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PhD Program Requirements

The Chemistry Department offers a flexible program that allows students to select courses tailored to their individual background and research interests. Students also teach for two semesters.

As part of the requirement for a PhD degree, MIT requires a General Examination, with both an oral and written part. The Oral Examination for the PhD in Chemistry must be passed by the end of the fourth semester of graduate study. No other general written examinations are required. In particular, no qualifying (or entrance) examinations are given.

A final oral presentation of doctoral research is scheduled after the thesis has been submitted and evaluated by a committee of faculty.

Program Requirements

Coursework and teaching.

All chemistry graduate students are required to register for the appropriate chemistry seminar subject (5.913, 5.921, 5.931, or 5.941 depending on research area) each term. This registration carries with it the expectation of seminar attendance whenever possible. These seminars provide an important component to your graduate education and professional development

All students are required to teach for two semesters in their first year. During those semesters, students are required to enroll in a class to support their teaching (5.91 Teaching Experience in the Chemical Sciences).  

2nd Year Oral & Written Exams

MIT requires that all Ph.D. candidates pass general oral and written examinations in their field of study. For chemistry students, these exams occur in the spring of the second year. The faculty committee will (i) assess whether the student has progressed sufficiently to be on-track for obtaining a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry and (ii) provide constructive feedback to help the student reach their full potential during the period of study at MIT. Thus, the overarching purpose of the examination includes fulfilling Institutional requirements for Ph.D. students and evaluating:

1. Progress towards the PhD degree (coursework, research) indicating that the student is on track to receive a doctoral degree in Chemistry 2. General knowledge and understanding in the broad field of study and specific sub-area 3. Critical thinking, including the ability to use core principles to think through unfamiliar topics 4. Ability to communicate effectively in oral and written forms, think logically and independently, and defend a point of view 5. Ability to formulate upcoming research plans and present a feasible timeline for progress towards completion of research goals 6. Overall scholarship

Thesis Committees

As the first step, second-year students meet with their research advisors to discuss which faculty might be appropriate as members of their Thesis Committee.  Thesis Committees must be composed of at least two other MIT faculty besides your advisor. Your Thesis Committee chair must be from the department of chemistry and in your area of chemistry (chemical biology, inorganic, organic, or physical). Please see the notes below if you are working in a research group outside the department and/or are co-advised. You are required to propose at least four faculty members as candidates for your committee in addition to your advisor, though you may propose up to six faculty members.  Students should fill out the online Thesis Committee Nomination Form by Friday, September 15, 2023 . Submitted forms are then reviewed by the Graduate Officer and a faculty advisory group who assign final Thesis Committees.  They will also choose one of these faculty members to be your Thesis Committee Chair.  This process is necessary to avoid the past problem of some faculty being assigned to an inordinately large number of committees. If you are listing any faculty outside the department, please contact them before submitting your form to confirm that they are willing to serve on your Thesis Committee and attend all relevant examinations and meetings. You do not need to reach out to any faculty within the department about serving on your thesis committee.

Students wishing subsequently to change their Thesis Committee, for reasons including significant changes in the direction of their research topic, should email Jennifer Weisman with the reason for requesting a change. Students must receive a positive response from the Chemistry Education Office in order for the change in committee to take effect.  Since changes in Thesis Committee membership can only be granted in unusual circumstances, students should contact the members of their committee to schedule the date for their oral defense well in advance of when they expect to complete their dissertation.

In the second year, each student’s research progress and intellectual development is evaluated through the Oral Examination. If a division requires an examination after the second year, Thesis Committee members also meet then. The thesis committee also meets for the Plan to Finish Meeting described below. Students (and research advisors) may arrange an additional meeting of the Thesis Committee in special circumstances by contacting the chair of the committee. Additionally, beginning in the second year of graduate study, each student meets with the Chair of their Thesis Committee at least once during the fall semester.

*Please note that if you are conducting research outside the department your Thesis Committee must be composed of at least two other MIT faculty besides your advisor and both must be from the Department of Chemistry. As noted above, your Thesis Committee chair must be in your area of chemistry (chemical biology, inorganic, organic, or physical).

Annual Meeting with Research Advisor

Under this system, research advisors are required to meet with each graduate student in their group who is in their second or later year to discuss the student’s intellectual and professional development over the past year and progress toward the degree. Prior to this meeting, students should complete Parts I-II of the required form on their own. Send the file to your Advisor the night before the meeting . At the meeting, students discuss their progress, future plans, and concerns with their advisor. The completed Graduate Student Annual Research Advisor Meeting form must be signed by both the student and their research advisor. Note that this is only a suggested format for the meeting. You and your advisor may choose a different format for the discussion as long as there is some written summary.

Annual Meeting with Thesis Committee Chair

Beginning in the second year of graduate student, each student meets annually with the Chair of their Thesis Committee. At these meetings, students update the Thesis Committee (TC) Chair on their on their research progress and general intellectual development in an informal and relaxed setting. The time, place, and format for this discussion is arranged between the student and Thesis Committee Chair. These meetings aim to encourage productive and stimulating discussions of science and to facilitate the development of further interactions between students and other members of the faculty besides research advisors. Students should keep in mind that these meetings are intended to focus primarily on academic and scientific matters, and that Thesis Committee Chairs are not bound by the same obligations with respect to privacy as are the Chemistry Department Mediators.

Plan to Finish Meeting

Updated October 2022

By June 1 st (and preferably before April 15 th ) of the 4 th year , each PhD student will participate in the Plan to Finish (PTF) meeting with their thesis committee. The purpose of the PTF meeting is for the student to discuss their timeline and plans for finishing a PhD.

In the 5 th year and beyond, if the student is not defending the PhD thesis by August 31 st of the 5 th year, the student will have another PTF meeting before June 1 st (and preferably before April 15 th ) of that calendar year, and the PTF meeting will be repeated annually until the year the student defends their thesis. Thus, a student who graduates in year five will have one PTF meeting, one who graduates in year six will have two, and so forth.

Before the meeting:  The student will prepare and share slides containing a summary of their research progress and their plans for research and completing the PhD thesis.

  • Projects that will be wrapped up and/or relinquished
  • Papers that will be written and/or submitted
  • Opportunities for professional development
  • Plans for after graduation
  • The presentation should be succinct, not more than 8–10 slides total. These slides should include: (1) 1–2 introductory slides, one of which must display a proposed table of contents for the PhD thesis. The TOC includes the title for each proposed chapter and state of each chapter (e.g. “Experiments complete and manuscript published”, “Experiments nearly completed and manuscript writing in progress”, “Experiments ongoing”). (2) 1–3 slides per thesis chapter and associated future work linked to each chapter. (3) 1 slide summarizing future plans with a realistic timeline for completion of all the proposed activities (the PTF timeline).  Be sure to include the status of plans for after graduation. The student should consult with their research advisor in preparing the PTF timeline.
  • The slides must be sent to the committee at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.
  • Meetings will be scheduled at the student’s direction and be organized by the research supervisor’s administrative assistant. These meetings are intended to be in-person, but teleconference can be used in special circumstances.

During the meeting: The meeting will follow the format below.

First, the student will provide a short (10-20 minute) presentation of their research progress and future plans based on their slides. Faculty will participate in discussion of the research and plans during this presentation.

Next, the research supervisor will be asked to leave the room so that the thesis committee can confer privately with the student.

Subsequently, the student will be asked to leave the room for a short period so that the committee can confer privately with the research supervisor.

The thesis committee will offer constructive feedback during and after the presentation and following the private discussions. The committee may request changes and/or revisions to the PTF outline as part of the discussion.

The plan to finish meeting will last ~1 hour altogether.

After the meeting:  The student will write-up a brief summary of the meeting, and submit it along with the PTF timeline and a signed PTF Form to the Chemistry Education Office as proof of completion. These items can be submitted as hard copies to the Chemistry Education Office or emailed to Dr. Jennifer Weisman .

  • While the deadline to hold the PTF meeting is June 1 st , students are strongly encouraged to complete their PTF Meeting by April 15 th to avoid scheduling issues later in the spring. As a reminder, the research supervisor’s administrative assistant will schedule the meeting upon the student’s request.
  • There is no possibility of failing the PTF meeting. The purpose of the meeting is fulfilled by the process of having it.
  • Annual meetings with the research advisor are required every year, including the fourth year.

Graduate Student Exit Interviews

  • Graduating students will be sent a list of interview questions by the Chemistry Education Office when the student joins the degree list. Instructions about scheduling a time for the in-person or virtual discussion will be included with other informational correspondence from the Chemistry Education Office regarding degree completion. Graduating students will perform their exit interview after the thesis defense so as to avoid making the interview an additional burden.
  • For students departing the program without a degree, the interview questions and instructions for scheduling an in-person discussion will be sent by the Chemistry Education Office at the point in time that a date for termination of their appointment in Chemistry is determined.
  • For the majority of departing students, this interview coincides with the end of the semester, but a rolling schedule of surveys is anticipated.

Guide for Graduate Students

For md-phd students in the hst program.


