Class of 2020: Enroll for Fall 2016

Each year, Terrascope students take on a new Mission – a challenge that asks freshmen to solve a real-world, environmental problem.

Class of 2020: Choose the Terrascope freshman learning community as your advising choice to join Terrascope.

Class of 2020:
your mission is to
develop a plan to maximize
the sustainability, resilience
and equity of cities
around the world by 2050.

Starting fall 2016, students enrolled in Terrascope will confront the challenge of remaking cities in the 21st century. Class of 2020 freshmen in Terrascope will chart a path forward for the worlds’ cities, from US cities seeking to reduce their environmental footprint to rapidly growing cities in developing nations seeking sustainable economic growth and social development.

Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities. The human future is largely an urban future. We must get urbanization right. - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Take these steps to join Terrascope:

Register for 12.000 Solving Complex Problems

Simply register for the subject 12.000 Solving Complex Problems (MWF at 3pm in 16-160). As a student in 12.000, you’ll exceed the freshman credit limit of 54 units – which is okay, even if you’re also register for Seminar XL.  Note: If your advisor has any questions about Terrascope or the credit limit exemption, they should feel free to ask us.

Look for Terrascope emails this summer

Keep an eye out for Terrascope emails sent from the Terrascope team:  Director, David McGee; Lecturer, Ari Epstein; and Administrator, Emily Martin.  Feel free to email all of us at the address: terrascope [at] mit [dot] edu.

Do you have questions?... Ask us!

Reach the Terrascope program administrator, Emily Martin, by email at or phone: 617-253-4074.

Terrascope Classes:

Mission 2020 Academic Year:

In the fall term (Subject 12.000, “Solving Complex Problems,”), you will work in teams to produce innovative templates for the future of cities; at the end of the semester you will present these plans to a panel of experts, the MIT community and the rest of the world (via global webcast). In the spring term, you will have the opportunity in Subject 1.016 (“Design for Complex Environmental Issues”) to get first-hand experience in design and fabrication as you work in small teams on hands-on engineering projects aimed at remaking cities. In a separate class (Subject SP.360, “Terrascope Radio”), you will learn to communicate these important ideas and concepts with members of the general public by creating engaging, informative, entertaining audio features. You will also have the option of taking part in a spring break trip to a region of the world at the heart of this year’s topic.