Regular Graduate Admissions

A regular graduate student is an individual who has been admitted to the Institute and who is registered for a program of advanced study and research leading to any of the post-baccalaureate degrees offered by MIT.

To be admitted as a regular graduate student, an applicant must normally have received a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. Applicants are evaluated by the department in which they propose to register on the basis of their prior performance and professional promise. These are evidenced by academic records, letters of evaluation from individuals familiar with the applicant's capabilities, and any other pertinent data furnished by the applicant. While high academic achievement does not guarantee admission, such achievement, or other persuasive evidence of professional promise, is expected.

A student registered in a program of study leading to the simultaneous award of the bachelor's degree and master's degree must apply for graduate study and be registered as a graduate student for at least one academic term (not the summer session) of their program of study.

Some engineering departments require students seeking a doctoral degree to qualify first for a master's degree.

Undergraduate Requirements for Advanced Degrees

In addition to preparation in the specific field of interest, most departments require significant work in mathematics and the physical sciences, but some require as little as a year of college-level work in these disciplines. Requirements of individual departments are described in their chapters of this catalog. Students with minor deficiencies in preparation may be admitted for graduate study; however, deficiencies in prerequisite or general or professional subjects must be made up before the student can proceed with graduate work dependent on them.

Application Procedures

Students normally begin graduate study in September. However, in select departments, suitable programs can be arranged for students entering in June or February. Prospective applicants should check with individual departments about their dates for admission and matriculation. Application deadlines vary by department. Deadlines are noted on the graduate admission application.

All applicants are required to apply online. Each department or program has its own online application with specific instructions. Department websites and application instructions may be found on the MIT Graduate Admissions website.

Inquiries about specific application and testing requirements, deadlines, and notification of decision for admission should be addressed to the appropriate graduate department or program.

International Graduate Admissions

Graduate student applicants who are citizens of countries other than the United States must have received a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical institute of acceptable standing. The academic record and all credentials must indicate the ability of the candidate to complete the approved program of graduate study and research. Applicants are evaluated by the academic departments. Admission is granted on a competitive basis. Competence in written and spoken English is expected.

English Language Proficiency Test Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English, including those currently enrolled in US institutions, must present evidence of their ability to carry on their studies in English.

Qualifying applicants must take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), or the Cambridge English Test (Advanced or Proficiency test); refer to department information for specific testing requirements, which vary.

Students who have received instruction in English in their primary and secondary schools may be eligible for a waiver of the English proficiency exam requirement. Also, students who have been in residence in the United States, or in another country where English is an official language, for three years or longer and have received a degree from an accredited institution there where English is the primary language of instruction, may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. In both cases, applicants may send a written request to the department or program to which they are applying, and should be prepared to provide verification of the institution’s language of instruction. If the applicant is admitted, the department or program will keep this information with the student’s records.

Please see Graduate Admissions for more information about considerations for international applicants.

Special Graduate Student Admissions

A special graduate student is one whose intended program of study is essentially graduate in nature but who is not a candidate for an advanced degree. Students holding a bachelor's degree or higher who are not currently enrolled in an MIT degree program and are interested in taking classes as a non-degree student at MIT must apply through MIT's Advanced Study Program. Deadlines for filing applications are May 1 for fall term and December 1 for spring term. The application and additional information may be found on the Advanced Study Program website.

Admission is valid only for one term; a student must seek readmission each term to continue at the Institute. Those applying for special graduate student status for the first time must pay an application fee. To be allowed to continue as a special graduate student, satisfactory academic performance must be maintained. Admission as a special graduate student does not imply any commitment toward an individual's admissibility to regular graduate student status

A student who is neither a United States citizen nor a United States Permanent Resident is considered an International Student. The form I-20 or DS-2019 will not be issued for subject registration of less than 36 units. Most subjects at MIT are either 9 or 12 units each. Detailed information about policies and procedures can be found at the Office of Graduate Education website.

Graduate Student Status for Research Staff Members

In view of their full-time responsibilities on assigned research and their corresponding salary scales, Institute research staff or employees of the Lincoln Laboratory or Draper may not be full-time regular graduate students, but may, under certain conditions, be granted the status of special graduate student. However, a research staff appointee or an employee of the Lincoln Laboratory or Draper who desires to work for an advanced degree must be admitted as a regular graduate student and must complete the residency and other requirements of the degree program to which the individual has been accepted. This individual may not continue to hold a research staff appointment, nor include any work completed while employed as part of the thesis for an advanced degree.

Any research staff appointee and any employee of the Lincoln Laboratory or Draper may, by written permission from the director of the division (or his or her designate), apply for admission as a special graduate student for enrollment in one subject only per term (but not thesis), either as a listener or for academic credit.

Acceptance for such enrollment will be granted if, in the opinion of the instructor, the individual is qualified to undertake the subject and if section size permits. For this type of enrollment, the student will be assigned to an appropriate registration officer and will pay, whether as a student or listener, the fee established at the special student rate.