  • Current MIT Graduate Students

Doctoral Programs in Computational Science and Engineering

Application & admission information.

The Center for Computational Science and Engineering (CCSE) offers two doctoral programs in computational science and engineering (CSE) – one leading to a standalone PhD degree in CSE offered entirely by CCSE ( CSE PhD ) and the other leading to an interdisciplinary PhD degree offered jointly with participating departments in the School of Engineering and the School of Science ( Dept-CSE PhD ).

While both programs enable students to specialize at the doctoral level in a computation-related field via focused coursework and a thesis, they differ in essential ways. The standalone CSE PhD program is intended for students who plan to pursue research in cross-cutting methodological aspects of computational science. The resulting doctoral degree in Computational Science and Engineering is awarded by CCSE via the the Schwarzman College of Computing. In contrast, the interdisciplinary Dept-CSE PhD program is intended for students who are interested in computation in the context of a specific engineering or science discipline. For this reason, this degree is offered jointly with participating departments across the Institute; the interdisciplinary degree is awarded in a specially crafted thesis field that recognizes the student’s specialization in computation within the chosen engineering or science discipline.

Applicants to the standalone CSE PhD program are expected to have an undergraduate degree in CSE, applied mathematics, or another field that prepares them for an advanced degree in CSE. Applicants to the Dept-CSE PhD program should have an undergraduate degree in a related core disciplinary area as well as a strong foundation in applied mathematics, physics, or related fields. When completing the MIT CSE graduate application , students are expected to declare which of the two programs they are interested in. Admissions decisions will take into account these declared interests, along with each applicant’s academic background, preparation, and fit to the program they have selected.  All applicants are asked to specify MIT CCSE-affiliated faculty that best match their research interests; applicants to the Dept-CSE PhD program also select the home department(s) that best match. At the discretion of the admissions committee, Dept-CSE PhD applications might also be shared with a home department beyond those designated in the application. CSE PhD admissions decisions are at the sole discretion of CCSE; Dept-CSE PhD admission decisions are conducted jointly between CCSE and the home departments.

Please note: These are both doctoral programs in Computational Science and Engineering; applicants interested in Computer Science must apply to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science .

Important Dates

September 15: Application Opens December 1: Deadline to apply for admission* December – March: Application review period January – March: Decisions released on rolling basis

*All supplemental materials (e.g., transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation) must also be received by December 1. Application review begins on that date, and incomplete applications may not be reviewed. Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of this hard deadline, as we do not make exceptions. We also do not allow students to upload/submit material beyond what is required, such as degree certificates, extra recommendations, publications, etc.

A complete electronic CSE application includes the following:

  • Three letters of recommendation ;
  • Students admitted to the program will be required to supply official transcripts. Discrepancies between unofficial and official transcripts may result in the revocation of the admission offer.
  • Statement of objectives (limited to approximately one page) and responses to department-specific prompts for Dept-CSE PhD applicants;
  • Official GRE General Test score report , sent to MIT by ETS via institute code 3514 GRE REQUIREMENT WAIVED FOR FALL 2025 ;
  • Official IELTS score report sent to MIT by IELTS†  (international applicants from non-English speaking countries only; see below for more information)
  • Resume or CV , uploaded in PDF format;
  • MIT graduate application fee of $75‡.

‡Application Fee

The MIT graduate application fee of $75.00 is a mandatory requirement set by the Institute payable by credit card. Please visit the MIT Graduate Admission Application Fee Waiver page for information about fee waiver eligibility and instructions.

Please note: CCSE cannot issue fee waivers; email requests for fee waivers sent to [email protected] will not receive a response.

Admissions Contact Information

Email: [email protected]

► Current MIT CSE SM Students: Please see the page for Current MIT Graduate Students .

GRE Requirement

GRE REQUIREMENT WAIVED FOR FALL 2025 All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Aptitude Test. The MIT code for submitting GRE score reports is 3514 (you do not need to list a department code). GRE scores must current; ETS considers scores valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested.

†English Language Proficiency Requirement

The CSE PhD program requires international applicants from non-English speaking countries to take the academic  version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  The IELTS exam measures one’s ability to communicate in English in four major skill areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.  A minimum IELTS score of 7 is required for admission.  For more information about the IELTS, and to find out where and how to take the exam, please visit the IELTS web site .

While we will also accept the TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language), we strongly prefer the IELTS. The minimum TOEFL iBT score is 100.

This requirement is waived for those who can demonstrate that one or more of the following are true:

  • English is/was the language of instruction in your four-year undergraduate program,
  • English is the language of your employer/workplace for at least the last four years,
  • English was your language of instruction in both primary and secondary schools.

Degree Requirements for Admission

To be admitted as a regular graduate student, an applicant must have earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. Students in their final year of undergraduate study may be admitted on the condition that their bachelor’s degree is awarded before they enroll at MIT.

Applicants without an SM degree may apply to the CSE PhD program, however, the Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Mechanical Engineering nominally require the completion of an SM degree before a student is considered a doctoral candidate. As a result, applicants to those departments holding only a bachelor’s degree are asked in the application to indicate whether they prefer to complete the CSE SM program or an SM through the home department.

Nondiscrimination Policy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment.  To read MIT’s most up-to-date nondiscrimination policy, please visit the Reference Publication Office’s nondiscrimination statement page .

Additional Information

For more details, as well as answers to most commonly asked questions regarding the admissions process to individual participating Dept-CSE PhD departments including details on financial support, applicants are referred to the website of the participating department of interest.

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Which program is right for you?

MIT Sloan Campus life

Through intellectual rigor and experiential learning, this full-time, two-year MBA program develops leaders who make a difference in the world.

A rigorous, hands-on program that prepares adaptive problem solvers for premier finance careers.

A 12-month program focused on applying the tools of modern data science, optimization and machine learning to solve real-world business problems.

Earn your MBA and SM in engineering with this transformative two-year program.

Combine an international MBA with a deep dive into management science. A special opportunity for partner and affiliate schools only.

A doctoral program that produces outstanding scholars who are leading in their fields of research.

Bring a business perspective to your technical and quantitative expertise with a bachelor’s degree in management, business analytics, or finance.

A joint program for mid-career professionals that integrates engineering and systems thinking. Earn your master’s degree in engineering and management.

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This 20-month MBA program equips experienced executives to enhance their impact on their organizations and the world.

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A non-degree, customizable program for mid-career professionals.

PhD Program

Program overview.

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Rigorous, discipline-based research is the hallmark of the MIT Sloan PhD Program. The program is committed to educating scholars who will lead in their fields of research—those with outstanding intellectual skills who will carry forward productive research on the complex organizational, financial, and technological issues that characterize an increasingly competitive and challenging business world.

Start here.

Learn more about the program, how to apply, and find answers to common questions.

Admissions Events

Check out our event schedule, and learn when you can chat with us in person or online.

Start Your Application

Visit this section to find important admissions deadlines, along with a link to our application.

Click here for answers to many of the most frequently asked questions.

PhD studies at MIT Sloan are intense and individual in nature, demanding a great deal of time, initiative, and discipline from every candidate. But the rewards of such rigor are tremendous:  MIT Sloan PhD graduates go on to teach and conduct research at the world's most prestigious universities.

PhD Program curriculum at MIT Sloan is organized under the following three academic areas: Behavior & Policy Sciences; Economics, Finance & Accounting; and Management Science. Our nine research groups correspond with one of the academic areas, as noted below.

MIT Sloan PhD Research Groups

Behavioral & policy sciences.

Economic Sociology

Institute for Work & Employment Research

Organization Studies

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategic Management

Economics, Finance & Accounting


Management Science

Information Technology

System Dynamics  

Those interested in a PhD in Operations Research should visit the Operations Research Center .  

PhD Students_Work and Organization Studies

PhD Program Structure

Additional information including coursework and thesis requirements.

MIT Sloan E2 building campus at night

MIT Sloan Predoctoral Opportunities

MIT Sloan is eager to provide a diverse group of talented students with early-career exposure to research techniques as well as support in considering research career paths.

A group of three women looking at a laptop in a classroom and a group of three students in the background

Rising Scholars Conference

The fourth annual Rising Scholars Conference on October 25 and 26 gathers diverse PhD students from across the country to present their research.

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The goal of the MIT Sloan PhD Program's admissions process is to select a small number of people who are most likely to successfully complete our rigorous and demanding program and then thrive in academic research careers. The admission selection process is highly competitive; we aim for a class size of nineteen students, admitted from a pool of hundreds of applicants.

What We Seek

  • Outstanding intellectual ability
  • Excellent academic records
  • Previous work in disciplines related to the intended area of concentration
  • Strong commitment to a career in research

MIT Sloan PhD Program Admissions Requirements Common Questions

Dates and Deadlines

Admissions for 2024 is closed. The next opportunity to apply will be for 2025 admission. The 2025 application will open in September 2024. 

More information on program requirements and application components

Students in good academic standing in our program receive a funding package that includes tuition, medical insurance, and a fellowship stipend and/or TA/RA salary. We also provide a new laptop computer and a conference travel/research budget.

Funding Information

Throughout the year, we organize events that give you a chance to learn more about the program and determine if a PhD in Management is right for you.

PhD Program Events

June phd program overview.

During this webinar, you will hear from the PhD Program team and have the chance to ask questions about the application and admissions process.

July PhD Program Overview

August phd program overview, september 12 phd program overview.

Complete PhD Admissions Event Calendar

Unlike formulaic approaches to training scholars, the PhD Program at MIT Sloan allows students to choose their own adventure and develop a unique scholarly identity. This can be daunting, but students are given a wide range of support along the way - most notably having access to world class faculty and coursework both at MIT and in the broader academic community around Boston.

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Students Outside of E62

Profiles of our current students

MIT Sloan produces top-notch PhDs in management. Immersed in MIT Sloan's distinctive culture, upcoming graduates are poised to innovate in management research and education. Here are the academic placements for our PhDs graduating in May and September 2024. Our 2024-2025 job market candidates will be posted in early June 2024.

Academic Job Market

Doctoral candidates on the current academic market

Academic Placements

Graduates of the MIT Sloan PhD Program are researching and teaching at top schools around the world.

view recent placements 

MIT Sloan Experience

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The PhD Program is integral to the research of MIT Sloan's world-class faculty. With a reputation as risk-takers who are unafraid to embrace the unconventional, they are engaged in exciting disciplinary and interdisciplinary research that often includes PhD students as key team members.

Research centers across MIT Sloan and MIT provide a rich setting for collaboration and exploration. In addition to exposure to the faculty, PhD students also learn from one another in a creative, supportive research community.

Throughout MIT Sloan's history, our professors have devised theories and fields of study that have had a profound impact on management theory and practice.

From Douglas McGregor's Theory X/Theory Y distinction to Nobel-recognized breakthroughs in finance by Franco Modigliani and in option pricing by Robert Merton and Myron Scholes, MIT Sloan's faculty have been unmatched innovators.

This legacy of innovative thinking and dedication to research impacts every faculty member and filters down to the students who work beside them.

Faculty Links

  • Accounting Faculty
  • Economic Sociology Faculty
  • Finance Faculty
  • Information Technology Faculty
  • Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) Faculty
  • Marketing Faculty
  • Organization Studies Faculty
  • System Dynamics Faculty
  • Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management (TIES) Faculty

Student Research

“MIT Sloan PhD training is a transformative experience. The heart of the process is the student’s transition from being a consumer of knowledge to being a producer of knowledge. This involves learning to ask precise, tractable questions and addressing them with creativity and rigor. Hard work is required, but the reward is the incomparable exhilaration one feels from having solved a puzzle that had bedeviled the sharpest minds in the world!” -Ezra Zuckerman Sivan Alvin J. Siteman (1948) Professor of Entrepreneurship

Sample Dissertation Abstracts - These sample Dissertation Abstracts provide examples of the work that our students have chosen to study while in the MIT Sloan PhD Program.

We believe that our doctoral program is the heart of MIT Sloan's research community and that it develops some of the best management researchers in the world. At our annual Doctoral Research Forum, we celebrate the great research that our doctoral students do, and the research community that supports that development process.

The videos of their presentations below showcase the work of our students and will give you insight into the topics they choose to research in the program.

Attention To Retention: The Informativeness of Insiders’ Decision to Retain Shares

2024 PhD Doctoral Research Forum Winner - Gabriel Voelcker

Watch more MIT Sloan PhD Program  Doctoral Forum Videos

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PhD in Physics, Statistics, and Data Science

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Many PhD students in the MIT Physics Department incorporate probability, statistics, computation, and data analysis into their research. These techniques are becoming increasingly important for both experimental and theoretical Physics research, with ever-growing datasets, more sophisticated physics simulations, and the development of cutting-edge machine learning tools. The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Statistics (IDPS)  is designed to provide students with the highest level of competency in 21st century statistics, enabling doctoral students across MIT to better integrate computation and data analysis into their PhD thesis research.

Admission to this program is restricted to students currently enrolled in the Physics doctoral program or another participating MIT doctoral program. In addition to satisfying all of the requirements of the Physics PhD, students take one subject each in probability, statistics, computation and statistics, and data analysis, as well as the Doctoral Seminar in Statistics, and they write a dissertation in Physics utilizing statistical methods. Graduates of the program will receive their doctoral degree in the field of “Physics, Statistics, and Data Science.”

Doctoral students in Physics may submit an Interdisciplinary PhD in Statistics Form between the end of their second semester and penultimate semester in their Physics program. The application must include an endorsement from the student’s advisor, an up-to-date CV, current transcript, and a 1-2 page statement of interest in Statistics and Data Science.

The statement of interest can be based on the student’s thesis proposal for the Physics Department, but it must demonstrate that statistical methods will be used in a substantial way in the proposed research. In their statement, applicants are encouraged to explain how specific statistical techniques would be applied in their research. Applicants should further highlight ways that their proposed research might advance the use of statistics and data science, both in their physics subfield and potentially in other disciplines. If the work is part of a larger collaborative effort, the applicant should focus on their personal contributions.

For access to the selection form or for further information, please contact the IDSS Academic Office at  [email protected] .

Required Courses

Courses in this list that satisfy the Physics PhD degree requirements can count for both programs. Other similar or more advanced courses can count towards the “Computation & Statistics” and “Data Analysis” requirements, with permission from the program co-chairs. The IDS.190 requirement may be satisfied instead by IDS.955 Practical Experience in Data, Systems, and Society, if that experience exposes the student to a diverse set of topics in statistics and data science. Making this substitution requires permission from the program co-chairs prior to doing the practical experience.

  • IDS.190 – Doctoral Seminar in Statistics and Data Science ( may be substituted by IDS.955 Practical Experience in Data, Systems and Society )
  • 6.7700[J] Fundamentals of Probability or
  • 18.675 – Theory of Probability
  • 18.655 – Mathematical Statistics or
  • 18.6501 – Fundamentals of Statistics or
  • IDS.160[J] – Mathematical Statistics: A Non-Asymptotic Approach
  • 6.C01/6.C51 – Modeling with Machine Learning: From Algorithms to Applications or
  • 6.7810 Algorithms for Inference or
  • 6.8610 (6.864) Advanced Natural Language Processing or
  • 6.7900 (6.867) Machine Learning or
  • 6.8710 (6.874) Computational Systems Biology: Deep Learning in the Life Sciences or
  • 9.520[J] – Statistical Learning Theory and Applications or
  • 16.940 – Numerical Methods for Stochastic Modeling and Inference or
  • 18.337 – Numerical Computing and Interactive Software
  • 8.316 – Data Science in Physics or
  • 6.8300 (6.869) Advances in Computer Vision or
  • 8.334 – Statistical Mechanics II or
  • 8.371[J] – Quantum Information Science or
  • 8.591[J] – Systems Biology or
  • 8.592[J] – Statistical Physics in Biology or
  • 8.942 – Cosmology or
  • 9.583 – Functional MRI: Data Acquisition and Analysis or
  • 16.456[J] – Biomedical Signal and Image Processing or
  • 18.367 – Waves and Imaging or
  • IDS.131[J] – Statistics, Computation, and Applications

Grade Policy

C, D, F, and O grades are unacceptable. Students should not earn more B grades than A grades, reflected by a PhysSDS GPA of ≥ 4.5. Students may be required to retake subjects graded B or lower, although generally one B grade will be tolerated.

Unless approved by the PhysSDS co-chairs, a minimum grade of B+ is required in all 12 unit courses, except IDS.190 (3 units) which requires a P grade.

Though not required, it is strongly encouraged for a member of the MIT  Statistics and Data Science Center (SDSC)  to serve on a student’s doctoral committee. This could be an SDSC member from the Physics department or from another field relevant to the proposed thesis research.

Thesis Proposal

All students must submit a thesis proposal using the standard Physics format. Dissertation research must involve the utilization of statistical methods in a substantial way.

PhysSDS Committee

  • Jesse Thaler (co-chair)
  • Mike Williams (co-chair)
  • Isaac Chuang
  • Janet Conrad
  • William Detmold
  • Philip Harris
  • Jacqueline Hewitt
  • Kiyoshi Masui
  • Leonid Mirny
  • Christoph Paus
  • Phiala Shanahan
  • Marin Soljačić
  • Washington Taylor
  • Max Tegmark

Can I satisfy the requirements with courses taken at Harvard?

Harvard CompSci 181 will count as the equivalent of MIT’s 6.867.  For the status of other courses, please contact the program co-chairs.

Can a course count both for the Physics degree requirements and the PhysSDS requirements?

Yes, this is possible, as long as the courses are already on the approved list of requirements. E.g. 8.592 can count as a breadth requirement for a NUPAX student as well as a Data Analysis requirement for the PhysSDS degree.

If I have previous experience in Probability and/or Statistics, can I test out of these requirements?

These courses are required by all of the IDPS degrees. They are meant to ensure that all students obtaining an IDPS degree share the same solid grounding in these fundamentals, and to help build a community of IDPS students across the various disciplines. Only in exceptional cases might it be possible to substitute more advanced courses in these areas.

Can I substitute a similar or more advanced course for the PhysSDS requirements?

Yes, this is possible for the “computation and statistics” and “data analysis” requirements, with permission of program co-chairs. Substitutions for the “probability” and “statistics” requirements will only be granted in exceptional cases.

For Spring 2021, the following course has been approved as a substitution for the “computation and statistics” requirement:   18.408 (Theoretical Foundations for Deep Learning) .

The following course has been approved as a substitution for the “data analysis” requirement:   6.481 (Introduction to Statistical Data Analysis) .

Can I apply for the PhysSDS degree in my last semester at MIT?

No, you must apply no later than your penultimate semester.

What does it mean to use statistical methods in a “substantial way” in one’s thesis?

The ideal case is that one’s thesis advances statistics research independent of the Physics applications. Advancing the use of statistical methods in one’s subfield of Physics would also qualify. Applying well-established statistical methods in one’s thesis could qualify, if the application is central to the Physics result. In all cases, we expect the student to demonstrate mastery of statistics and data science.

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When applying to graduate school at MIT, you are applying to a specific department. It’s important that you indicate on the application the degree and program that you wish to pursue. Your application is then evaluated by the appropriate department, and you are notified of the result. Even if your objective is to enter an interdepartmental program, you must still apply through one of the participating departments. All graduate students must have a primary affiliation with and be registered in a single department. DMSE offers two graduate degrees: Master of Science (SM) and Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Science (PhD/ScD).

DMSE graduate students can pursue three interdepartmental programs involving academic training and requirements outside the department: Archaeology and Archaeological Materials, Program in Polymers and Soft Matter, Technology and Policy Program, and Computational Science and Engineering.

mit phd degree requirements

How and When to Apply

Required information for your application.

In your application, you will provide the following information:

  • Research field(s) of interest
  • Personal information
  • Names and e-mail addresses of three letter of recommendation writers. (We recommend that you notify your evaluators before October 1 to give them time to prepare and submit their evaluations by December 1 . Once you have submitted your online application, instructions to your evaluator will automatically be generated and emailed to them.)
  • Scanned copies of your college transcripts
  • For international students, your official TOEFL/IELTS scores (for more information, see “Other Application Information” section below)
  • Application fee of $75
  • Awards (List any prizes, fellowships, and honors that you have received.)
  • Publications (List any technical publication that you have published or are preparing.)
  • Presentations (List any talks, seminars, or other types of presentations that you have delivered at a scientific conference or similar events.)
  • Research experience (List any research experience that you have had.)
  • Teaching and work experience (List any teaching and relevant work experience—for example, internships—that you have had.)
  • Other experience (List any other relevant experience that you have had, such as military, volunteering, or travel.)
  • Why do you want to study material science and engineering? [150 words]
  • Why are you a good fit for DMSE at MIT? [100 words]
  • How does earning a graduate degree fit with your professional life goals? [150 words]
  • Anything else you’d like to share. Please tell us anything else about yourself that you think we should know. (No word limit)

Application due December 1

Applications for the September admission to the SM or PhD program must be submitted using the online application portal by 23:59 EST December 1. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible and are responsible for ensuring that all admissions credentials are submitted on time. Your application will not be reviewed until all materials have been received.

Other Application Information

For international applicants: ielts/toefl exam or waiver, ielts/toefl exam.

For applicants whose primary language is not English, your IELTS or TOEFL exam scores are required. For IELTS, the minimum score required is 7. Send electronic scores to MIT Graduate Admissions. For TOEFL, the minimum score required for the internet-based test, or iBT, is 100; the minimum score required for the paper-based test, or PBT, is 600. The code for MIT is 3514; DMSE’s department code is 69.

Exam Requirement Waiver

Some students may qualify for a waiver of the IELTS/TOEFL requirement. Describe how you meet one of the following criteria.

  • Are you a student who has attended elementary/secondary schools that provide instruction primarily in English?
  • Are you a student who will have received an undergraduate degree from an institution that provides instruction primarily in English?
  • Are you a student who has been in the US for three years and will have received a degree from a US institution before entering MIT?

Include a statement requesting the waiver in the supplemental materials page on the online application.

Application Fee Waiver

The Office of Graduate Education offers fee waivers for US citizens and US permanent residents who demonstrate financial hardship, are current or former members of the United States Armed Forces, or who have participated in special fellowship programs, including MIT-sponsored diversity programs (e.g., MIT Summer Research Program, CONVERGE). 

Early September

Application opens.

Completed applications are due.

December to February

Application review happens.

Interviews will be carried out by DMSE faculty members.

Late January to early February

Admission decisions are sent to candidates and invited to visit MIT.

Late February and early March

Admitted applicants visit MIT and the department during one of our visit days opportunities

Admitted students decisions are due.

Other Resources

  • The  Council of Graduate Schools  offers helpful resources and information for students seeking graduate study.
  • The DMSE Application Assistance Program is a volunteer-based, student-run program that provides assistance to DMSE applicants from underrepresented groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many questions are answered in this section. Before contacting MIT DMSE Graduate Academic Office concerning graduate admissions ( [email protected] ), please review the questions below.

Is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required?

Effective the Fall 2024 admissions cycle, the department will not accept GRE scores as supplementary material.

How will I know that you have received all of my application materials?

You will be notified by email when we receive your application. You will also be able to check the status of your application & supplemental materials via the online application. You will receive a final confirmation once all materials have been received and added to the application file (recommendation letters, transcripts, test scores). This confirmation will be sent before January 31. If, on January 31, you have not heard that the application is complete, please email the department.

Can you give me an idea of my chances for admission, based on scores or class rank, for example?

We can make no preliminary evaluation based on one or two qualifications. The Admissions Committee carefully reviews the entire application (recommendations, essay, grades, test scores, previous research experience, etc.) in making its decisions.

I don’t have an undergraduate background in materials science and engineering. Do I have any chance of being admitted?

Yes, while many of our admitted students have an undergraduate background in materials science and engineering, the remaining students have training in fields such as biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering.

Does DMSE admit its own undergraduate students to the graduate program?

Yes, we consider our own undergraduates for admission to all of our graduate programs.

Would it help my chances to send my application directly to a specific faculty member?

Admission decisions are made by a departmental committee. The decision is based on overall qualifications, independent of research interest. If you bypass the regular admissions route, you risk having your application misplaced. Please direct all admission related inquiries to  [email protected] .

Should I contact faculty members to try to secure a Research Assistantship before I’ve been admitted?

Students are urged to wait for official admission to DMSE before contacting faculty regarding research assistantships and thesis supervision.

What kind of funding is available to support students in the program?

A number of funding opportunities are available for graduates students at DMSE. These appointments pay tuition, a competitive stipend, and health insurance. Students are encouraged to apply for outside fellowships to help finance their graduate studies. Some domestic students are supported by NSF, NDSEG, Hertz, and Whitaker fellowships, as well as other government and corporate sources. Some international students are supported by their government or a scholarship agency (e.g., Samsung scholarship, ILJU, Royal Thai government) Kwanjeong Scholarship, Canadian NSERC.

Can I take courses on a part-time basis or as a visiting student?

The DMSE graduate program requires on-campus attendance at classes that are offered during the day and generally meet 2-3 times per week. Please refer to the  MIT Office of Graduate Admissions  for information about special student admissions and MIT advanced study program.

How long does it take to earn the doctoral degree at MIT DMSE?

DMSE graduate students normally take about 5 years to earn the PhD.

I already have a master’s degree. Can I apply it to the DMSE PhD requirements?

MIT has a qualifying procedure for the doctoral degree, so even though you have already earned a master of science degree at another institution, if you receive admission here, you would be admitted as a master of science degree student with the option to bypass the master’s degree and go directly into the doctoral program provided that you successfully pass the qualification procedure. Some students admitted in this category may choose to complete another master’s degree in DMSE before working on their doctoral  program.  Specific questions about transfer credits and other matters can be discussed with the Academic Office after admissions letters have been sent. Students applying to the PPSM or Archaeological Materials interdepartmental doctoral program should review those programs’ qualification procedure.

Can I visit DMSE?

Prospective applicants are welcome to visit MIT. You can arrange a tour of the campus through the MIT  Admissions Office . Admitted students are encouraged to visit on one of our two weekend-long visits (arrive Thursday early evening and depart Sunday morning) in March to become acquainted with the department, with MIT as a whole, and with Boston and Cambridge. Food and lodging are supplied as is part of the airfare.

Does DMSE have different admissions criteria for the master’s and PhD graduate programs?

The criteria for admissions is the same. The Admissions Committee does not make a distinction in the application evaluation process.

Do I need to complete the “Record of Subjects Taken” in the online application?

No. DMSE does not require applicants to complete the “Record of Subjects Taken” in the online application.

If admitted, can I defer my admission?

On rare occasions, deferral requests are approved for one year. Approved deferrals will only be for admission and not for any departmental financial aid award a student received upon admission. Applicants must contact the department to ask about a deferral before February 1.

Contact DMSE Admissions

Department of Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Academic Office Building 6, Room 107 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139 [email protected]

Graduate Students 2018-2019

The department offers programs covering a broad range of topics leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Science degrees (the student chooses which to receive; they are functionally equivalent). Candidates are admitted to either the Pure or Applied Mathematics programs but are free to pursue interests in both groups. Of the roughly 120 Ph.D. students, about 2/3 are in Pure Mathematics, 1/3 in Applied Mathematics.

The two programs in Pure and Applied Mathematics offer basic and advanced classes in analysis, algebra, geometry, Lie theory, logic, number theory, probability, statistics, topology, astrophysics, combinatorics, fluid dynamics, numerical analysis, mathematics of data, and the theory of computation. In addition, many mathematically-oriented courses are offered by other departments. Students in Applied Mathematics are especially encouraged to take courses in engineering and scientific subjects related to their research.

All students pursue research under the supervision of the faculty , and are encouraged to take advantage of the many seminars and colloquia at MIT and in the Boston area.

Degree Requirements

Degree requirements consist of:

  • Oral qualifying exam
  • Classroom teaching
  • Original thesis and defense

Prospective students are invited to consult the graduate career timeline for more information, and to read about the application procedure .

Graduate Co-Chairs

Graduate Student Issues, math graduate admissions

Jonathan Kelner , Davesh Maulik , and Zhiwei Yun

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mit phd degree requirements

Graduate study in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics includes graduate-level subjects in Course 16 and others at MIT, and research work culminating in a thesis. Degrees are awarded at the master’s and doctoral levels. The range of subject matter is described under  Graduate Fields of Study . Departmental research centers’ websites offer information on research interests. Detailed information may be obtained from the Department Academic Programs Office or from individual faculty members. For more information about MIT AeroAstro graduate degree programs, email [email protected] .

Master of Science (SM)

The Master of Science (SM) degree is a two-year graduate program with beginning research or design experience represented by the SM thesis. This degree prepares the graduate for an advanced position in the aerospace field, and provides a solid foundation for future doctoral study. The  general requirements for the Master of Science degree  are cited in the section on General Degree Requirements for graduate students. The specific departmental requirements include at least 66 graduate subject units, typically in subjects relevant to the candidate’s area of technical interest. Of the 66 units, at least 21 units must be in departmental subjects. To be credited toward the degree, graduate subjects must carry a grade of B or better. In addition, a 24-unit thesis is required beyond the 66 units of coursework. Full-time students normally must be in residence one full academic year. Special students admitted to the SM program in this department must enroll in and satisfactorily complete at least two graduate subjects while in residence (i.e., after being admitted as a degree candidate) regardless of the number of subjects completed before admission to the program. Students holding research assistantships typically require a longer period of residence. In addition, the department’s SM program requires one graduate-level mathematics subject. The requirement is satisfied only by graduate-level subjects on the list approved by the department graduate committee. The specific choice of math subjects is arranged individually by each student in consultation with their faculty advisor.

SM Requirements

  • English evaluation Test (for non-native English-speakers if not previously satisfied at MIT)
  • Technical writing requirement if not previously satisfied at MIT
  • Math requirem ent
  • 66 subject units, not including thesis units, in graduate subjects in the candidate’s area of technical interest
  • Within the 66 subject units, a minimum of 21 units from AeroAstro subjects
  • Classes taken on a pass/fail basis do not count towards degree requirements
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 4.0
  • Term-by-term thesis (16THG) registration and progress evaluation
  • Acceptable thesis. View SM Thesis Archive (via DSpace).

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D. or Sc.D.)

AeroAstro offers Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) doctoral degrees that emphasize in-depth study, with a significant research project in a focused area. The admission process for the department’s doctoral program is described previously in this section under Admission Requirements. The doctoral degree is awarded after completion of an individual course of study, submission, and defense of a thesis proposal, and submission and defense of a thesis embodying an original research contribution. The general requirements for this degree are given in the section on  General Degree Requirements . Program requirements are outlined in a booklet titled  The Doctoral Program [PDF] . After successful admission to the doctoral program, the doctoral candidate selects a field of study and research in consultation with the thesis supervisor and forms a doctoral thesis committee, which assists in the formulation of the candidate’s research and study programs and monitors his or her progress. Demonstrated competence for original research at the forefront of aerospace engineering is the final and main criterion for granting the doctoral degree. The candidate’s thesis serves in part to demonstrate such competence and, upon completion, is defended orally in a presentation to the faculty of the department, who may then recommend that the degree be awarded.

Doctoral Program Objectives & Outcomes

AeroAstro’s doctoral program objectives are:

  • to produce original research and technologies critical to the engineering of aerospace vehicles, information, and systems.
  • to educate future leaders in aerospace research and technology.

Upon graduation, our doctoral students will have:

  • a strong foundation in analytical skills and reasoning
  • the ability to solve challenging, engineering problems
  • an understanding of the importance and strategic value of their research
  • the ability to communicate their research with context and clarity

These degrees, for which the requirements are identical, are for students who wish to carry out original research in a focused field, and already hold a master’s degree. AeroAstro offers doctoral degrees in 13 fields. A description of general MIT doctoral requirements appears in the MIT Course Catalogue .

Ph.D./Sc.D. Requirements

  • Qualifying Field Evaluation, completed within three terms of entering the department. (See below for more information.)
  • Completion of Research Process and Communication (RPC) Course
  • Formation of a thesis committee and first meeting confirmed by filing a virtual Doctoral Record Card within 2 regular terms of admission to the doctoral program.
  • Completion of the major concentration with a minimum of 60 units and completion of the minor concentration with a minimum of 30 units, as approved by the student’s thesis committee
  • Math requireme nt
  • Minimum cumulative 4.4 grade point average
  • Thesis proposal and defense within 3 regular terms of admission into the doctoral program.
  • Successful thesis submission and defense within 4 regular terms of passing the thesis proposal defense. View the doctoral thesis archive (via DSpace.)

See the AeroAstro Doctoral Program Guide for additional guidelines and the PhD Quick Guide for a complete overview.

Doctoral Qualifying Field Evaluation

A student seeking entrance to the department’s doctoral program must complete a course-based evaluation in their chosen field of study . Information about the doctoral program and the doctoral qualifying process can be found in the department’s Doctoral Program Guide .

Field Evaluation Process Timeline

Thesis proposal and defense examples.

The following are a few examples of successfully written and defended thesis proposals by doctoral candidates within AeroAstro. These may be downloaded and examined as part of your preparation for the Thesis Proposal Defense, a required part of our doctoral program.

  • Xun Huan – A Bayesian Approach to Optimal Sequential Experimental Design Using Approximate Dynamic Programming – 2013 – Proposal – Defense
  • Ashley Carlton – Scientific Imagers as High-Energy Radiation Sensors – 2017 – Proposal – Defense
  • Maria de Soria Santacruz Pich – Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves for RBR Applications – 2013 – Proposal – Defense

Interdisciplinary Programs

The department participates in several interdisciplinary fields at the graduate level, which are of special importance for aeronautics and astronautics in both research and the curriculum.

Aeronautics, Astronautics, and Statistics

The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Statistics provides training in statistics, including classical statistics and probability as well as computation and data analysis, to students who wish to integrate these valuable skills into their primary academic program. The program is administered jointly by the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Economics, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, and Political Science, and the Statistics and Data Science Center within the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. It is open to current doctoral students in participating departments. For more information, including department-specific requirements, see the  full program description  under Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs.

Air Transportation

For students interested in a career in flight transportation, a program is available that incorporates a broader graduate education in disciplines such as economics, management, and operations research than is normally pursued by candidates for degrees in engineering. Graduate research emphasizes one of the four areas of flight transportation: airport planning and design, air traffic control, air transportation systems analysis, and airline economics and management, with subjects selected appropriately from those available in the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Economics, and the interdepartmental Master of Science in Transportation (MST) program. Doctoral students may pursue a Ph.D. with specialization in air transportation in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics or in the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in transportation or in the Ph.D. program of the Operations Research Center (see the section on Graduate Programs in Operations Research under Research and Study).

Biomedical Engineering

The department offers opportunities for students interested in biomedical instrumentation and physiological control systems where the disciplines involved in aeronautics and astronautics are applied to biology and medicine. Graduate study combining aerospace engineering with biomedical engineering may be pursued through the Bioastronautics program offered as part of the Medical Engineering and Medical Physics Ph.D. program in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) via the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST). Students wishing to pursue a degree through HST must apply to that graduate program. At the master’s degree level, students in the department may specialize in biomedical engineering research, emphasizing space life sciences and life support, instrumentation and control, or in human factors engineering and in instrumentation and statistics. Most biomedical engineering research in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is conducted in the Human Systems Laboratory.

