Subsections


MCP Program


Overview

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:

  1. Completion of a sequence of Core Subjects and an Introductory Subject to one of the department's program groups. Core Subjects should be completed in the first year.
  2. Completion of a departmental approved Practicum subject that involves developing planning proposals in field situations.1
  3. An acceptable program of individual study developed by the student in consultation with his or her advisor, and approved by the MCP Committee.
  4. A formal process of Thesis Preparation leading to the completion of a thesis.
  5. Thesis.

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.


Procedural Information: Credits and Requirements

To obtain the MCP degree, both Institute and DUSP requirements must be met, any exceptions must be petitioned to the MCP Committee:

  1. A minimum of 150 units of academic credit are required for the MCP degree: 126 units of course-work in graduate-level subjects plus 24 units for the thesis including satisfactory completion of thesis preparation. Subjects with U-level (undergraduate level) units do not count for graduate-level credit, although on occasion, by doing additional academic work, students may petition to upgrade them.
  2. Each first-year student must submit a completed Program Statement to the MCP Committee by the first week of the Spring semester. The planning process is vital: the Program Statement constitutes the student's proposed work program and timetable for completing the requirements of the MCP program and should be developed with the assistance of a student's advisor and program group. The statement will be reviewed for approval by the advisor and the MCP Committee. After approval, significant changes in the program should be noted on a revised Program Statement and submitted for reconsideration by the advisor. It should be a “working document,” based on a strategy for making the most of the program.

  3. Thesis work may be initiated in the second or third semester by enrolling in an approved thesis preparation subject or petitioning the MCP Committee to undertake thesis preparation in another substantive context. We encourage you to discuss your thesis interests with prospective advisors by the second semester. Students typically complete their research and write the thesis in the fourth semester. Students register for 11.THG for two semesters of thesis prep/thesis work and receive 24 units of credit upon satisfactory completion. When students meet all the requirements of a thesis preparation subject, or thesis preparation in another substantive context, including the writing of an acceptable Thesis Proposal, they receive a grade of J. When the thesis has been completed and graded in the fourth semester, that grade is applied to the entire 24 units of thesis credit. If a student has not completed an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the third semester they will receive a U (unsatisfactory) grade and will not be allowed to register for thesis in the fourth semester until they have submitted an acceptable proposal.
  4. While C is a passing grade at MIT, a C is considered by the MCP Committee to be an indication that the student may have problems completing her or his graduate program. A student with a grade of C (or lower) in a core subject will receive a warning letter from the department.
  5. The MCP program is designed to be completed in four semesters. However, it may be possible to complete the program in three semesters or to take an additional semester. See details below.


The Professional Core

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:

  1. Understand the challenges they are likely to confront in planning practice and the problem solving strategies they can employ;
  2. Understand the institutional settings in which plans and policies are made and implemented and feel comfortable working in these settings;
  3. Appreciate the concerns of various types of stakeholders or social groups that comprise cities and societies;
  4. Have both the skills and the theoretical background needed to develop and implement planning proposals and take action in the field.

Core subjects and requirements are summarized below, followed by more detailed descriptions:

First Semester

Second Semester

Second or Third Semester

Fourth Semester

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.


Core Subjects


Fall Term

11.201 Gateway: Planning Action
Test-out Examination
Not offered; required subject.
Objectives and Description
The class has three interconnected objectives. First, to help students with diverse backgrounds and equally diverse professional destinations understand that they are part of a larger community of professionals who are interested to improve the quality of life in either at the community, city, regional or even national level. Second, the subject will build on the experience and idealism of students by sensitizing them to organizational issues which affect the way normative yearnings and good intentions are ultimately expressed as actions by various institutions—public, private and non-governmental. And third, the subject will sensitize the students as to why some professionals are more effective than others in influencing social betterment efforts, and what kind of professional knowledge and skills contribute to such effectiveness.

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.

Acquired Skills
11.201 will help students deepen critical thinking skills about where planning has come from and where it is going (or should go) as a practice, strengthen their skill at communicating to improve planning decisions, and better understand what they need to do during their two years at MIT to prepare for effective and satisfying careers. It will also enable them to participate in on-going debates within the field (and the DUSP community) regarding the history, theory and practice of planning. Finally, it will equip them to meaningfully analyze planned interventions and identify the key assumptions being made about collective action on public problems.

