered in both the spring and fall semester. Students may elect to take this course in either their second or third semester.
It is expected that Thesis Prep courses will provide instruction and assistance to students in developing the following:
Note that the above content is geared towards the majority of students pursuing the “traditional” model of research thesis. Those pursuing a “client-linked” thesis are expected to prepare their proposals with their advisor and the client (“in another context”). “Media” based theses may be pursued in any of the thesis prep classes or contexts. “Design” thesis students are still expected to take Thesis Prep. For more information on the above, see “Non-Traditional Thesis Options.”
Thesis Prep is expected to provide the vehicle for introducing students to advisors in a consistent manner among the three courses. Based on experience, proposed activities and approximate benchmark dates for the fall semester (spring would follow a similar sequence) are as follows:
Throughout the October 5–November 25 student-advisor matching process, Thesis Prep instructors are expected to remain aware and assist students and faculty in making contact for possible advising. The ultimate responsibility of confirming thesis advising rests with individual students and faculty.
The department offers two main options for thesis preparation:
To pursue this option, a student is required to submit a signed petition to the student services office and receive approval from the MCP Committee. Students filing petitions should do so as soon as arrangements are made, but no later than the first Friday of the semester. Once the petition is approved, the student may register for 11.THG to receive credit for the work. The contents of the petition and criteria for approval are as follows:
Faculty who are supervising Thesis Preparation under this option will also serve as the student's Thesis Advisor. In the event that this is not feasible, the faculty member supervising Thesis Preparation will be responsible for ensuring that the student is matched with an appropriate advisor and reader.
Students filing petitions should do so as soon as arrangements are made, but no later than the first Friday of the student's third semester. Appropriate forms are available from Student Services. Once the petition is approved, the student may register for 11.THG to receive credit for the work.
The thesis proposal is a careful and compelling description of the thesis project and how the student intends to conduct it. The proposal must be signed by the Thesis Advisor and a reader must be listed, but need not sign the proposal. The narrative should include:
Thesis advising is a critical component of students' academic and intellectual development. Ideally, thesis advising should be an outgrowth of the thesis prep process, with the transition to an advisor occurring within the last month of thesis prep. The following guidelines are intended to establish a framework for advising expectations and responsibilities on the part of both the advisor and student.
Students may approach any faculty member in the department to serve as their thesis advisor, at the appropriate time (see above). Students should recognize that faculty whose primary affiliation is within a student's program group will likely have a higher level of interest and capacity in advising that student's thesis, and that faculty outside of a student's program group may have existing advising commitments within that faculty's own program groups. Nevertheless, students are not required to select advisors within their program group, or to do a thesis with their academic or RA advisor (unless such a relationship is a condition of admissions and or funding outlined in the admissions letter.)
The thesis advisor must be a DUSP faculty member. In unusual circumstances, students may petition the MCP Committee to accept a non-DUSP member of the MIT faculty as a thesis advisor. Dual degree students are required to have two thesis advisors: one in DUSP and one in the other degree program which the student is pursuing. (see “Dual Degrees” section of this Handbook)
Different faculty have their own advising styles and understandings of advising responsibilities and obligations. Students have different skills and advising needs. For these reasons, it is important to discuss and agree on expectations before an advising relationship is established. A schedule of regular meeting times, product delivery expectations, and resource needs is required to approve a final Thesis Proposal submitted to the department and signed by the student and advisor. These guidelines are offered to provide some parameters: however, the thesis advising relationship is ultimately the responsibility of both thesis advisor and thesis student, not the MCP Committee.
Research and design based methods cannot be fully taught within the time constraints of a Thesis Prep seminar. Methods subjects are available elsewhere in the curriculum, and students should be advised to pursue thesis topics commensurate with their skills, or to take appropriate subjects in preparation. Nevertheless, students often do need guidance in applying methods to their particular topic. The thesis advisor is expected to make students aware of, and assist them in connecting with faculty or methodology resources in DUSP or elsewhere at MIT. Some methods areas that are likely to require additional guidance are: statistics, interview and survey, design methods and visual thinking, and spatial analysis.