Today, the aerospace sector has returned to its original roots of innovation and entrepreneurship, driven not exclusively by large government or corporate entities, but by small and mid-size firms. These are experimenting with, and launching electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing and electric Short Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL and eSTOL) vehicles, cutting-edge CubeSat missions, and new drone-enabled services that offer data analytics in agriculture, renewable energy and in other sectors. Students in Aerospace Engineering and related fields have expressed a strong desire to hear from and learn about how to launch their own ventures and initiatives in aerospace. Responding to this need, AeroAstro is proud to launch a new Certificate in Aerospace Innovation in collaboration with the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. To learn more, please visit the website for Certificate in Aerospace Innovation .

Computational Science and Engineering (SM or Ph.D.)

The  Master of Science in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE SM)  is an interdisciplinary program for students interested in the development, analysis, and application of computational approaches to science and engineering. The curriculum is designed with a common core serving all science and engineering disciplines and an elective component focusing on specific disciplinary topics. Current MIT graduate students may pursue the CSE SM as a standalone degree or as leading to the CSE Ph.D. program described below. The  Doctoral Program in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE Ph.D.)  allows students to specialize at the doctoral level in a computation-related field of their choice through focused coursework and a thesis through a number of participating host departments. The CSE Ph.D. program is administered jointly by the Center for Computational Science and Engineering (CCSE) and the host departments; the emphasis of thesis research activities is the development of new computational methods and/or the innovative application of computational techniques to important problems in engineering and science. For more information,  see the program descriptions  under Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs.

Joint Program with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The  Joint Program with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)  is intended for students whose primary career objective is oceanography or oceanographic engineering. Students divide their academic and research efforts between the campuses of MIT and WHOI. Joint Program students are assigned an MIT faculty member as an academic advisor; thesis research may be supervised by MIT or WHOI faculty. While in residence at MIT, students follow a program similar to that of other students in their home department. The  program is described in more detail  under Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs.

Leaders for Global Operations

The 24-month  Leaders for Global Operations (LGO)  program combines graduate degrees in engineering and management for those with previous postgraduate work experience and strong undergraduate degrees in a technical field. During the two-year program, students complete a six-month internship at one of LGO’s partner companies, where they conduct research that forms the basis of a dual-degree thesis. Students finish the program with two MIT degrees: an MBA (or SM in management) and an SM from one of eight engineering programs, some of which have optional or required LGO tracks. After graduation, alumni lead strategic initiatives in high-tech, operations, and manufacturing companies.

System Design and Management

The  System Design and Management (SDM)  program is a partnership among industry, government, and the university for educating technically grounded leaders of 21st-century enterprises. Jointly sponsored by the School of Engineering and the Sloan School of Management, it is MIT’s first degree program to be offered with a distance learning option in addition to a full-time in-residence option.

Technology and Policy

The Master of Science in Technology and Policy is an engineering research degree with a strong focus on the role of technology in policy analysis and formulation. The  Technology and Policy Program (TPP)  curriculum provides a solid grounding in technology and policy by combining advanced subjects in the student’s chosen technical field with courses in economics, politics, quantitative methods, and social science. Many students combine TPP’s curriculum with complementary subjects to obtain dual degrees in TPP and either a specialized branch of engineering or an applied social science such as political science or urban studies and planning. See the  program description  under the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.

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Doctoral Programs in Computational Science and Engineering

Doctor of philosophy in computational science and engineering, program requirements, programs offered by ccse in conjunction with select departments in the schools of engineering and science.

The interdisciplinary doctoral program in Computational Science and Engineering ( PhD in CSE + Engineering or Science ) offers students the opportunity to specialize at the doctoral level in a computation-related field of their choice via computationally-oriented coursework and a doctoral thesis with a disciplinary focus related to one of eight participating host departments, namely, Aeronautics and Astronautics; Chemical Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; Materials Science and Engineering; Mathematics; Mechanical Engineering; or Nuclear Science and Engineering.

Doctoral thesis fields associated with each department are as follows:

  • Aerospace Engineering and Computational Science
  • Computational Science and Engineering (available only to students who matriculate in 2023–2024 or earlier)
  • Chemical Engineering and Computation
  • Civil Engineering and Computation
  • Environmental Engineering and Computation
  • Computational Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering and Computation
  • Computational Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering and Computation
  • Computational Earth, Science and Planetary Sciences
  • Mathematics and Computational Science

As with the standalone CSE PhD program, the emphasis of thesis research activities is the development of new computational methods and/or the innovative application of state-of-the-art computational techniques to important problems in engineering and science. In contrast to the standalone PhD program, however, this research is expected to have a strong disciplinary component of interest to the host department.

The interdisciplinary CSE PhD program is administered jointly by CCSE and the host departments. Students must submit an application to the CSE PhD program, indicating the department in which they wish to be hosted. To gain admission, CSE program applicants must receive approval from both the host department graduate admission committee and the CSE graduate admission committee. See the website for more information about the application process, requirements, and relevant deadlines .

Once admitted, doctoral degree candidates are expected to complete the host department's degree requirements (including qualifying exam) with some deviations relating to coursework, thesis committee composition, and thesis submission that are specific to the CSE program and are discussed in more detail on the CSE website . The most notable coursework requirement associated with this CSE degree is a course of study comprising five graduate subjects in CSE (below).

Computational Concentration Subjects

Note: Students may not use more than 12 units of credit from a "meets with undergraduate" subject to fulfill the CSE curriculum requirements

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Master’s Degrees

The master’s degree generally requires a minimum of one academic year of study..

Admission to MIT for the master’s degree does not necessarily imply an automatic commitment by MIT beyond that level of study.

In the School of Engineering, students may be awarded the engineer’s degree. This degree program requires two years of study and provides a higher level of professional competence than is required by a master’s degree program, but less emphasis is placed on creative research than in the doctoral program.

Below is a list of programs and departments that offer master-level degrees.

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You are responsible for understanding and fulfilling all graduation requirements and must complete the following steps prior to the degree meeting of the Graduate Academic Performance Group (GAP).

1. Submit your degree application.

Your advanced degree is recommended by your department and approved at the GAP degree meeting.

  • Go to WebSIS to submit your degree application for your advanced degree.
  • Indicate whether you plan to attend Commencement , or pick up your diploma in Room 5-117 beginning the Tuesday after Commencement, or have your diploma mailed to you. You will be allowed to attend Commencement only if you provide this information.
  • The name on your diploma must be your legal name, but you may choose whether or not to include your middle name. Include accent marks, if applicable. 
  • Limit advanced degree thesis titles to 18 words and try to write out technical terms rather than using special notations (subscripts, Greek letters, etc.).
  • Contact us with questions related to advanced degree graduation. 

Key deadlines

Late applications are subject to a fee. We recommend that you submit an application even if you are unsure you will finish. There is no fee for coming off a degree list.

  • September graduates — apply by June.
  • February graduates — apply by September.
  • Spring graduates — apply by February.

2. Confirm and complete academic requirements.

All graduate students must complete the advanced degree requirements .

  • Review the degree requirements with your department to confirm that you will have successfully completed them in prior terms or during your final term.
  • If you have any outstanding transfer credit , you must file a Request for Additional Credit Form signed by the MIT transfer credit examiner, and have the other school send an official transcript, noting the class and final grade, to [email protected] or MIT Registrar’s Office, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 5-117, Cambridge, MA, 02139.

3. Clear degree holds.

Your degree may be held for unresolved financial obligations or conduct issues. Holds must be resolved before you can graduate.

  • Check WebSIS to confirm that there are no outstanding charges or past due balances on your student account.
  • Contact your student account counselor immediately if you have any pending departmental awards, unpaid sponsor billing, or outside scholarships.
  • If you have been involved in a conduct case, check with the Office of Student Conduct to ensure there are no outstanding sanctions that would prevent you from graduating.
  • If you have lived in an FSILG , you should check with the chapter’s treasurer to make sure that you have no unresolved obligations.

4. Complete loan exit counseling.

Graduating students who have borrowed through federal loan programs must complete online exit counseling. If you fail to do so, your degree may be withheld.

  • Refer to the instructions in the loan exit counseling email sent by Student Financial Services . For assistance, please email [email protected] .

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International Admissions

We are now accepting Graduate applications for Fall 2024, and Spring 2025.* *Please contact your department for application open terms and deadlines.

mit phd degree requirements

Our community welcomes you

Each year, the university enrolls approximately 1,700 international students. We are proud to offer extensive support and services to our international population. International applicants should plan to apply early so they have ample time to obtain their immigration documents and make living arrangements in the U.S. Any F-1/J-1 students planning to obtain their I-20/DS-2019 should contact the Center for Global Engagement at [email protected] . Please check with your department regarding deadlines. 

International Admissions Requirements

In addition to meeting graduate university admissions requirements, international applicants must also meet the following University requirements to be considered for admission. 

