Graduate Admissions

Link to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All applications for the SM and PhD programs must be submitted online through GradApply by December 15, 2015 for Fall 2016 admission. Students are admitted as degree candidates only for September.  The Political Science GradApply website is at  

The admissions committee will not review late or incomplete applications.

All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Aptitude Test. The institution code is 3514. The department code is 1902.

If your language of instruction from primary school through college/university was not English, you must take either the TOEFL or the IELTS. We require a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test. On the IELTS you must score a minimum of 7. MIT only accepts official score reports; a photocopy will not be considered an official test score. Degrees from US or English-speaking ­universities are not accepted in lieu of TOEFL or IELTS. In limited cases the department will consider a waiver. Applicants must request the waiver form from the department. The instition code for the TDEFL is 3514 and the department code is 92.

It is advised that these tests be taken as early as possible as offiical scores from ETS should be received by the deadline.

Special Instructions
In your Statement of Objectives, please be sure to discuss the research questions you would like to pursue in your graduate studies. Please submit two other documents, both in .pdf format: a copy of your resume and a writing sample. The writing sample should be no more than 50 pages in length and is used to assess an applicant’s conceptual thinking and analytical skills. Therefore, please submit a writing sample that best represents your potential to conduct PhD-level research, such as a research paper or a portion of an undergraduate or master’s thesis. Writing samples are welcome from any discipline and do not need to be from a political science course.

Academic Transcripts
All applicants are required to scan and upload official transcripts with their applications. Accepted applicants will be required to provide a sealed official transcript from each school attended. Any discrepancy between the scanned and official transcript may result in a withdrawal of our offer of admission.

If you participated in a study abroad program and your coursework/credits are reflected on your home institution's official transcript, you do not need to list this or send an official transcript from that program.

If you attended a community college or university from which you did not receive a degree and transferred those credits to an institution from which you received a degree (for which you are submitting an official transcript) you do not need to list the community college/university or provide an official transcript.

Letters of Recommendation
We advise you to request letters of recommendation as soon as possible from individuals who can best evaluate your scholarly potential as a graduate student in political science. We ask that all recommendations be submitted electronically, using the online system. Use Letters of Recommendation and then Letter Status to ask for electronic recommendations and to check whether recommendations have arrived. You must e-mail your recommenders the instructions shown in Letter Status.

You may address additional questions about Political Science graduate programs and the application process to  or .

Privacy Policy
MIT is committed to protecting the individual privacy of applicants and students by restricting the use of all collected information as specified by Institute policies. In accordance with these policies, the information in your application may be used by MIT officials only for appropriate administrative and research purposes.

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Susan Twarog
Graduate Administrator

Diana Gallagher
Graduate Administrator's Assistant

Graduate Office