Thesis advisors and advisees are expected to meet on a regular basis, as mutually agreed, but typically on a bi-weekly basis. It is the responsibility of both the student and the advisor to insure that regular communications, meetings, and reviews, occur throughout the thesis period. Issues with communications and meetings should be referred to Student Services.
Thesis advisors and advisees should agree on a time frame for submitting draft chapters and full thesis drafts. At a minimum, most faculty will expect to have a full thesis draft at least one week prior to the formal thesis defense. If full thesis drafts are submitted less than one week before the thesis defense, the defense may be postponed at the advisor's discretion. Readers are responsible for reading full thesis drafts prior to the defense and may read drafts prior to that point if they agree to do so.
Thesis advisors are expected to provide guidance on thesis writing that is commensurate with their academic role. It is the responsibility of advisees to ensure that the work they submit does not contain grammatical errors or other technical writing problems. It is advisees' responsibility to seek assistance from the MIT Writing Center prior to submitting work to correct these issues. Faculty advisors are not obligated to read thesis work that has not been proofread.
Students are responsible for scheduling the time and place for the thesis defense, in consultation with their advisor and other Committee members (readers and/or second advisor, in the case of dual degrees). The advisor conducts the thesis defense, reviewing any revisions requested by the Committee at or after the defense, certifying that the completed thesis has Committee approval, and awarding a letter grade. The thesis advisor and the Chair of the MCP Committee sign the accepted thesis.
The purpose of the oral thesis defense is to make a final assessment of the quality of the thesis and for the committee to determine the acceptability of the thesis and the quality of the work.
This meeting, which is attended by all members of a student's thesis committee and which may be opened to others as well (e.g., announced and held in a classroom for a larger audience), begins with a brief presentation by the student, summarizing issues addressed and presenting key findings. The committee (and other attendees, if applicable) then asks questions and expresses criticisms, to which the student responds. This meeting is often a combination of critical responses to the document and discussions of the issues covered in the thesis project.
At the conclusion of the meeting, after the student has left the room, committee members discuss the thesis and decide on a “finding.” The committee may accept the thesis at this stage; reject it; or accept it conditionally, specifying changes to be made prior to submission of the final copy. The conditional approval is at the committee's discretion and only available within the time constraints reflected in the calendar. The committee cannot extend a due date. If a thesis is not completed by the due date, a grade of “U” or “J” will be given.
Granting an oral defense is not tantamount to approval. Occasionally a committee may recommend that a defense not be held because of the poor quality or incompleteness of the draft. Acceptable theses are awarded grades of: “A” (outstanding/excellent), “B” (very good), or “C” (acceptable but with a significant deficiency or several minor deficiencies).
No thesis grade will be accepted without a final copy of the thesis signed by the student and the faculty advisor on the date noted in the DUSP Calendar. Failure to adhere strictly to this Institute rule will result in the student being withdrawn from the degree list. Please see Student Services for all questions regarding thesis deadlines:
Students have full responsibility for the design and execution of the thesis project. The department seeks to support students' efforts by providing a suite of formal and informal activities throughout the first and second year:
While the MCP program is designed to be completed in four semesters, occasionally a student may seek to extend his or her time in the MCP program by completing a summer thesis. We do not encourage this practice.
Students should be aware that most DUSP faculty are on 9-month contracts and are not paid to teach or work with students during June, July, and August. Leaving the pay issue aside, faculty often rely on the summer months to meet critical professional obligations—such as research fund-raising, fieldwork, and writing—as well as personal obligations. Accordingly, any student seeking to complete MCP thesis work over the summer and to be placed on the September degree list must be certain in advance about the willingness and availability of the advisor and reader to take on this responsibility. Any student seeking to complete thesis over the summer must submit a signed written statement from all members of the thesis committee attesting to their willingness and availability over the summer to take on this responsibility.
Failure to do this will make the student ineligible for the September degree list. Any student who has not made arrangements in advance to complete thesis over the summer as described above, and who does not complete his/her thesis on the required due date in the spring semester, will be required to submit his/her thesis and hold the defense during the succeeding fall term, and will need to pay the pro-rated fall semester tuition.