11.220 Quantitative Reasoning and Statistical Methods

Prerequisites
None. However, to take full advantage of the subject, students need a working familiarity with key mathematical skills, including algebra.
Test-out Examination
A test-out examination will be given during orientation in August. Information on the exam is posted on the 11.220 web site.
Objectives and Description
Many, if not most, planners work frequently with quantitative data. Some summarize, analyze, and present data they have collected themselves or have obtained from secondary sources; others must review quantitative analyses and assess the validity of arguments made therein. This subject is designed to prepare you to critically review analyses prepared by others, as well as to conduct basic statistical data analysis yourself. Using examples of “real world” quantitative analysis related to the planning profession, we will become familiar with a variety of tools for describing and comparing sets of data, as well as those used to generate estimates and test hypotheses. We will also emphasize the development of sound arguments and research design, such that students appreciate both the power and limits of quantitative analysis in argumentation, noting relevant examples of the mis-use of data and statistical analysis.
Acquired Skills
Completion of 11.220 provides students with the background needed to take other methods classes in DUSP and outside the department.

Fulfilling the Requirement
This requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways, listed below. In order for you to make use of these skills in other subjects and in your own research at DUSP, this requirement must be completed during your first year in the program.
  1. Take and pass 11.220 it with a grade of “C” or better;
  2. Take and pass the test-out examination. For those students with a background in statistics, this option will allow you to meet the requirement early and leave you free to take higher level subjects (or other electives);
  3. Take a substitute subject at MIT or elsewhere. Some students elect, for scheduling or other reasons, to take a comparable statistics subject elsewhere, whether in another MIT Department or at Harvard. This path is acceptable, as long as the subject has been approved by the Department. If you elect this option, you must petition through the student services office within the first week of the Fall semester.

11.205: Introduction to Spatial Analysis
Prerequisites
None.
Test-out Examination
Offered during MCP orientation.
Format
Short subject offered in the fall or spring semester.
Objectives and Description
Introduction to Spatial Analysis and GIS Workshop are two half-semester subjects which are meant to teach you the basics of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The Introduction to Spatial Analysis subject (11.205) is a requirement for the MCP degree. The second half of the semester the department offers a GIS Workshop (11.520, not a requirement) which focuses on developing a research project using GIS as well as introduction to some advanced topics in data collection and web-mapping. Students of all GIS backgrounds are welcome to take the GIS Workshop subject. Experienced students may be interested in taking the GIS Workshop subject, in order to test out ideas for thesis or investigate project ideas that use spatial analysis. Working on your own GIS project is the best way to learn GIS as it teaches you to apply the concepts you learn beyond the set-by-step tutorial you will learn in class.
Fulfilling the Requirement
This requirement can be fulfilled in one of two ways:
  1. Take and pass 11.205 with a grade of “C” or better; or
  2. Take and pass the test-out exam.


Spring Term

11.203 Microeconomics
Prerequisites
None.
Test-out Examination
Offered during MCP Orientation.
Format
Part-semester module (first-half).
Objectives and Description
Microeconomics is an introductory subject, covering basic topics including: the operation of markets, resource allocation among competing uses, and profit maximizing behavior. Theory is illustrated using topics of current interest including why firms are dropping health insurance, the trouble facing major airlines, and the impact of computerized work and off-shoring on employment and earnings inequality.
Acquired Skills
After taking 11.203, followed by 11.202 (don't ask), students should possess a good conceptual grasp of microeconomic principles as applied to problems of planning. The subject also prepares students for additional economics subjects.
Fulfilling the Requirement
The MCP economics requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways:
  1. Take 11.202 and 11.203, passing each with grade of “C” or better.
  2. Take and pass the test-out examination for 11.203. Successfully testing out of 11.203 still requires taking 11.202 and does not reduce the total units required for the MCP degree.
  3. Take and pass a more advanced subject in another department at MIT or elsewhere. For example, the microeconomics subject taught to first-year MBA students at the Sloan School. This option does not include subjects taken before enrolling in the MCP program, although students who have taken such a subject are encouraged to take the place-out examination. Any alternative subjects must be approved by the Department — if you elect this option, you must petition through the student services office within the first week of the Spring semester.

11.202 Gateway: Planning Economics

Prerequisites
11.203 or test-out.
Test-out Examination
Not offered; required subject.
Format
Part-semester module.
Objectives and Description
Gateway: Planning Economics is the second module of the Gateway subject. The module is designed to introduce students to applying economic reasoning to problems of relevance to planners. We will focus on four areas:
  1. Urban Structure and the Basic Economic Problem of Cities
  2. The Economics of Public Goods and Externalities
  3. Urban Economic Development Policies
  4. Rudiments of housing finance.
We will marry economic theory with political and institutional and political aspects of the problem.
Acquired Skills
The module prepared students to use economic concepts and techniques as a part of their tool kit, just as they would think about using design, institutional analysis, legal analysis and so on. Our perspective is that very few planning problems can be solved by economics alone but most planning problems include one or more aspects that economic analysis can illuminate. In other words, economics really is your friend.

