Faculty propose new Course 6 and 11 joint major

Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science program to be voted on in May

The motion to establish a new joint major that combines Courses 6 and 11 was introduced at the faculty meeting April 18. Faculty will vote on the major in May.

The major, called Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science, will require the fundamental classes of both Course 6 (such as 6.00 and 6.042) and Course 11 (such as 11.001 and 11.188). Students will then be able to choose from a wide range of classes in both departments.

One of the main motivations for the major, is that technologies such as autonomous vehicles are rapidly becoming a part of society. “Autonomous vehicles are going to have a major impact on cities,” EECS Associate Department Head Saman Amarasinghe said in an interview with The Tech.

New York University, the University of Chicago, and Northeastern University already have a similar major in place. Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, among other schools, are in the process of developing one. MIT wants to “lead rather than follow in this emerging field,” Eran Ben-Joseph, head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, said at the faculty meeting.

According to Amarasinghe and DUSP Lecturer Ezra Glenn, the two departments hope that students of the joint major will, on the computer science side, learn how to program, deal with data and machine learning, and build systems, and on the urban studies side, learn about policy making, ethics, and city design.

Students who declare this new major will also easily be able to switch to either Course 6 or 11 if they change their minds, according to Amarasinghe.

After almost two years of preparation, the major is anticipated to be available fall 2018.

Update 4/26/18: The article was updated to clarify that the motion to establish the new major was introduced and not passed at the April 18 faculty meeting. The major's title is also Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science, not Urban and Computer Science.