The Department offers a number of opportunities to pursue dual degrees concurrently, specifically dual degrees in Planning and Architecture, Planning and Transportation, Planning and Real Estate, and Planning and Management.
Graduate students are eligible to pursue graduate degrees concurrently in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Architecture, based on an approved program of study. Students may write a single thesis for both degrees, and complete their studies in less time than it would ordinarily take if they worked toward the degrees separately. These combinations require a minimum of two additional semesters in residence beyond the longer of the two degrees. This means six semesters for a MCP/SMArchS dual degree, and from seven to nine semesters for a MCP/MArch dual degree, depending on whether the student enters the MArch program with advanced standing (i.e., either in a five-semester or seven-semester MArch program).
The Master of Science in Transportation (MST) degree is a two-year, inter-departmental graduate degree program, administered by MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. The Master of City Planning (MCP) degree is a two-year accredited degree program, offered by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning within the School of Architecture and Planning. Given the strong links between transportation and city planning, interested students can choose the dual MCP/MST degree option at MIT. Note, however that the dual degree option is not for everyone, and students can study transportation within the MCP program or can study urban transportation within the MST program without pursuing the dual degree option.
The Master of Science in Real Estate Development is a one year intensive program offered through the Center for Real Estate. The Center for Real Estate is housed within the Department of Urban Studies and Planning however the MCP and MSRED degrees are administered separately.
The dual degree program with Sloan enables students to receive both an MBA and an MCP in three years. Students will be assessed the tuition charged at the program of their primary registration in a given semester. This degree program is relevant for those students who seek business management training with an understanding of planning theory and methodology.
The Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the Department of Architecture collaborate through the Joint Program in City Design and Development, to offer a course of study in urban design. Students who successfully complete the program receive an Urban Design Certificate from MIT at graduation. The purpose of the urban design program is to provide the fundamental knowledge and special skills required to design urban and regional environments. Students who complete the program have the skills to begin work as professional urban designers.
Students in the Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture Studies, Master in City Planning, or Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning degree programs are eligible for a Certificate in Urban Design if they complete a specific curriculum of subjects drawn from the two departments and also complete all requirements for their normal degrees. Subjects taken as part of the Certificate program may be counted towards fulfillment of their normal degree requirement. For example, the Urban Design Studio may be counted toward the studio requirement for the MArch degree, or towards the specialization requirement for the MCP degree. The Certificate can be achieved without adding additional time to what it normally takes to achieve a degree.
To earn the Urban Design Certificate students must fulfill the following requirements:
Students wishing to pursue an Urban Design Certificate need to declare this at least two semesters before graduation, and must complete a Program Statement that indicates which of the above subjects they intend to take.
Urban Design Certificate Program Statement Forms are available from Room 10-485, or online at http://dusp.mit.edu/cdd/program/academics. The statement must be signed by a student's advisor and approved by the Urban Design Certificate Committee. Any modifications to the program or petitions for subject substitutions must be approved in writing by the Committee.
The are several possible ways to accelerate work on the MCP degree:
Please note: Students will only be allowed to accelerate their programs if their Program Statement reflects that intention or a petition revising the Program Statement has been approved by the beginning of the third semester.
Under special circumstances, admission may be granted to a limited number candidates seeking a one-year Master of Science (S.M.) degree. The SM is a non-professional degree intended for professionals with a number of years of distinguished practice in city planning or related fields who: have a clear idea of the courses they want to take at MIT, the thesis they want to write and the DUSP faculty member with whom they wish to work. That faculty member must be prepared to advise the candidate when at MIT and to submit a letter of recommendation so indicating as part of the candidate's application. This process means that prior to submitting an application, the candidate must contact the appropriate DUSP faculty member and work out such a relationship. To successfully obtain the SM students must have satisfactorily completed a program of study of at least 66 subject units, including a submitted thesis proposal, signed by a thesis advisor at the end of the fall semester, and a completed thesis at the end of the spring semester. The SM degree does not require the candidate to take the core courses, which are mandatory for the MCP degree.