11.205: Introduction to Spatial Analysis
Prerequisites
None.
Test-out Examination
See above (“Fall Semester”).
Format
See above (“Fall Semester”).
Objectives and Description
See above (“Fall Semester”).
Fulfilling the Requirement
See above (“Fall Semester”).

Core Specialization Subjects

The Master in City Planning program attracts a student body with a wide range of experiences and interests. Core subjects in the program are designed to span those interests, by providing skills and knowledge necessary to be effective in all types of practice as careers evolve over many years. Students also have the opportunity to select an area of specialization and to take subjects which will vary according to the area of study and the student's interest. Four specializations, or “Program Groups” in the department, reflect major types of planning practice:
  1. City Design and Development (CDD)
  2. Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP)
  3. Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED)
  4. International Development Group (IDG)
  5. Transportation (by petition only)

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:


11.301J Introduction to Urban Design and Development

Examines the spatial structure of cities and ways they can be changed. Includes historical forces that have produced cities, models of urban analysis, contemporary theories of urban design, and implementation strategies. Core lectures supplemented by student projects and discussion groups focusing on student work. Guest speakers and field trips present cases illustrating current projects and the scope and methods of urban design practice.


11.401 Introduction to Housing and Community Development

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.


11.601 Introduction to Environmental Policy and Regulation

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.

11.701 Introduction to International Development

Explores the planning process in developing countries. Interaction between planners and institutions at both national and local levels. Overview of theories of state, organizational arrangements, implementation mechanisms, and planning styles. Case studies of planning: decentralization, provision of low-cost housing, and new-town development. Analyzes various roles planners play in different institutional contexts. Professional ethics and values amidst conflicting demands. Restricted to first-year MCP and SPURS students.


Core Practicum Subjects

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.


Policy on Studios, Workshops, Practica

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.


Definitions


Studios

Studios entail five essential elements:

  1. a culture of students and teachers who build a creative community;
  2. a mode of teaching and learning characterized by processes of critical reflection;
  3. small class sizes that permit periods of face-to-face student-teacher contact;
  4. a program of projects and activities that reflect and integrate professional practice; and
  5. a physical shared space where teaching and learning and making occurs.

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.


Workshops

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.


Practica

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:

  1. Client-based (“answering” in some sense to a real client);
  2. Interaction with a “community” in the course of developing and assessing alternative proposals;
  3. Commitment to furthering reflective practice;
  4. Formal inter-disciplinary teaching; and
  5. A final deliverable.


Sequence and Prerequisites


Studios

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.


Workshops

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.


Studio and Workshop Scheduling

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.


Practica

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.


Studio/Workshop/Practicum Culture and Travel Policy

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 Credits and Hours

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)


Minimum Competencies


Computer Literacy

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.


Professional Communication Skills

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.


Other Resources

In addition to these subjects, there are other resources available to students who want to strengthen their communication skills:

Writing and Communication Center
Instructors help students with issues ranging from developing skills in analyzing a topic, organizing a paper, and planning a thesis to problems in overcoming writer's block and specific problems in grammar, mechanics, and style. Tutoring is available on a drop-in basis during slow times, but it is recommended that students make appointments. Work is tailored to individual or group needs (http://web.mit.edu/writing, x3-3090).

English Language Studies (ELS) Program
ELS helps those students whose first language is not English. The program includes instruction from beginning to advanced levels of English language, as well as writing subjects on general and technical matters. A fully equipped language lab supplements these subjects (http://web.mit.edu/fll/www/languages/English.html, x3-4771).

Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies
Offers instruction in writing at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Its curriculum encompasses three broad areas: exposition and rhetoric, scientific and technical writing, and creative writing. Subject offerings range from expository writing to poetry to scientific and engineering writing for both expert and lay audiences. The staff includes essayists, novelists, and poets, as well as specialists in technical communication.
Some advice for entering students: Expect to be challenged by the number and nature of writing assignments in your Core subjects. Every professor is a different audience and may expect a different style of writing from you. Some assignments may require brief memos, while others may require that you develop extended arguments and evidentiary support in longer, more academic papers. Do not be discouraged if, at first, you feel you are not working up to speed. Effective writing about complex phenomena, especially in a new field, takes work, dedication and an open mind. Over time, and with feedback from many different readers, even the most accomplished writers continue to develop their writing potential. We hope that your work in DUSP will help you to continue to build your writing and presenting skills. And remember that the faculty are here to help you achieve your goals.


