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MIT Course Catalog 2014-2015

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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 his or her 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 given in Part 2 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 several 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 in the graduate admissions application packet. Fees will not be returned to late applicants, but may be applied to an application considered in the next term. Candidates for admission who are also applicants for financial aid should observe the same deadlines.

All applicants are encouraged to apply online. The online and downloadable applications are available on the Graduate Admissions website, Sloan School of Management application forms are available on the Sloan website,

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

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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.

Students whose native language is not English and whose schooling has not been predominantly in English may be required to submit scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please check the Graduate Application for the requirements of your department. Students wishing to take the IELTS or the TOEFL should do so no later than December 31. Inquiries about specific testing requirements for admission should be addressed to the appropriate graduate department.

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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 a degree program and are interested in taking classes as a non-degree student at MIT must apply through MIT's Advanced Study Program. The Advanced Study admissions committee reviews applications on a rolling basis. Admissions decisions are usually made within two weeks of application submission. Applications may be submitted up to nine months before the semester in which the student wishes to begin. More information and the application can be found on the Advanced Study website,

Students enrolled at another university who wish to study subjects not offered at the home university may apply to MIT as a Special Student through the Admissions Office. Applications for the specific subjects will be evaluated and approved by the Office of Admissions and the graduate committee of the appropriate department or departments. 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. A new fee is required after two sequential terms. 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. Students should visit the Special Student website,, to download the Special Student application.

Deadlines for filing applications are August 1 for fall term, January 1 for spring term, and May 1 for summer term. Deadlines for international student applicants are June 1 for fall term, November 1 for spring term, and March 1 for summer term. International students living outside the United States are not permitted to apply for the summer term.

A student who is neither a United States citizen nor a United States Permanent Resident is considered an International Student. The form 1-20 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 for international special students as well as the downloadable application can be found at the Special Student 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 the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory 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 the Draper Laboratory 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 the Draper Laboratory 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.

Other Employment

A graduate student may not interrupt an academic program to accept employment on the academic, administrative, or research staff, or as an hourly employee at MIT, the Lincoln Laboratory, or the Draper Laboratory either during the academic year or the summer, without the approval of the department head and the appropriate academic dean, and unless the work as an employee is unrelated to the student's thesis research. A thesis release form indicating such approval must be submitted to the appropriate personnel officer to effect such employment. A graduate student may not include in his or her thesis any material based in whole or in part upon work done while holding an academic or research staff appointment.


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