PhD Financial Aid

The financial aid information contained in this document is the policy that applies for students admitted to the doctoral program in the fall of 2017.

Each year the department offers a limited number of financial aid packages to incoming doctoral students. These packages provide full support during the first four years in the doctoral program, including full tuition plus a monthly stipend for the nine months of each of the four academic years, as well as single student health insurance for the entire four years. If you have been selected to receive one of these packages, the details will be spelled out in your letter of admission. Each semester, continuation of your financial aid is contingent upon maintaining full-time resident student status, and good academic standing.

Students who receive financial aid have teaching and research assistantship (TA/RA) work requirements that are detailed in the letter offering admission. In accordance with MIT policy, full RA and TA positions have a work requirement of 20 hours per week for the duration of each semester, defined as:

The doctoral stipend rate for the 2017–18 academic year is $3,050 per month, totaling $27,450 over the 9-month period. Stipends are paid monthly at the end of each month of the academic year.

A limited number of Research Assistantships on externally funded sponsored projects are available through individual faculty members who have a research grant, and occasionally through other departments with overlapping areas of interest. Research assistantships are typically either full-time or half time, and pay up to full tuition and stipend, prorated for assistantships that are less than full time. Thus, a 50% RA appointment would pay 50% of tuition and 50% of the full RA stipend for the term of the assignment. All students may apply for these positions, regardless of financial need or degree program. Sponsored research assistantships sometimes require specific skills, and principal investigators are free to choose the most qualified student(s).

Students who are receiving one of the departmental financial aid packages may apply for an externally funded RA and/or a TA assignment outside the Department. In this case some or all of their financial support may be paid from the project or other academic area rather than from the Department's financial aid budget. Such students do not lose their eligibility for department aid in the other semesters for which aid has been promised, and may be able to use such opportunities to extend their funding beyond the fourth year, contingent upon departmental approval. Students may not hold two positions simultaneously.

Similarly, a number of fellowship programs are administered by various parts of the Institute, and our students often apply for and receive such support. Students are informed of such opportunities as they become available.

All students admitted with or without aid are eligible to apply for loans at any time. The procedures for applying for loans at MIT are outlined on the Admitted Students web page below The Department of Urban Studies and Planning is not involved in administering any part of the loans program. If you intend to apply for a loan, be sure to file the necessary forms well in advance of arriving at MIT, so you have the administrative details out of the way when the semester begins. Questions about loans should be directed to:

Student Financial Services
Room 11-120
Phone: 617-258-8600
Fax: 617-258-0700

Students who are not U.S. citizens or who do not possess a permanent resident visa are not eligible for federal government loans, nor are they eligible for MIT loans during their first year at MIT. International students must be prepared to meet their expenses for the first year without recourse to loans from the Institute. Continuing international students should have a reasonable plan to meet their expenses at MIT, which must not be limited to MIT loans. All loans awarded by the Institute require a credit-worthy co-signer who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada.

Questions concerning this financial aid policy should be addressed to:

Karen Yegian, Administrative Officer
Room 7-337
Phone: (617) 452-2865

This financial aid policy is set each year in consultation with the department head, the administrative officer, and the Ph.D. Committee. Except for the specific commitments made in award letters, the Department may change aspects of this policy as necessary.