Thesis

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.


What Purpose does the Thesis Serve?

The thesis requirement offers the opportunity to:

  1. Synthesize your previous learning and experiences and reflect on their meaning;
  2. Strengthen and demonstrate your competence in framing questions, designing a process for answering questions and interpreting the meaning of findings;
  3. Deepen your knowledge of a specialized topic;
  4. Design and complete a significant independent project which has significance for planning or policy; and
  5. Produce a document you may wish to show to prospective employers or clients (though this is not a DUSP requirement).


Several Points Apply to all DUSP Theses

  1. All theses must be appropriately rigorous, which means that questions and hypotheses are explicitly formulated and tested against data; and that conclusions are drawn and their implications assessed;
  2. The analysis presented in the thesis must be systematic;
  3. The form that the thesis takes should clearly relate to its intended audience. If the thesis consists of a design proposal, film project, or a project in another medium, written documentation must accompany the film, plans, etc.;
  4. The length of the thesis is not important, though it should be no longer than is required to achieve its goals; and
  5. If the thesis is drawn from a group project, each individual must carry out and submit a self-contained topic and product for their thesis.


Non-Traditional Thesis Options

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:

  1. Client-Linked Thesis
  2. Design Thesis
  3. Media Thesis


Client-Linked Thesis

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:

  1. MCP students will ideally elect the client-linked thesis option by the second week of their third semester and will have identified a sponsoring client organization by this time.
  2. A faculty thesis advisor will be identified and confirmed by October 1 (or March 1 if the spring term is their 3rd semester).
  3. Students completing a client-linked thesis work with a faculty member with professional planning experience to address the issues associated with completing a client/sponsor project and producing a professional project report. Such issues include the client/sponsor role, communication and relationship, appropriate planning methods and analysis, and professional report content and format.
  4. Students complete a thesis proposal under the supervision of their thesis advisor (who must be a member of the DUSP faculty) and with client/sponsor input. The client/sponsor becomes similar to the role of the “reader”. The final thesis proposal is to be signed by both the thesis advisor and client.
  5. Both the thesis advisor and client/sponsor consult on assigning a final thesis grade. As with other MCP theses, the submitted thesis is signed by the faculty thesis advisor.


Design Thesis

approved by MCP committee 3/13.

A Design Thesis can be of two forms: Design or Design Research.

Design:
The student's thesis is a design project that would be fully articulated in a series of design drawings, and discussed in an accompanying brief written component (under 3000 words). Theoretically the breakdown of content would be 75% design and representation, 25% written.

Design Research:
The student's thesis is a set of analytical drawings based on research of a physical design issue accompanied by equal written component. Theoretically the breakdown of content would be 50% analytic drawings and representation, 50% written.

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.


Media Thesis

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 Experience

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:

  1. Thesis Preparation: Completed by taking a department offered Thesis Preparation subject in the second or third semester or petitioning the MCP Committee to undertake thesis preparation in another context. (See sec:thesis-preparation)
  2. Thesis Proposal: Completed during a Thesis Preparation subject or in another approved context. The Proposal must be signed by the thesis advisor by the given deadline at the end of the semester.
  3. Thesis: Completed under the direction of an Advisor and Reader who constitute the Thesis Committee (see details under sec:thes-advis-reso). When theses are completed and final grades have been determined by the Thesis Committee, 24 units of credit are allotted, with that final grade attached. The MIT transcript will indicate a grade of “J” or “U” for the thesis preparation; the grade for the thesis will be given following its completion.
  4. Thesis Defense & Submission: A thesis defense must be held at least ten days prior to the official due date. Following the approval of the thesis by the committee, two copies of the thesis, formatted to Institute specifications and signed by the student and the faculty advisor must be presented to the Student Services office on the date noted in the DUSP Calendar.


Thesis Preparation

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)


Overview.

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:


Subject offerings and schedule.

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.


Thesis Prep content.

It is expected that Thesis Prep courses will provide instruction and assistance to students in developing the following:

And if possible, a theoretical framing that permits the student to understand how their work is situated within larger inquiries and understandings of urban studies and planning.

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 advisor selection and timing.

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:

October 5.
Students develop a one-page thesis proposal that can be shared with faculty. Thesis Prep instructors suggest possible faculty `matches' for each students, and share these student `matches' with faculty. Students may not contact faculty prior to this date.
November 1.
Students present their developing thesis ideas in a public session(s) open to faculty and potential advisors (any format). By this point, students should have made contact with at least one faculty member in DUSP regarding possible thesis advising.
November 25.
Students are required to have confirmed a thesis advisor.

