International student

Qualifications

Graduate student applicants, who are not citizens or permanent residents of the US, must have 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 upon evaluation of academic records and professional merit.

Competence in written and spoken English is required. 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. Departments may also choose to waive the English language testing requirement for applicants who have met department waiver criteria. 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 must be in legal immigration status while they are enrolled. If there are any questions about their status, students should contact the MIT International Students Office (ISO) for advice on the procedures for reinstatement. Students who came to the United States as children and have questions about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) should visit the Department of Homeland Security DACA website for information.)

Documentation

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 a US Embassy or Consulate.
  • In order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019) students must document that they have adequate funds for tuition, health insurance and living expenses during the academic year and summer months. US consular officers normally review the documentation of availability of funds before issuing the visa.
  • The ISO should be consulted for any questions regarding immigration regulations.

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. International students who fail to register during a required term, but remain in the US without prior approval from the International Students Office will lose their legal status. Before taking a reduced load, a leave of absence, or withdrawing, international students should consult one of the ISO advisors.