Prospective Physics Graduate Students

Thank you for considering the Ph.D. program in Physics at MIT.  Information regarding our graduate program and our application process can be found below and through the links on this page.  If your questions are not answered after reviewing this information, please contact us at

Graduate students with faculty member Steve Nahn
Graduate students with faculty member Steve Nahn.

A Ph.D. from MIT certifies high ability and significant accomplishment in physics. Because research is central to graduate study in physics, in your Statement of Purpose be sure to describe your research aptitude and achievements as completely as possible. Applications are evaluated only when they are complete.  It is to your advantage to have the application evaluated during the early stages of the admissions process.

The graduate application can be found and submitted online via the link below.  

Our application deadlines are:

  • for admission in September:
    • applications:  December 15
  • for admission in February:
    • all applications and supplemental material:  November 1

Receipt of your application will be acknowledged by email after the application deadline.  Once you have submitted an application online, you can re-enter the system to check the status of your application. Admissions decisions will be posted by approximately the beginning of March, and you may log into your online account at that point to find your decision.  In most cases, the results will be posted rather than mailed.  Information about decisions will not be given over the phone.
Your completed application must include:

  • MIT Graduate Admissions Online Graduate Application;in the Statement of Objectives, summarize your interests, academic and scientific achievements, research experience, and the research you hope to undertake as a doctoral student, if known;
  • an official undergraduate transcript from each institution attended.  This should be scanned and uploaded to your online application.  Please be sure that a list of fall term courses is included in this official transcript, or, if your institution does not list fall term courses on transcripts before grades are final, send an unofficial record of fall term courses, appended to your transcript and uploaded with it.   Send your fall term grades as soon as they are available by going back into your application and uploading either an unofficial report or an official transcript if possible.  A hard copy of your transcript may be requested later if additional processing is required; please do not send a hard copy of your transcript until we ask that you do so.
  • graduate transcript (if applicable);
  • three letters of recommendation.  Letters of recommendation are extremely important to us.  You should solicit letters from scientists with whom you have worked, if you have been involved in research; in all cases, seek letters from people who can provide concrete and detailed information about you and your scientific and academic abilities. Letters should be sent via the on-line application system.  Please note:  an optional fourth letter may also be sent through our system;
  • Graduate Record Examination score reports:  both the general exam and the physics subject tests are required.  Scores that are older than 5 years will not be considered.  Please arrange to take these examinations no later than the November ETS test date.   Candidates who take the exams after our deadlines will not be considered.

    Special instructions:
    Your online application will require you to attach an official electronic copy of your test scores. These will be available to you approximately one month after taking the exam. Please see for further information on score reporting..  MIT’s GRE code is 3514; the code for the Department of Physics is 0808.
  • all applicants whose first language is not English:  an English language test score report.  MIT Physics will accept scores from the following exams:  IELTS (International English Language Testing System), TOEFL, TOEFL iBT, and the C2 Cambridge English Proficiency exam.  Scores that are older than 3 years will not be considered.

    Special instructions: Your online application will require you to attach a scanned copy of your test score report. Official scores must also be sent directly to MIT from the testing service.  MIT’s TOEFL school code is 3514; the code for the Department of Physics is 76.  IELTS does not require a code; have these scores sent electronically to “Graduate Admissions - Massachusetts Institute of Technology."

With the exception of the language exam we do not maintain different admissions standards for International applicants. Additional information can be found by reviewing the links on this page.  For technical and requirement-related questions please email