A collection of subjects and requirements to be taken during the students two years in the MCP program constitute a core experience viewed as central to the professional program and consisting of an integrated set of subjects and modules designed to introduce planning practices, methods, contemporary challenges, and the economic and social institutions within which planners work. The core subjects and requirements include the following:
First Semester (Fall)
- 11.201 Gateway: Planning Action Communication
- 11.202 Gateway: Planning Economics
- 11.203 Microeconomics
- 11.205 Introduction to Spatial Analysis
- An introductory subject in the chosen specialization area:
- 11.301 Introduction to City Design Development
- 11.401 Introduction to Housing Community Development
- 11.601 Introduction to Environmental Policy Planning
- 11.701 Introduction to International Development Planning
Second Semester (Spring)
- 11.220 Quantitative Reasoning
- A practicum course– complete one of several designated courses that provide the opportunity to synthesize planning solutions within the constraints of client-based project
- A thesis preparation seminar in the area of specialization, taken during the second or third term of study
For more detailed course descriptions please visit: dusp.mit.edu/subjects
Through lectures, case studies, and hands-on experience, students become familiar with theories of planning and their application in professional practice. Students are encouraged to take one of the Department’s many workshop and studio subjects that engage planning issues in real-world settings. Entering students with significant knowledge in Microeconomics, Data Management and Spatial Analysis, or Quantitative Reasoning may test out of these requirements.
During the course of four semesters, students typically take about 14 subjects (in addition to thesis prep and thesis) from a selection of about 90 graduate subjects offered by the Department and additional courses offered elsewhere at MIT, Harvard and other area universities. Independent Activities Period (IAP) in January offers the opportunity to take additional short subjects or workshops or to conduct thesis research. Students must complete a total of 150 units of credit to graduate with a Master in City Planning degree.
The MCP program is designed to be completed in four semesters, but students can finish in three semesters if all requirements are met.
At the end of the first semester, students submit a program statement developed jointly by the student and faculty advisor confirming their area of specialization and the subjects they plan on taking in the remainder of the MCP program. Linked to career development goals, the program statement describes the purposes and goals of study, the proposed schedule of subjects, the manner in which competence in a specialization is developed, and an indication of a possible thesis topic.
In the second and third semesters, most students take advanced subjects in their area of specialization as well as a studio or workshop. There are also opportunities for research work and field placements.
In the second or third semester, students are required to take a thesis preparatory subject in their area of specialization. Each student chooses a thesis advisor and committee, and must complete an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of the semester.
The fourth semester is devoted to completing a thesis and rounding out course work leading to graduation. A thesis in the MCP program may take one of several forms: an independent scholarly research project guided by an advisor and readers; a directed thesis contributing to a larger research effort directed by a faculty member; or a professionally oriented thesis developed in the context of a studio or practicum course. In all cases the thesis must be a piece of original, creative work conceived and developed by the student.
Field Work and Internships
Students in the MCP program are encouraged to integrate field work and internships with academic course work. The Department provides a variety of individual and group field placements involving varying degrees of faculty participation and supervision, as well as a number of seminars in which students have an opportunity to discuss their field experience.
In addition, some students complete additional requirements for the department’s Environmental Planning Certificate and/or Urban Design Certificate .
Admission to the MCP Program is highly competitive. Approximately 55-60 new students enroll each year from an applicant pool of about 400+. Of these, 30 percent are international students, approximately 50 percent are women, and about 20 percent of domestic students are from underrepresented minority groups. Most applicants have strong academic records coupled with some field experience. Also considered are promising applicants who are changing fields. Applicants are urged to give considerable thought to their Statement of Objectives, which, coupled with experience and references, is the most important element of the admissions process.
Applications for the Fall will be available on September 15th. All online applications and supporting materials must be postmarked and/or submitted electronically by January 3rd. Students are accepted for September admission only. It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit all forms and supporting materials by the application deadline.
Detailed application instructions can be found in the Admissions section
For an application to be considered, the following materials must be submitted:
- A completed Graduate Application for Admission which includes:
- Statement of Objectives
- Record of Courses
- Financial Statement
- Resume or CV
- Three letters of recommendation from teachers, professionals, and/or others who know the applicant’s work (can be submitted online or by mail).
- Official and scanned transcripts from the registrar of each undergraduate and graduate college or university you attended.
- Official and scanned GRE scores
- Official and scanned TOEFL or IELTS scores (required for all applicants whose native language is not English, regardless if you have attended school in the United States). No exceptions will be made for this requirement. Permanent residents or US Citizens do not need to take the TOEFL exam.
- A non-refundable application fee of $75 paid by credit card at the time of submission of your online application.
MIT is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment and abides by its nondiscrimination policy in administering the admissions process.
Students may pursue dual degrees in virtually any other department at MIT, provided they are accepted for admission and complete degree requirements in each department. Some common dual degrees completed by planning students are with architecture, real estate development, transportation, and operations research. In addition to taking courses in other departments at MIT, students may cross-register at Harvard and other area universities, thereby allowing a wide range of course opportunities.
Simultaneous Degrees In Architecture And DUSP
Students admitted to the Department can propose a program of joint work in Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning that will lead to the simultaneous awarding of two degrees. Degree combinations may be MArch/MCP or SMArchS/MCP. All candidates for simultaneous degrees must meet the requirements of both degrees, but may submit a joint thesis.
Neither the Department of Architecture nor the Department of Urban Studies and Planning support petitions for the simultaneous award of two masters degrees with less than six regular semesters (fall and spring terms only) of residence and registration.