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School of Architecture and Planning

Course XI -- Urban Studies and Planning

There are relatively few undergraduates in Course XI -- 15 to be exact -- but the department tries to “off-balance the small program with service to other undergraduates in the Institute,” such as the two minor programs and a HASS concentration, said Course Secretary Sandra S. Wellford.

Within Course XI, there are two options: a purely Urban Studies track and a more technical track similar to the Environmental Engineering program offered in Course I. After graduation, many students take jobs concerning public policy issues. In addition, each year several students participate in DUSP’s five-year masters’ program. Students apply to the five-year program during their junior year and take the core masters requirements during their senior year, writing one thesis for both degrees.

In a program beginning last year, Course XI offers undergraduates several jobs with faculty members. These resemble UROPs but are available only to students in Course XI and are organized completely within the department. Additionally, “there are lots of contacts with internships,” said Jonna B. Anderson ’00, co-chair of the departmental student council.

The internship and job offers are a result of a student suggestion to course faculty, as is the annual departmental field trip. Two years ago, students visited Montreal during Spring Break; this IAP, 11 students traveled to London. “They learn about these cities in classes,” Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Mark J. Schuster said, “then get to see the actual site.”

Anderson refutes the “perception that Course XI is less quantitative” than other Courses, saying that she and her peers “balance these skills with interest in how they apply in the larger world... we’re not just interested in economics, but how it applies.”

Class sizes are small and comfortable: “A class with 25 students would be large by Course XI standards,” Schuster said. Last semester he taught a class of six students, two of whom were undergraduates.

There are more female students in Course XI than male but the faculty is predominantly male.

Graduates vastly outnumber undergrads in the department, but “undergraduates are always invited... [graduate students] are not exclusive at all” Anderson said. --Karen Robinson