The MCSC’s new Climate & Sustainability Scholars Program enables MIT undergraduates to have a unique, yearlong, interdisciplinary experience developing and implementing climate and sustainability research projects. Inspired by MIT’s successful SuperUROP program, the Climate & Sustainability Scholars Program has three elements: Climate.UAR course, experiential learning opportunities, and mentorship. Students in the program will enroll for a fall-spring sequence in a Climate.UAR course and will be engaged with a complementary research project during that time, which can be on or off campus. Students will also be encouraged to participate in on- or off-campus research or internships related to the MCSC during the summer. The program is open to rising juniors and seniors from all departments and all majors.

The timeline below highlights the main component(s) of the program happening during each semester.

Fall: 6-unit Climate.UAR Class with a focus on climate and sustainability topics + 10 hours/week of research

Spring: 6-unit Climate.UAR Class with a focus on research / experiential activities + 10 hours/week of research

Please Note: Climate.UAR is 12 units in total.

The course will be cross-listed in departments across all five schools and will be taught by an experienced and interdisciplinary team. The fall semester will include lectures on key topics in climate change science, decarbonization strategies, policy, environmental justice, and quantitative methods for evaluating social and environmental impacts. Students will simultaneously develop project proposals, participate in a UROP, and communicate their work using written and oral media.

The spring semester will build off the experiences gained during fall semester (and potentially previous summer and IAP experiences) with the goal of conducting further research on climate and sustainability topics and developing proposals for entrepreneurial or policy activities that would enable the research outcomes to be rapidly scaled for impact. There will be a showcase at the end of the year where students will have the opportunity to present posters highlighting the work that they have done throughout the year.

Climate.UAR is currently cross listed as 1.UAR/3.UAR/5.UAR/12.UAR/15.UAR/22.UAR.

Parallel to the Climate.UAR course activities, students will engage in experiential learning opportunities. During both semesters of the 2022-2023 academic year, this will consist of an advanced UROP with the potential for connection to industrial partners via MCSC activities. During the summer students will be strongly encouraged to participate in research at MIT on climate and sustainability topics, internships with MCSC industry members, and other ventures with links to sustainability. In future academic years, we hope to expand to other experiential learning opportunities.

Climate & Sustainability Scholars will engage with mentors drawn from MCSC affiliated faculty, postdoctoral Impact Fellows, and graduate students. There will also be opportunities for interaction with representatives of MCSC member companies.

The Climate & Sustainability Scholars Program course is representative of MIT’s ambitious and bold initiatives on climate and sustainability. It brings together faculty and students across the Institute to collaborate with industry on developing climate and sustainability solutions in the context of undergraduate education and research.

Applications are now closed. Please reach out to us at mcsc@mit.edu if you’d like to discuss next year’s timeline.

Q: Why is the application only open to rising junior and seniors?
A: The program is available during your junior and senior year to ensure students have enough coursework before they embark on it; students will dive into quantitative methods, so having background knowledge is important to your success in the program.

Q: Is there anything I should be focusing on now in order to be a good fit for the program in the future?
A: Taking climate and sustainability-related courses and engaging with a climate and sustainability UROP are helpful steps. Participating in climate and sustainability experiential learning opportunities will also prepare you well.

Q: Am I a good fit for this opportunity?
A: Any MIT undergraduate, entering their junior or senior year, who is interested in and has some coursework and experience in climate and sustainability would likely be an excellent fit!

Q: Will I have the chance to work directly with MCSC member companies as part of this program
A: Yes, Climate & Sustainability Scholars can engage in UROPs that involve MCSC member companies. The MCSC’s focus areas were established directly with the member companies, so there are many avenues and directions a student can take and still have the opportunity to partner with a company.

Q: Why should I do this program?
A: First, why not do this program?! In all seriousness, this is an excellent opportunity to dive into topics you’re passionate about, strengthen your interdisciplinary research skills, and build your climate and sustainability network.

Q: How do I choose a research project?
A: The Climate & Sustainability Scholars program faculty and staff will work each student admitted into the program to identify a suitable project. If you are already involved in a research project that you think would be a good fit, please let us know either in the application or after you’ve been admitted to the program! We’d love to help you continue to deepen your research work, if it also matches up with the learning goals of the program.

Q: How much will I get paid?
A: $25/hour for up to 10 hours per week of research during the fall and spring terms.

Q: How likely is it that I will get into the program?
A: Because this is the first year of the program, we don’t know how much interest there will be. We anticipate having at least 20 students in our inaugural class.

Q: What departments is the class Climate.UAR cross-listed with?
A: Climate.UAR is cross listed as 1.UAR/3.UAR/5.UAR/12.UAR/15.UAR/22.UAR

Q: Does this class count toward the Environmental and Sustainability (E&S) minor?
A: YES! If you have any questions about how to incorporate this program into your E&S minor, please reach out to Sarah Meyers at ESI.

Q: Is this the same as Course 6 SuperUROP?
A: The structure of the Climate and Sustainability Scholars program is inspired by the incredibly successful Course 6 SuperUROP program. Both programs are distinct from one another, but both have a yearlong class and yearlong advanced research project.

Q: What other departments, labs, and centers are you collaborating with?
A: We are in ongoing conversations with many units across MIT and in every School! Our current collaborations are in Courses 1, 3, 5, 12, 15, and 22. If you are interested in a department, lab, or center that’s not listed, please reach out! We will also update this webpage regularly as additional collaborations take shape!

Q: How is this connected to or different from NEET?
A: This is a different program than NEET, but if you are involved with NEET we can explore linking a UROP project between the two programs

Q: How is this connected to or different from 5.39?
A: This is a different program than 5.39, but if you are involved with 5.39 and have interest in the C&S Scholars program, we can explore linking a UROP project between the two programs