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.


Fulfilling the Requirement

The department offers two main options for thesis preparation:

  1. Enrollment in one of the Department's Thesis Prep subjects: Students intending to begin their thesis over the summer should enroll in thesis prep in the Spring semester. All others should enroll in thesis prep in the Fall semester.

  2. Thesis preparation in another context: Student may petition to prepare for thesis and develop a proposal under the supervision and guidance of a DUSP faculty member in another context. Typical versions of this option will be either to develop the proposal as an adjunct to a subject in the student's substantive area of research interest, or to develop the proposal in the context of an on-going research project. This option is intended for students who have a more definitive idea of their topic and a faculty member they would like to work with as their thesis advisor.

    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.


Thesis Proposal

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:

  1. A brief description of the specific questions and issues to be addressed;
  2. A description of the relevance and importance of the subject;
  3. Goals in undertaking this particular thesis;
  4. A description of the research and analytical methods to be used to address the research question and goals;
  5. An outline of the final document, including a preliminary organization of chapter titles (a narrative may be substituted for the outline);
  6. Sources of data to be used (for example, interviews, library research, surveys, field observations) and a description of how the data will be analyzed;
  7. The schedule of dates for completion of the major tasks, from data collection to analysis, drafting, revision, initial defense, and final revision and submission (see below); and
  8. A list of committee members on the proposal cover sheet.


Thesis Advising

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.


Advisor Selection.

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)


Expectations.

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 resources.

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 meetings.

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 feedback and deadlines.

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 writing.

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.


Thesis defense and acceptance.

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).


Thesis Deadlines

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:


A Realistic Schedule (Typical Thesis)

September (or February for second semester thesis preparation)

  1. Register for Thesis Prep 11.THG.

October (or March)
  1. Draft a thesis memo as a discussion document.
  2. Meet with one or more prospective faculty advisors.
  3. Identify a thesis advisor by the end of the month.
  4. Meet to discuss thesis goals, methodology, resources, schedule.
  5. Use a thesis prep seminar to perform “pre-thesis” exploration and to obtain feedback from advisor and other faculty members, if helpful.

  6. Draft a thesis proposal and circulate it.

November (or April)
  1. Select reader and any additional thesis committee members.
  2. Start thesis research; review relevant theory and literature.

December (or May)
  1. Submit final, signed thesis proposal.
  2. Discuss January (or summer) thesis plans with advisor.
  3. Present semester work plan to advisor and committee members.
  4. Make January (or summer) research arrangements.
  5. Continue thesis research.

January
  1. Continue thesis research.
  2. Make up incomplete grades and finalize any other administrative issues.

February-March
  1. Register for thesis (11.THG).
  2. Complete the Degree application on WebSIS by the end of the first week of classes
  3. Review Institute thesis specifications available online at: http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/thesis-specs/index.html.
  4. Circulate thesis drafts.

April
  1. Circulate second thesis drafts.
  2. Receive feedback from all committee members on all successive drafts.
  3. Schedule the oral defense (typically for early May).
  4. By required date, present committee members with a copy of the thesis that can be defended in the oral exam.

May
  1. Hold the thesis defense at least ten days prior to the official due date.

  2. Make revisions on the “approved thesis” and present two copies on archival paper to Student Services.


Resources

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:

  1. Students who want to browse possible research topics may consult previously completed theses available online at MIT's D-Space (http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7582).
  2. Thesis prep seminars offered by the department.
  3. Advice and guidance on writing is available for both general and specific problems. Information describing these resources in more detail can be found in the Writing section of this handbook.
  4. Informal student support groups. Students regularly arrange to meet and discuss questions of common interest with others who are working on related thesis topics, or who are at the same stage of thesis writing. Typically these groups are initiated by students. Some thesis preparation seminars have decided to continue informally through the spring semester.


Completion of Thesis During Summer

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.


Dual Graduate Degrees

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.


Dual Degrees in Planning and Architecture

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).


When to Apply?


Dual Degree in Planning and Transportation

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.


When to Apply?


Dual Degree in Planning and Real Estate

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.


When to Apply?


Dual Degree in Planning and Sloan School of Management

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.


When to Apply?


Urban Design Certificate Program

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.


Accelerating the MCP Program

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.


Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning (SM)

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.



Footnotes

... situations.1
Completion of the Urban Design Certificate satisfies this requirement as well.