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

Stay tuned for the announcement of Mission 2022!

Starting fall 2017, students enrolled in Terrascope confront the challenge of adapting to the impacts of climate change over the next 50 years. Class of 2021 first-year students in Terrascope will chart a path forward for two coastal communities – MIT and our host city Cambridge, and southern Bangladesh.

Terrascope Academic Year:

In the fall term (Subject 12.000 “Solving Complex Problems”), Terrascope students work in teams to develop solutions to their Mission and present these solutions to a panel of decision-makers and experts. In the spring term, students have the chance to design and prototype specific technologies that address problems they have identified in Subject 2.00C/1.016/EC.746 (“Design for Complex Environmental Issues”). In a separate class (Subject SP.360, “Terrascope Radio”), students create a radio program that communicates their ideas to the wider public. Additionally, a spring-break trip enables students to travel to see first hand the problem they have been working on all year.

Each Year’s Mission is Made of:

Solving Complex Problems

In the program’s cornerstone fall subject, 12.000, first-year students work as an interdisciplinary team to design a viable solution for the year’s Mission.


In the fall, students present their final design before a panel of experts and develop a website to provide a detailed description of their plan. Final projects for spring classes are presented at a Bazaar of Ideas and a public radio broadcast.

Spring Classes + Field Trip

Terrascope offers optional spring classes: SP.360 – Terrascope Radio, and 2.00C/1.016/EC.746 – Design for Complex Environmental Issues; and a week-long field trip over spring break.


Terrascope offers weekly lunches during the semester, other year-round outings and activities, and 24-hour access to the Terrascope lounge (located in the center of campus).

Missions and Spring Break Destinations: