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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I go on to do after completing this program?

The HASTS program attracts students from around the world who seek an interdisciplinary program that will prepare them primarily as professional scholars. Others have applied their training to careers in law, business, journalism, and museum work.

Do I need a Master's Degree to apply to the HASTS doctoral program?

No. The only degree requirement is an undergraduate degree, which can be from any academic discipline.

How can I find out more about whether this program is an appropriate fit for my academic background?

Students in the HASTS program come from a wide range of academic disciplines and professional spheres. Reading student and faculty bio pages may help to determine whether this program is right for you. Please see our Visiting HASTS page for other ways you can learn about our program.

How do I know if a certain faculty member is accepting new students for admission?

Our program does not admit students based on the availability of a particular faculty member. We admit students to the program as a whole, and students have until the end of their first year to select an advisor. During the first year, the programís Director of Graduate Studies serves as those studentsí advisor.

What kind of financial support is available for admitted students?

Funding for HASTS doctoral students includes five years of guaranteed support provided that the student maintains reasonable academic progress. This covers MIT tuition, 9 months of stipend, and 12 months of individual health insurance annually. Funding is provided through a combination of fellowships (including those that students earn on their own), teaching assistantships, and research assistantships.

Does MIT have on campus housing for graduate students?

Yes, MIT offers an expanding array of options for graduate and family housing on campus and provides information for students who wish to live off-campus.

Where can I see more information about general policies and procedures relating to graduate students at MIT?

On the Office of Graduate Education's website and the Graduate Admissions website.

My Application

What is the admissions committee looking for in my application?

We cannot give probabilities of acceptance. The admissions committee is made up of faculty from all three departments, and participants vary from year to year. Test scores are only one component of an application, and the admissions committee takes the entire application into consideration when making its decision. Essays describing research interest and intellectual direction are critical. Students should express long term interests in science and technology and their historical and social dimensions.

Is an interview or visit to the program necessary to be admitted?

Visits before the application deadline are not necessary. Top candidates will be contacted for on-campus interviews in February. If a candidate cannot travel to Cambridge, the interview may be done via telephone or video conference/chat.

Can I apply for spring enrollment?

No. Admitted students are required to begin the program in September.

Where do I send my application?

Instructions on how to apply can be found here. Please contact with any questions.

How are recommendations sent using the online application?

In section 2 of the online application (Letters of Recommendation) applicants should provide the name, email address, title and institution of their recommenders. After clicking on the "save" button, click on the "letter status" link. From there, applicants must cut and past the text provided into an email message and send the information to their evaluators directly. THE SYSTEM DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY SEND INFORMATION TO RECOMMENDERS. Applicants should check the letter status page periodically to find out who has submitted an evaluation through the system.

If an evaluator does not want to use the online evaluation form, he or she may mail the recommendation letter in a sealed envelope directly to the department:

Doctoral Program in HASTS
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, E51-163
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307


I have seen a "Subjects Taken" section in other versions of MIT application forms. Do I need to fill one out for HASTS?

This is not required, and therefore does not appear on the online application for the HASTS program.

Can MIT waive my $75.00 application fee?

The Office of Graduate Education has a application process for fee waiver requests. See their Application Fee Waiver page for more information, and please do your best to apply at least two weeks in advance of our application deadline to allow for processing time.

What kind of writing sample should I submit?

There are no parameters for the writing sample in terms of content, but its length should not exceed that of an article or chapter. When selecting a sample, keep in mind that admissions committee members will look at writing samples in order to evaluate applicantsí readiness to embark on graduate study. If you do not have a piece of current academic work to present, consider revisiting and revising an older research paper for submission.


Which transcripts do I need to submit?

Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended should be submitted. Applicants who participated in a study abroad/academic exchange do not need to provide a transcript from the host institution if the courses appear on their home institution's transcript.

How do I submit my transcripts?

Applicants should upload transcripts in section 7 of the online application (Colleges/Universities Attended) for each corresponding college or university. If your transcript has multiple pages or components, please combine all pages into one PDF so you can upload one file per degree received.

Applicants who are advanced to the interview stage of our admissions process will be required to provide an official, sealed transcript from each post-secondary school attended. An official transcript must be provided for every PDF uploaded into the application.

Can I have my college or university send my transcripts directly to you instead of scanning and uploading them?

We would much rather that the PDFs of the transcripts be directly uploaded into the application. However, if it is difficult for you to submit them this way, we will accept original transcripts that come in an envelope sealed by the institution. Please note that these must be received by December 10.

What if I don't have my grades/transcript from the current fall semester before the December 10th deadline?

Applicants should submit their most current transcripts possible. If the grades for the fall semester are not available early enough to submit your application on time, it is fine to submit the transcripts with grades up to the prior semester. Updated versions of transcripts may be emailed to, but if the applicant's file has already been read by a committee member, it will not be reviewed again.

Standardized Tests

I havenít received the paper TOEFL score report from ETS yet. Can I submit my application without it?

Yes. You should be able to see your Examinee Score Report by clicking on "ETS Account" on this page and logging in. Please make a PDF of this report and upload it.

Is the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) required for my application if I have studied in a US/English speaking institution?

Students whose native language is not English must take the IELTS or TOEFL.

Waivers must be requested by the applicant and are granted in limited cases. They will be granted to students who have received instruction in English throughout all of their primary and secondary schooling. Waivers will also be granted to students who will have spent four or more years studying in an accredited college or university where English is the language of instruction. A masterís degree alone is not accepted as proof of English proficiency.

To request a waiver, send an email to the program at Please submit waiver requests BEFORE the admissions deadline, so you have time to take the IELTS or TOEFL if your waiver is not approved.

What are the minimum score requirements for the IELTS and TOEFL?
A minimum score of 7 is required for the IELTS. For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 90 (internet-based; 577 on the paper-based) is required for visa certification. The exam must be taken and scores requested to be sent by December 10 (the same date the admissions application is due), in order for scores to be considered for admission. Test scores are valid for two years from the exam date and the testing organizations will usually not send them once they have expired.

Applications with IELTS or TOEFL scores lower than the minimum will not be reviewed. Therefore, it is advised that prospective applicants wait to submit their applications until they received their test scores and know they have met the requirement (with the caveat that all applications are still due on December 10).

How do I submit my official TOEFL or IELTS scores?
When sending TOEFL scores, use MIT's institutional code, 3514.

For the IELTS, you must request your official test scores be sent directly from the test center where you take the exam. There are no institutional codes; choose "MIT Graduate Admissions" as the reporting option.

Can I submit GRE scores with my application?

No, we are not accepting GRE scores as part of our admissions application as of the 2023 admissions cycle.

Admissions Time Table

What is the deadline to submit my application, and do all my materials need to be received by that date?

Completed application forms and letters of recommendation must be submitted online or received by December 10. TOEFL and IELTS exams must be taken and scores must be requested to be sent by December 10 (the same date the admissions application is due) in order for scores to be considered for admission, and for the application to be reviewed.

When will I be notified on the status of my application?

The HASTS admissions committee normally begins reviewing applications in mid- to late-January. Notification is sent to admitted students in writing following the completion of that process, which may take until early April. Admitted students must notify the Institute of their intentions by April 15.