Studying the Environment and Sustainability at MIT

Since 2017, ESI has administered a Minor in Environment and Sustainability open to all undergraduates at MIT, regardless of major. But there are plenty of other ways for students at MIT to infuse a deep understanding of environmental issues into their courses of study, and prepare themselves for meaningful careers confronting the historic challenges that face the natural world in the 21st century.


The departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences jointly offer a bachelor of science in Climate System Science and Engineering.

Concentrations and Tracks

Many departments allow students to pursue tracks or concentrations within their majors that engage closely with environmental issues:


Whether offered by individual departments, combinations of departments, or Institute-wide, numerous minors at MIT allow students to pair their majors with a substantive course of studies in sustainability:

The New Engineering Education Transformation (NEET) Program lets students add an intensive, hands-on set of interdepartmental courses and projects to their major studies focused on applied engineering knowledge. NEET students choose “threads” beginning in their sophomore years, including one on “Climate & Sustainability Systems”—with three available tracks in “Materials Machines,” “Energy Transition,” and “Digital Cities.”

Terrascope is a supportive learning community in which first-year students at MIT take ownership of their education as they address complex, real-world sustainability issues. Terrascope’s curriculum changes each year, with each class of students focusing on a different issue related to sustainability and Earth systems. Classes offered by Terrascope are open to all first-year undergraduates.

In D-Lab classes, students acquire competency in the participatory design process, understand and apply principles of engineering and design, engage in hands-on shop work, learn to think critically about theories of development, and obtain meaningful experiences in the field – all in preparation to continue socially and environmentally conscious work that addresses issues of global poverty.

Through the MCSC Climate & Sustainability Scholars Program, students will have a unique, year-long, interdisciplinary experience developing and implementing climate and sustainability research projects. Inspired by MIT’s SuperUROP program, the Climate & Sustainability Scholars Program has three elements: Climate.UAR course, experiential learning opportunities, and mentorship – allowing students to deepen their knowledge and real-world experience in the climate and sustainability spaces. Open to rising juniors and seniors.