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Official English Language Proficiency results are required of all international applicants whose native language is not English. The following are the minimum scores required for admission to the University, although some departments require higher scores at the graduate level: 

Internet based TOEFL ( IBTOEFL ): 80 

Paper based TOEFL ( TOEFL ): 550 

International English Language Testing System ( Academic IELTS ): 6.5 

Pearson Test of English ( PTE ): 55 

Duolingo : 120 (Summer 2022 and Forward)

Cambridge C1 Advanced Level : 180  (Fall 2022 and Forward)

Michigan Language Assessment : 55  (Fall 2022 and Forward)

Although official scores are required, most departments will begin to review your application with self-reported scores, while they are waiting for the official scores to arrive. You can self-report your scores on your Online Status Page, after you submit your application. 

The English Language Proficiency requirement can be waived, at the University-level, for applicants who have earned a minimum of a BA or higher in the US or in an English-Speaking Country. Please note, your department may still require proof of English-Language proficiency. *A variety of countries are exempt from the English language proficiency requirement.

Transcript and Credential Evaluation Requirements

All transcripts/academic records that are not in English must be accompanied by certified English translations. 

To be considered "certified," documents should be true copies that are signed and dated by an educational official familiar with academic records. Any translated record should be literal and not an interpretive translation. Documents signed by a notary or other public official with no educational affiliation will not be accepted. 

If the transcript/academic record does not indicate the degree earned and date the degree was awarded, separate proof of degree is required. 

International applicants or degrees earned from international institutions must submit their official transcripts through the SpanTran pathway portal, or from another NACES approved evaluator. SpanTran has created a custom application for Florida State University that will make sure you select the right kind of evaluation at a discounted rate. Florida State University recommends SpanTran as our preferred credential evaluation because it offers an easy way to streamline the application process.

Please read more about our general transcript requirements on our  Graduate Admissions page. 

International Transfer Credit

International transfer credit is awarded for coursework completed at an accredited (recognized) institution of higher learning. No credit is awarded for technical, vocational, or below-college-level coursework, or courses completed with grades below "D-." An official course-by-course evaluation is required for all academic records from non-U.S. institutions. We recommend the evaluation be done by a member of the  National Association of Credential Evaluation Services . 

Link to Center for Global Engagement Website


The Center for Global Engagement (CGE) and its staff are here to serve international students and their families. They may advise you about:

  • F and J visa requirements
  • Cultural adjustment
  • Employment matters
  • Housing assistance
  • Assistance with personal concerns
  • Maintaining your visa status

Many academic programs only accept applications for a specific admit term. Contact your academic department to determine which admit term to apply. It is recommended that you submit your application as soon as the admit term opens. CGE also assists students throughout the New International Student Checklist and Process . You may learn more about what CGE has to offer by emailing [email protected]

Link to Center for Intensive English Studies Website

Center for Intensive English Studies

Need to improve your English skills? FSU’s Center for Intensive English Studies can help! At CIES, you will be given personalized instruction by highly qualified teachers in a safe, friendly environment.

Please note that admission to and completion of the CIES program does not necessarily guarantee admission to the University as a degree-seeking student.

CIES also offers:

  • TEFL certification  opportunities
  • Credit-bearing courses and workshops  to enhance your English speaking ability

Learn more about how the Center for Intensive English Studies can help you.  

Florida State University is required by U.S. federal regulations to verify the financial resources of each applicant prior to issuing the Form I-20. If granted admission to the University, an email with instructions on how to complete the I-20 will be sent from the Center for Global Engagement (CGE). You will provide information verifying your financial support (bank statements, award letters, scholarships, etc.) through the I-20 application. FSU requires proof of financial support for the first year of study and demonstrated availability of funds for the length of your academic program

Estimated International Student Costs:

For more information on estimated costs of living and the I-20 process, please visit  CGE’s website .  

I-20 Application

Shortly after admission, students will receive an email with instructions for completing the online I-20 application to demonstrate proof of adequate funding. Florida State University is required by U.S. federal regulations to verify the financial resources of each applicant prior to issuing the Form I-20. Applicants must show proof of financial support for the first year of study and confirm availability of funds for the length of the academic program.

For more information, contact the Center for Global Engagement at [email protected] .

US Federal Grants and Loans are not Awarded to International Students

Graduate students may apply to their respective departments for assistantships or fellowships, although funds are very limited. For further information, please contact your academic department directly. 

SPEAK (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit) is a test for evaluating the English speaking ability of non-native speakers of English. At FSU, the SPEAK test is administered by the Center for Intensive English Studies to international students who have been appointed or will be appointed as teaching assistants in an academic department at Florida State University.

For more information, click here .

  Explore Funding Opportunities 

May the TOEFL be waived?

The TOEFL may only be waived as a test requirement if the student has received a bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. institution.

Can you review my documents prior to applying?

Students must submit the application, application fee, and any required departmental materials for application materials to be reviewed.

Can the application fee be waived?

Unfortunately, the Office of Admissions is unable to waive the application fee payment for graduate applicants.  In order to complete your application for review, you must submit the application fee payment by logging in to your Application Status Check ,  along with any other documents required by the department. 

When will I receive a decision?

Applications are reviewed holistically by each graduate department. Please contact your department for information about decision timelines. Please note that the application must first be completed before it can be reviewed. Contact your department for more information.

Can the GRE be waived?

FSU is currently waiving the GRE requirement for most master’s and specialist programs through Fall 2026*. For more information on whether the requirement can be waived, please contact your graduate department. 

* Excludes the College of Business

What if I don’t meet the English Language Proficiency score requirements?

​​​​​​ The FSU Center of Intensive English Studies (CIES) offers comprehensive courses to help students improve their English skills. Students who complete the top-level of the CIES program will not have to take an English Language Proficiency test.

What is the F-1 visa/I-20 process?

  • Students can learn more about the I-20 process here .
  • Students can learn about the visa here .

Do you have funding available for International students?

  • The Graduate School offers fellowship and grant opportunities for graduate students. For current FSU students, the  Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards  assists in identifying and applying for external funding opportunities. In addition,  here is some more information  about additional funding opportunities for international students. 
  • There may also be additional funding opportunities through your department. Please contact your graduate representative for assistance. If you do not know who to contact, please email us at [email protected] for assistance.

Are there on-campus housing opportunities?

University housing costs are not included in the tuition and fees at Florida State University. If you want the option of living on campus, you can apply for housing online as soon as you are officially admitted to FSU. Housing at university-owned residence halls and apartments fill quickly. You can also find off-campus housing options by clicking here .

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PhD Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering contributes to the advances in a variety of technical areas including biomaterials, tissue engineering, stem cells and regenerative medicine, cell and gene therapy, medical devices, bioinstrumentation, systems physiology etc. The  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics  projects 5% growth in biomedical engineering jobs over the next 10 years, which is higher than the 4% growth projected for all engineering jobs and faster than the average for all occupations. There are many engineering grand challenges that rely on biomedical engineering such as engineering better medicines, reverse-engineering the brain, and advancing health informatics.

To learn more about the innovative and translational research being conducted, click  here . Contact the  graduate coordinator  for additional details.

Exceptional and highly motivated students with a B.S. degree who have not completed an M.S. degree may apply for direct admission to a Ph.D. program provided they have demonstrated research experience. The student’s desire and suitability to enter a Ph.D. program should be clearly articulated in their statement of purpose and in accompanying letters of recommendation.


Program of Study

Minimum requirement – 72 credit hours (minimum of 28 credit hours course work; minimum of 45 credit hours research and dissertation)

A thesis master’s degree from an accredited university may be accepted for up to 30 credit hours, in which case a minimum of 42 credit hours of approved course work, research and dissertation beyond the M.S. degree would be required

General Requirements

In addition to  Graduate School requirements  and  College of Engineering requirements , the School of Chemical, Materials and Biological Engineering has the following doctoral program requirements:

  • Ph.D. students must form their Graduate Advisory Committee within 18 months of starting their Ph.D. program. The committee must be comprised of 5 members, all of whom must be members of the graduate faculty and at least one, but no more than two faculty members on the Advisory Committee must have an appointment exclusively outside the College of Engineering.
  • A student must pass written qualifying and oral comprehensive exams before completing and orally defending a dissertation. The written qualifying exam will be administered by the school. The oral comprehensive exam will follow the  Graduate School Requirements .
  • Ph.D. students are expected to be admitted to candidacy within 24 months of starting their Ph.D. program.
  • Student must make two oral presentations in the School Seminar Series advertised to the UGA scientific and engineering community.
  • The student’s dissertation research is expected to generate significant scholarship (such as publications, patents, conference presentations).

A complete list of PhD program milestones is available  here .

* Only 3 hours of Bioengineering Seminar may apply on the Program of Study. Individual Programs or Schools may require students to enroll for additional semesters. Students are strongly encouraged to continue regular attendance of speaker series presentations even if not formally registered in the seminar.

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Four from MIT named 2024 Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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Two by two grid of Top row: Vittorio Colicci, Owen Dugan, Carina Letong Hong, and Carine You, all with the same reddish roofttops and trees in the background

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MIT senior Owen Dugan, graduate student Vittorio Colicci ’22, predoctoral research fellow Carine You ’22, and recent alumna Carina Letong Hong ’22 are recipients of this year’s Knight-Hennessy Scholarships. The competitive fellowship, now in its seventh year, funds up to three years of graduate studies in any field at Stanford University. To date, 22 MIT students and alumni have been awarded Knight-Hennessy Scholarships.

