Program Overview

Terrascope is a learning community for first-year students to solve complex, real-world problems starting in their first semester at MIT.

At the core of the Terrascope program is one basic but important idea: MIT students, even as first-year students, are ready to take control of their own education and to tackle big, important problems.  With each new class of first-year students, Terrascope explores a different global issue called a Mission – and it’s the students who take command of each Mission.  Our students work in teams to develop solutions, drawing on diverse perspectives, interdisciplinary research, and a supportive Terrascope community.

Like other programs in the MIT Office of Experiential Learning, Terrascope offers the advantages of a small, vibrant community, plus academic advising, a unique curriculum, and extracurricular activities.

What makes Terrascope different from other first-year learning experiences?

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Our Focus

Our curriculum changes each year, with each class of first-year students focusing on a different issue related to sustainability and Earth systems.

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Our Approach

First-year students take the lead in our project-based classes where teams work together to solve problems.

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Our Community

The Terrascope community comes together throughout the year, connecting first-year students with a support network of upperclassmen, MIT alumni, faculty, and staff.

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Our Reach

Students raise awareness of the importance of each year’s Mission via public presentations, a website, radio broadcast, and other outreach.

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Our Classes

Terrascope first-year students enroll in one fall subject (12.000 – Solving Complex Problems), as well as optional design and radio production classes in the spring.

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Our Spring Break

Over spring break, first-year students can go on a field trip to a site related to the year’s Mission.