Graduate Policies & Procedures

International student

Graduate student applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the US must have received a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical institute of acceptable standing. The academic record and all credentials must indicate the ability of the candidate to achieve distinction in an approved program of study and research. Admission is granted on a competitive basis by the departmental admissions committee after evaluation of academic records and professional promise.

Competence in written and spoken English is expected. Students whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Some departments may only accept one of these two exams, so applicants should check with their specific department of interest. In addition, all incoming graduate students whose native language is not English are required to take the MIT English Evaluation Test (EET) offered at the start of each regular semester. The MIT EET is a proficiency exam designed to indicate areas where deficiencies may prevent full participation in graduate activities and to recommend specific subjects in academic English language at MIT if needed.

International students should be aware that academic admission is only the first step in the admission process. In order to attend MIT, international students who are already in this country must be in legal status. If there are any questions about their status, students should contact the International Students Office for advice on the procedures to follow for reinstatement.

International students coming to the US from abroad need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the International Students Office. This form is necessary to obtain the appropriate visa from the American Consulate. In order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS2019), students must document that they have adequate funds for tuition and living expenses during the academic year and summer months. Consular officers normally review the documentation of availability of funds before issuing the visa. While pursuing their degrees at MIT, international students are expected to comply with the immigration regulations pertinent to their visa status and maintain legal status. The International Students Office should be consulted for any questions regarding immigration regulations.

International students who fail to register but remain in the US will lose their legal status. (Before taking a reduced load, a leave of absence, or withdrawing, international students should consult one of the international student advisors.)