Graduate Policies & Procedures

Roles & Relationships

This statement of roles and relationships was prepared initially by the Academic Projects and Policies Committee of the Graduate Student Council and is endorsed by the Committee on Graduate Programs.

This is an attempt to define and address the roles, relationships, and expectations that currently exist between the graduate student and various units of the Institute with which he/she comes into daily contact, and identify the fundamental principles that guide these relationships.

The statement addresses the faculty/graduate student relationship, which is crucial to the success or failure of a graduate student’s study here at MIT. The ideal relationship is a collegial one, in which the common goals are the completion of the student’s degree program in a reasonable time frame and the ongoing success of the faculty member’s research program. The graduate student and faculty share responsibility for the establishment of a relationship that achieves these goals.

The statement also considers graduate student issues on departmental and Institute wide levels. The majority of educational, recreational, and social opportunities are found at the departmental level. There are significant differences among the academic departments and interdisciplinary programs in philosophical approaches, procedures, physical settings, and budgets. Local policies and regulations vary widely. Some of these variations are appropriate to one particular department’s field of research and study. Many policies, however, are applicable to graduate students regardless of department or concentration. This statement does not seek to challenge departmental individuality. Instead, it attempts to bring together those policies that apply across departmental boundaries so that graduate students may have a common reference for their situation at MIT.

Two underlying principles are open communication and respect. Graduate students and the other members of the MIT community share responsibility for adhering to these principles.