Study at Other Universities

There are a number of opportunities for MIT undergraduates to study at other universities, including study abroad, domestic study away, and cross-registration programs with local universities. Students who spend a term or a year studying abroad or at another US university find that in addition to the intellectual benefit, they are enriched by day-to-day exposure to different cultural and/or social experiences. Through the cross-registration programs students may take subjects not offered at MIT.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Cambridge-MIT Exchange Program

Through the Cambridge-MIT Exchange Program (CME), MIT undergraduate students can spend their junior year studying at the University of Cambridge in England.

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge consists of 31 self-governing colleges where students live and study in a supportive educational environment. Lectures, laboratories, and project work are organized by the university; the colleges organize small-group sessions ("supervisions") designed to complement the lectures. In addition to teaching, research is of major importance at Cambridge. Since the beginning of the 20th century, more than 60 members of the University of Cambridge have won Nobel Prizes.

MIT students who study for a year at Cambridge receive sufficient transfer credit to permit normal progress toward their MIT degree. Participating departments include Aeronautics and Astronautics; Biology; Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; Economics; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; History; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; and Physics.

Interested students should discuss their plans with CME faculty coordinators in the departments as early as possible and should plan to apply to CME in January of their sophomore year (the exact deadline is posted on the website each year).

While on the exchange, MIT students pay tuition to MIT; they are billed at Cambridge for the costs of room and board only. While away at Cambridge during the fall and spring semesters, a student maintains full-time student status at MIT.

MIT-Madrid Program

The MIT-Madrid Program gives students the opportunity to study in Madrid at leading Spanish universities for the spring term during their sophomore or junior year. Depending upon major and interests, students can choose engineering courses at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and/or science, humanities, arts, and social sciences courses at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (all courses are taught in Spanish). In addition to academic courses, students can participate in an internship during this program. Students who plan to participate in MIT-Madrid must be in good academic standing and have Spanish language fluency at the Spanish IV level. MIT-Madrid Program participants are placed individually with Spanish families in homestays.

IAP-Madrid Programs

Two study abroad programs in Madrid are offered during IAP. The IAP-Madrid Program is an intensive Spanish II language program taught by MIT faculty in Madrid and it is open to MIT undergraduate and graduate students. Students planning to participate in this program need to have Spanish language fluency at the Spanish I level. The Global Literature Cultural Encounters course is taught in English by MIT faculty members. Students participating in either program are placed with Spanish families in homestays.

Departmental Exchange Programs

Several MIT departments offer exchange programs that swap MIT students with peers from other universities.

The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics offers an exchange program with the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

The Department of Architecture has two exchange programs, one with Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and the other with the University of Hong Kong.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has three exchange programs: with Oxford University, Imperial College London, and the University of Tokyo.

The Department of Political Science has an exchange program with Sciences Po in France. This program is open to students in all majors who are interested in taking courses in social sciences and/or humanities at Sciences Po. Participating students can choose courses in English and/or French.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering has two exchange programs: with ETH-Zurich in Switzerland and the University of Tokyo. Students participating in the ETH-Zurich Exchange can take courses in English and/or German, while students participating in the University of Tokyo Exchange take courses in English.

The Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering has two exchange programs: with Imperial College London and the University of Tokyo (courses in English).

The following departments participate in the Imperial-MIT Summer Research Exchange: Aeronautics and Astronautics, Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Physics, and Nuclear Science and Engineering.

Other Study Abroad Options

MIT students may also apply for admission directly to foreign institutions that offer study abroad programs or to a study abroad program administered by another US institution or study abroad provider. Examples of such opportunities include l'École Polytechnique in France, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and other UK institutions, and a number of programs in China.

Students interested in study abroad should meet with a staff member in Global Education and work out their plans with a faculty advisor and appropriate transfer credit examiner(s) in the department. They also must complete a Worksheet for Planning Study Abroad/Domestic Study Away in order to gain approval for study abroad. While on an approved study abroad program during the fall and/or spring term(s), a student maintains full-time student status at MIT. Although it is most common to study abroad during the junior year, it is possible to participate in a study abroad program in the sophomore year or, in some cases, in the senior year. Study during IAP and/or summer are popular options for any undergraduate year.

Financial aid is portable for semester or year study abroad programs. Students who receive financial aid at MIT are advised to discuss their study abroad plans with the Student Financial Aid Office at least one term prior to the term in which they wish to commence study abroad. This will help students develop the best possible financial plans for their time abroad. Global Education has funding available for IAP and summer programs, and can also help students apply for external study abroad scholarships.

Numerous institutions offer programs abroad taught in English. It is possible to study in a foreign country without prior knowledge of the host country's language. However, a working command of the language can add greatly to the overseas experience. Even a student without prior language skills can usually achieve a good level of proficiency in a foreign language by the beginning of the junior year if he or she begins language study by spring term of freshman year.