“We are excited for these students to continue their education at Stanford with the generous support of the Knight Hennessy Scholarship,” says Kim Benard, associate dean of distinguished fellowships in Career Advising and Professional Development. “They have all demonstrated extraordinary dedication, intellect, and leadership, and this opportunity will allow them to further hone their skills to make real-world change.”

Vittorio Colicci ’22

Vittorio Colicci, from Trumbull, Connecticut, graduated from MIT in May 2022 with a BS in aerospace engineering and physics. He will receive his master’s degree in planetary sciences this spring. At Stanford, Colicci will pursue a PhD in earth and planetary sciences at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. He hopes to investigate how surface processes on Earth and Mars have evolved through time alongside changes in habitability. Colicci has worked largely on spacecraft engineering projects, developing a monodisperse silica ceramic for electrospray thrusters and fabricating high-energy diffraction gratings for space telescopes. As a Presidential Graduate Fellow at MIT, he examined the influence of root geometry on soil cohesion for early terrestrial plants using 3D-printed reconstructions. Outside of research, Colicci served as co-director of TEDxMIT and propulsion lead for the MIT Rocket Team. He is also passionate about STEM engagement and outreach, having taught educational workshops in Zambia and India.

Owen Dugan, from Sleepy Hollow, New York, is a senior majoring in physics. As a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, he will pursue a PhD in computer science at the Stanford School of Engineering. Dugan aspires to combine artificial intelligence and physics, developing AI that enables breakthroughs in physics and using physics techniques to design more capable and safe AI systems. He has collaborated with researchers from Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and DeepMind, and has presented his first-author research at venues including the International Conference on Machine Learning, the MIT Mechanistic Interpretability Conference, and the American Physical Society March Meeting. Among other awards, Dugan is a Hertz Finalist, a U.S. Presidential Scholar, an MIT Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awardee, a Research Science Institute Scholar, and a Neo Scholar. He is also a co-founder of VeriLens, a funded startup enabling trust on the internet by cryptographically verifying digital media.

Carina Letong Hong ’22

Carina Letong Hong, from Canton, China, is currently pursuing a JD/PhD in mathematics at Stanford. A first-generation college student, Hong graduated from MIT in May 2022 with a double major in mathematics and physics and was inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. She then earned a neuroscience master’s degree with dissertation distinctions from the University of Oxford, where she conducted artificial intelligence and machine learning research at Sainsbury Wellcome Center’s Gatsby Unit. At Stanford Law School, Hong provides legal aid to low-income workers and uses economic analysis to push for law enforcement reform. She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals, served as an expert referee for journals and conferences, and spoken at summits in the United States, Germany, France, the U.K., and China. She was the recipient of the AMS-MAA-SIAM Morgan Prize for Outstanding Research, the highest honor for an undergraduate in mathematics in North America; the AWM Alice T. Schafer Prize for Mathematical Excellence, given annually to an undergraduate woman in the United States; the Maryam Mirzakhani Fellowship; and a Rhodes Scholarship.

Carine You ’22

Carine You, from San Diego, California, graduated from MIT in May 2022 with bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and in mathematics. Since graduating, You has worked as a predoctoral research assistant with Professor Amy Finkelstein in the MIT Department of Economics, where she has studied the quality of Medicare nursing home care and the targeting of medical screening technologies. This fall, You will embark on a PhD in economic analysis and policy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She wishes to address pressing issues in environmental and health-care markets, with a particular focus on economic efficiency and equity. You previously developed audio signal processing algorithms at Bose, refined mechanistic models to inform respiratory monitoring at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, and analyzed corruption in developmental projects in India at the World Bank. Through Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow, she taught computer science to Israeli and Palestinian students in Jerusalem and spearheaded an online pilot expansion for the organization. At MIT, she was named a Burchard Scholar.

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  1. Degree Requirements

    mit phd degree requirements

  2. Guidelines for Physics Doctoral Candidates » MIT Physics

    mit phd degree requirements

  3. Admission Requirements of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT

    mit phd degree requirements

  4. Degree Requirements and Curriculum

    mit phd degree requirements

  5. How to get a PhD: Steps and Requirements Explained (2022)

    mit phd degree requirements

  6. Types of Doctorate Degrees

    mit phd degree requirements


  1. What is PhD with Full Information?

  2. Graduate Policy 2023: New Admission Pathways in PhD, MPhil, MS Programs

  3. What is PhD with Full Information?

  4. Unveiling the Three Levels of the Learning Process

  5. Study Bachelors Degree in USA!

  6. What Happens in PhD coursework


  1. Graduate requirements

    What you need to know At MIT, graduate degree requirements are determined by the individual departments or programs and approved by the Committee on Graduate Programs (CGP). Each graduate student is officially enrolled in an individual degree program. MIT graduate programs are full-time and work is done chiefly on campus in collaboration with faculty, peers, and the Institute community.

  2. PhD Program Requirements

    PhD Program Requirements. The Chemistry Department offers a flexible program that allows students to select courses tailored to their individual background and research interests. Students also teach for two semesters. As part of the requirement for a PhD degree, MIT requires a General Examination, with both an oral and written part.

  3. Admissions Requirements

    Admissions Requirements. The following are general requirements you should meet to apply to the MIT Sloan PhD Program. Complete instructions concerning application requirements are available in the online application. General Requirements. Bachelor's degree or equivalent. A strong quantitative background (the Accounting group requires calculus)

  4. CSE PhD

    The MIT graduate application fee of $75.00 is a mandatory requirement set by the Institute payable by credit card. ... Degree Requirements for Admission. To be admitted as a regular graduate student, an applicant must have earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. ...

  5. PhD Program

    MIT Sloan PhD Program graduates lead in their fields and are teaching and producing research at the world's most prestigious universities. Rigorous, discipline-based research is the hallmark of the MIT Sloan PhD Program. The program is committed to educating scholars who will lead in their fields of research—those with outstanding ...

  6. PhD in Physics, Statistics, and Data Science » MIT Physics

    The Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Statistics (IDPS) is designed to provide students with the highest level of competency in 21st century statistics, enabling doctoral students across MIT to better integrate computation and data analysis into their PhD thesis research. Admission to this program is restricted to students currently ...

  7. Applying

    Applying. When applying to graduate school at MIT, you are applying to a specific department. It's important that you indicate on the application the degree and program that you wish to pursue. Your application is then evaluated by the appropriate department, and you are notified of the result. Even if your objective is to enter an ...

  8. Graduate

    Graduate Students 2018-2019. The department offers programs covering a broad range of topics leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and the Doctor of Science degrees (the student chooses which to receive; they are functionally equivalent). Candidates are admitted to either the Pure or Applied Mathematics programs but are free to pursue interests ...

  9. Degree programs

    All MIT graduate degree programs have residency requirements, which reflect academic terms (excluding summer). Some degrees also require completion of an acceptable thesis prepared in residence at MIT, unless special permission is granted for part of the thesis work to be accomplished elsewhere.

  10. Graduate Degrees & Requirements

    Graduate Degrees & Requirements. Graduate study in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics includes graduate-level subjects in Course 16 and others at MIT, and research work culminating in a thesis. Degrees are awarded at the master's and doctoral levels. The range of subject matter is described under Graduate Fields of Study.

  11. Admissions < MIT

    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 ...

  12. Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

    77 Massachusetts Avenue Building 54-912 Cambridge MA, 02139. 617-253-3381 [email protected]. Website: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

  13. Doctoral Programs in Computational Science and Engineering < MIT

    279-399. 1. A program of study comprising subjects in the selected core areas and the computational concentration must be developed in consultation with the student's doctoral thesis committee and approved by the CCSE graduate officer. Programs Offered by CCSE in Conjunction with Select Departments in the Schools of Engineering and Science.

  14. Master's Degrees

    The master's degree generally requires a minimum of one academic year of study. Admission to MIT for the master's degree does not necessarily imply an automatic commitment by MIT beyond that level of study. In the School of Engineering, students may be awarded the engineer's degree. This degree program requires two years of study and ...

  15. Graduate Admissions

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  16. Graduate degree requirements

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  17. International Admissions

    Our community welcomes you. Each year, the university enrolls approximately 1,700 international students. We are proud to offer extensive support and services to our international population. International applicants should plan to apply early so they have ample time to obtain their immigration documents and make living arrangements in the U.S.

  18. PhD Biomedical Engineering

    A minimum of 42 hours of Doctoral Research (ENGR 9000) or Project-Focused Doctoral Research (ENGR 9010). Typically, students complete more than 42 credit hours with the approval of the Graduate Advisory Committee. 3 hours of Ph.D. Dissertation (ENGR 9300) is required on the Plan of Study. A thesis master's degree from an accredited university ...

  19. Master of Science Degree

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  20. MIT Supply Chain Management Program earns top honors in ...

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  21. Four from MIT named 2024 Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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