In the years to come, solutions to the complex global problems, which are increasingly urban, will require an understanding of large amounts of data and a facility with analysis, visualization, sensors, and even the integration of artificial intelligence into planning and policy-making contexts in a democratic and ethical manner. At the same time, the fields of computer science and machine learning can benefit from the urgency and “hands-on” nature of the sorts of challenges presented in policy-making and urban planning contexts and can lead to democratic and ethical innovations of technology. In short: urban planners have excellent problems, and computer scientists have excellent tools.

The 11-6 degree aims to help undergraduates use their computer science skills to make positive social impacts. Students will learn the theory and practice of (1) urban planning and policy-making including ethics and justice; (2) statistics, data science, geospatial analysis, and visualization, and (3) computer science, robotics, and machine learning.

To accomplish these ends, the required subjects include core courses in both computer science and urban planning fundamentals, as well as lab and project-based courses that will help students synthesize and integrate across the two departments. On the Urban Studies and Planning side, students will also receive a grounding in the political, sociological, legal, and ethical aspects of collecting and using new information flows. On the Computer Science side, they will enhance their skills in programming, statistics, data visualization, applied spatial analysis and machine learning.

For the predominantly technically-minded undergraduates at MIT, working within real urban contexts and environments will expose them to:

  • Fundamental and socially-relevant questions of equity, fairness, diversity, and implementation in a global context;
  • Specific applications of technology and systems in environmental management, transportation, infrastructure financing, cybersecurity, provision of housing, and job creation.
  • Diverse contexts in which technology is tested and used, especially at the critical intersections between government and industry; policy-making and implementation; and in both the developed and developing world.


Read more on Events

Degree Requirements

6.100A      Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python
6.100B      Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science
6.1010      Fundamentals of Programming
6.1200[J]  Mathematics for Computer Science
6.1210      Introduction to Algorithm
11.001[J]   Introduction to Urban Design and Development
11.188       Urban Planning and Social Science Laboratory (CI-M)
Select one of the following options:
Option 1 (12 units)       6.3800   Introduction to Inference
Option 2 (24 units)       18.06    Linear Algebra   
                                     OR   18.C06    Linear Algebra and Optimization
                                     6.3900    Introduction to Machine Learning
Select one of the following subjects:
6.4590[J]   Foundations of Information Policy
11.002[J]   Making Public Policy
11.011   The Art and Science of Negotiation
11.165   Urban Energy Systems and Policy
*6.4590[J] and 11.165 can count towards either the Urban Planning Requirements or the Urban Science Electives, but not both.

Select One of the Following Options
11.007      Urban and Environmental Technology Implementation Lab
11.138      Crowd Sourced City: Civic Tech Prototyping
11.154      Big Data, Visualization, and Society
*11.007, 11.138, and 11.154 can count towards the Urban Technology Workshop or the Urban Science Electives, but not both.