With proper planning and preparation, students who successfully complete an approved program of study abroad receive transfer credit toward their MIT degree. While at the host institution, students must arrange to have an official transcript sent directly to the MIT Registrar's Office showing coursework and final grade(s) completed at the outside institution. Upon return, they must submit a completed Request for Additional Credit Form, signed by the appropriate transfer credit examiner(s), and the SHASS Dean's Office, if applicable.

For further information, contact Global Education, 617-253-0676, or visit the website.

Domestic Study Away

Students may choose to spend from one term to one year studying at another academic institution within the US. Students studying at another US university through this option usually pay tuition to the outside institution rather than to MIT for these terms. While on an approved domestic study away program during the fall and/or spring term(s), students maintain full-time student status at MIT. Students interested in domestic study away should make an appointment with a staff member in Global Education.

To qualify for Domestic Year Away status, students must show that their proposed program of study draws upon resources available at the outside institution that are not generally available at MIT, or at the institutions with which MIT has cross-registration privileges. In addition, a planned program of study should be consistent with an overall degree program at MIT. Students must be accepted by a school of established academic merit and undertake a workload comparable to that at MIT. Students planning to spend time studying at another academic institution in the US need to work out their plans with a faculty advisor and appropriate transfer credit examiner(s), gain approval from their academic department, and complete and get signatures on a Worksheet for Planning Study Abroad/Domestic Study Away.

With proper planning and preparation, students who successfully complete an approved program of study at another US university receive transfer credit. While at the host institution, students must arrange to have an official transcript sent directly to the MIT Registrar's Office showing coursework and final grade(s) completed at the outside institution. Upon return, they must submit a completed Request for Additional Credit Form, signed by the appropriate transfer credit examiner(s), and the SHASS Dean's Office, if applicable.

For further information, contact Global Education, 617-253-0676.

Cross-registration Programs

Subjects taken through cross-registration programs with Harvard and Wellesley may be used to fulfill departmental major and minor requirements with the permission of a faculty advisor.

When appropriate, cross-registration subjects taken for a letter grade at Harvard and Wellesley may count toward fulfillment of the HASS Requirement; in most cases, students must submit a petition to the Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement. Subjects may be designated as part of the Concentration for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the discretion of the designated advisor in that field of concentration.

Harvard University

MIT undergraduates are permitted to take subjects at Harvard University (except Harvard Business School, Harvard Extension School, and Harvard Summer School) for degree credit at no extra charge. This cooperative arrangement is not applicable to the summer session. In general, MIT students take subjects at Harvard which are not offered regularly at MIT. Cross-registration is limited to upperclass students who must be regularly enrolled at MIT and paying full tuition for the term in question. No more than half of a student’s registration (up to a maximum of 24 units) may be taken at Harvard in any one term.

Where appropriate, Harvard subjects can count toward fulfillment of the HASS Requirement; in most cases, students must submit a petition to the Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement. Letter grades earned in Harvard subjects appear on the transcripts of MIT undergraduates. Detailed information about the Harvard cross-registration option for undergraduates is available online.

Wellesley College

MIT students may cross-register for any courses at Wellesley College if they present the necessary prerequisites. This exchange program is not applicable to IAP or the summer session. Wellesley is a small, liberal arts college for women located on a 500-acre campus 17 miles west of Cambridge.

Through the Wellesley Education Department, MIT students may earn Massachusetts certification to teach at the elementary or high school level. This certification is recognized by many other states.

Students generally cannot substitute Wellesley subjects for MIT Science Requirement subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Calculus) or Institute Laboratory Requirement subjects. They may take Wellesley subjects to satisfy Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirements, but need the approval of the Committee on Curricula.

When appropriate, Wellesley subjects can count toward fulfillment of the HASS Requirement; in most cases, students must submit a petition to the Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement.

Wellesley subjects may be used to fulfill departmental major and minor requirements with the permission of a faculty advisor.

For upperclass students, letter grades will be recorded for Wellesley subjects, unless the student designates a Wellesley subject as one of his or her two electives to be graded P, D, or F. Grades for freshmen will be converted to the MIT first-year grading system.

Students may take physical education classes at Wellesley on a space-available basis and may apply these classes toward their MIT physical education requirements. MIT students receive full library privileges at the Wellesley College Library.

Wellesley operates free weekday bus service between the two campuses. The service is open to everyone with an MIT or Wellesley identification card, but priority will be given to cross-registered students. The ride is about 50 minutes each way.

Detailed information on registration procedures is available online. The Exchange Office at Wellesley is located in Room 339C, Green Hall, 781-283-2325.

Massachusetts College of Art and Design

MIT undergraduates may cross-register at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), a highly respected art school in Boston with studio classes such as drawing, painting, and printmaking that are not offered for credit at MIT.

Classes taken at MassArt through the cross-registration program are graded P, D, or F and may not be used to satisfy Institute, departmental, or minor requirements. They may be used toward unrestricted elective credit. Only one subject from the school may be taken in a semester. This program is not applicable to IAP or the summer session.

Students must complete a cross-registration form, available in the Student Services Center, Room 11-120, by the deadline set by the MIT Registrar. Detailed information is available online.