Advanced Computer Science Electives | a minimum of 27 units 
Three Urban Science Electives | a minimum of 30 units
6.1020      Elements of Software Construction
6.1040      Software Studio
6.1060      Software Performance Engineering
6.1100      Computer Language Engineering
6.1120      Dynamic Computer Language Engineering
6.1220[J] Design and Analysis of Algorithms
6.1800      Computer Systems Engineering
6.1820[J] Mobile and Sensor Computing
6.1920       Constructive Computer Architecture
6.2040       Analog Electronics Laboratory
6.2050       Digital Systems Laboratory
6.2060       Microcomputer Project Laboratory
6.2061       Microcomputer Project Laboratory - Independent Inquiry
6.2090       Solid-State Circuits
6.2200       Introduction to Electric Power Systems
6.2220       Power Electronics Laboratory
6.2221       Power Electronics Laboratory - Independent Inquiry
6.2530       Introduction to Nanoelectronics
6.3100       Dynamical System Modeling and Control Design
6.3260[J] Networks
6.3720       Introduction to Statistical Data Analysis
6.3730[J] Statistics, Computation and Applications
6.4130[J] Principles of Autonomy and Decision Making
6.4210       Robotic Manipulation
6.4400       Computer Graphics
6.4510       Engineering Interactive Technologies
6.4830[J] Fields, Forces and Flows in Biological Systems
6.4860[J] Medical Device Design
6.5081       Multicore Programming
6.5151       Large-scale Symbolic Systems
6.5831       Database Systems
6.5931       Hardware Architecture for Deep Learning
6.6331       Fundamentals of Photonics
6.7201       Optimization Methods
6.8301       Advances in Computer Vision
6.8371       Digital and Computational Photography
6.8611       Quantitative Methods for Natural Language Processing
6.8701       Computational Biology: Genomes, Networks, Evolution
6.8711[J] Computational Systems Biology: Deep Learning in the Life Sciences
6.8721[J] Principles of Synthetic Biology
6.8801[J] Biomedical Signal and Image Processing
6.C01        Modeling with Machine Learning: from Algorithms to Applications
2.00A       Fundamentals of Engineering Design: Explore Space, Sea and Earth
4.032       Design Studio: Information Design and Visualization
4.432       Modeling Urban Energy Flows for Sustainable Cities and Neighborhoods
6.4590[J]   Foundations of Information Policy
11.007       Urban and Environmental Technology Implementation Lab
11.024       Modeling Pedestrian Activity in Cities
11.074       Cybersecurity Clinic
11.113       The Economic Approach to Cities and Environmental Sustainability
11.123       Big Plans and Mega-Urban Landscapes
11.137       Financing Economic Development and Housing
11.138       Crowd Sourced City: Civic Tech Prototyping
11.148       Environmental Justice: Law and Policy
11.154       Big Data, Visualization, and Society
11.155[J]  Data and Society
11.156       Healthy Cities: Assessing Health Impacts of Policies and Plans
11.158       Behavioral Science and Urban Mobility
11.165       Urban Energy Systems and Policy
11.169       Global Climate Policy and Sustainability
12.010       Computational Methods of Scientific Programming
15.276       Communicating with Data
IDS.012[J] Statistics, Computation and Applications
IDS.060[J] Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Pollution Prevention and Control
*6.4590[J] and 11.165 can count towards either the Urban Planning Requirements or the Urban Science Electives, but not both.

*11.007, 11.138, and 11.154 can count towards the Urban Technology Workshop or the Urban Science Electives, but not both.

Select one of the following options:
Option 1 Option 2
MIT UROP (No more than 6 units)
6.UAR   Seminar in Undergraduate Advanced Research (CI-M)
11.THT[J]     Thesis Research Design Seminar (CI-M)
11.THU        Undergraduate Thesis

Students who apply for a course petition should first submit a petition form and contact their advisor for a brief consultation. Students need to explain why the petition is necessary and how it fits into their curriculum. Advisor will evaluate the feasibility of each case and endorse a petition request to DUSP undergraduate administrator. For more specific questions, students should contact DUSP undergraduate administrator Sandra M. Elliott (sandrame@mit.edu).  



Do you have questions about the major, classes, or on-going research? Want to get involved with the new major or discuss how 11-6 would prepare you for future endeavors? Listed below are volunteer faculty and staff who are eager to answer your questions, please reach out to them directly via the provided email address.

ebj's picture
Eran Ben-Joseph
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
Eran Ben-Joseph is the Class of 1922 Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eran served as Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT from 2013 to 2020.
sew@mit.edu's picture
Sarah Williams
Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning
Sarah Williams is an Associate Professor of Technology and Urban Planning. She also is Director of the Civic Data Design Lab at MIT's School of Architecture and Planning. The Civic Data Design Lab works with data, maps, and mobile technologies to develop interactive design and communication strategies that expose urban policy issues to broader audiences. Trained as a Geographer (Clark University), Landscape Architect (University of Pennsylvania), and Urban Planner (MIT), Williams's work combines geographic analysis and design. Williams is most well known for her work as part of the Million Dollar Blocks team which highlighted the cost of incarceration, Digital Matatus which developed the first data set on a informal transit system searchable in Google Maps, and a more a recent project that uses social media data to understand housing vacancy and Ghost Cities in China.
ydh@mit.edu's picture
David Hsu
Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning
David is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research and teaching areas focus on how to use environmental policy and planning to shape cities to become more efficient in their use of resources, more livable, and healthier. Much of his work seeks to assist local policymakers and environmental advocates directly in the stages of policy design and implementation.
jf's picture
Joe Ferreira
Professor, Post-Tenure
Professor Ferreira was the founding director of the Planning Department's Computer Resource Lab and is now head of Urban Information Systems. He teaches analytical methods and computer-based modeling for planning and urban management including courses involving extensive use of geographic information systems (GIS) and database management. Both Prof. Ferreira's undergraduate degree (in electrical engineering) and his PhD degree (in operations research) are from MIT. His research uses GIS and interactive spatial analysis tools to model land use, transportation, and environmental interactions and to build sustainable information infrastructures for supporting urban and regional planning. He is a past-president of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and has been principal investigator of numerous research projects studying job‐housing balance, urban performance measures, and urban information infrastructure. His current research includes the Future Urban Mobility project within the Singapore/MIT Alliance for Research and Technology where he is the SMART Research Professor of Urban Information Systems.
asevtsuk's picture
Andres Sevtsuk
Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning
Andres Sevtsuk is a Charles and Ann Spaulding Career Development Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, where he also leads the City Form Lab. His work bridges urban design with spatial analysis and urban technology. He has led various international research projects; exhibited his research at TEDx, the World Cities Summit and the Venice Biennale; and received the President’s Design Award in Singapore, International Buckminster Fuller Prize and Ron Brown/Fulbright Fellowship. Before joining MIT, Andres was an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He holds a PhD from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and an SMArchs in Architecture and Urbanism from MIT.
dignazio's picture
Catherine D'Ignazio
Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning
Catherine D'Ignazio is an Assistant Professor of Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She is also Director of the Data + Feminism Lab which uses data and computational methods to work towards gender and racial equity, particularly as they relate to space and place. D'Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and hacker mama who focuses on feminist technology, data literacy and civic engagement. Prior to joining DUSP, D'Ignazio was an Assistant Professor of Data Visualization and Civic Media at Emerson College in the Journalism Department, taught for seven years in the Digital + Media graduate program at Rhode Island School of Design and did freelance software development for more than ten years. She holds an MS from the MIT Media Lab, an MFA from Maine College of Art, and a BA in International Relations (Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Tufts University.
Cong Cong's picture
Cong Cong
Lecturer of Urban Science and Planning
Cong Cong is a Lecturer of Urban Science and Planning at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Her research focuses on using data, computing and informatic tools to inform more effective decision-making. She explores the intersection of computer science and urban planning and uses large-scale urban modeling, spatial big data analysis, and mapping and visualization as exploratory techniques. Her recent work highlights ways for open data and open-source tools to better support planning tasks.
ehuntley's picture
Eric Huntley
Lecturer of Urban Science and Planning
Eric Huntley joined DUSP in August 2017 as a Technical Instructor of GIS, Data Visualization and Graphics. Huntley's work combines methods and forms of representation in novel ways to produce compelling and visually-rich narratives that draw from geography, data science, and design. He has years of GIS teaching experience and an expansive skillset that includes data visualization, GIS and spatial analysis, web mapping, urban design representation, and media production. His design work has been exhibited at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning.


Do you have general questions about the 11-6 major such as: is this the right major for me? How can I be involved as a faculty advisor? Feel free to reach out to any of the individual faculty or staff members above or contact Sandra M. Elliott (sandrame@mit.edu).