Graduate Policies & Procedures

Roles & Relationships

This section attempts to define and address the roles, relationships, and expectations that currently exist in the life of a graduate student, as well as the fundamental principles that guide these relationships. Areas of focus include the faculty advisor; the department; the Institute as a whole; RA and TA appointments; student leadership; and academic integrity.

The principles that underlie these guidelines are open communication and respect. Graduate students and the other members of the MIT community share responsibility for adhering to these principles.

A 2015 publication called  “Best Practices in Graduate Student Advising” is available in the OGE headquarters 3-138. Printable versions of the content are available in two 8.5” x 11” documents for download as “Common Values on the Graduate Student Experience” and “Institute Policy Guiding the Graduate Student Experience”.

Best Practices in Graduate Student Advising” 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 point. 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 Institute policies, however, are applicable to graduate students regardless of department or concentration and support these best practices.

The statement of roles and relationships described in this section was prepared initially by the Academic Projects and Policies Committee of the Graduate Student Council (GSC). The Office of Graduate Education (OGE) and the Graduate Student Council (GSC) collaborate on ongoing work in the development and dissemination of best practices in graduate student advising.  The statements regarding the relationship between the student and the advisor, department, and Institute were revised in 2014–2015 as part of an initiative led by the GSC Academic Research and Careers (ARC) Committee, to create guidelines for best practices in graduate student advising and mentoring. The guidelines are endorsed by the Committee on Graduate Programs.

Students and faculty are encouraged to manage conflicts and seek assistance through a variety of MIT resources and offices, compiled in resources.mit.edu. These include:

  • Department/Program Heads
  • Ombuds Office
    Independent, confidential, and neutral resource that helps MIT community members express concerns, resolve disputes, manage conflicts, and learn more productive ways of communicating.
    Room 10-213, Phone 617-253-5921
    http://ombud.mit.edu/
  • Graduate Personal Support (GPS)
    Office of Graduate Education (OGE)

    Provides advice and counsel on faculty/student relationships, conflict negotiation, funding, academic progress, interpersonal concerns, a student’s rights and responsibilities, and more.
    Room 3-138, Phone 617-253-4860, Email odge@mit.edu
    http://odge.mit.edu/
  • Title IX Office
    The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that MIT complies with and carries out Title IX responsibilities to prohibit gender discrimination, including all forms of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, and stalking.
    Room W31-223, Phone  617-324-7526, Email titleix@mit.edu
    http://titleix.mit.edu
  • Institute Community & Equity Office
    The mission of the Institute Community & Equity Office (ICEO) is to advance a respectful and caring community that embraces diversity and empowers everyone to learn and do their best at MIT.
    Room 4-250, Phone 617-324-7319, Email iceo@mit.edu
    http://diversity.mit.edu/
  • MIT Medical
    Central resource for all things related to physical and mental well-being.
    Building E23, Phone 617-253-4481
    https://medical.mit.edu/
  • Mental Health & Counseling @ MIT Medical
    Support for students dealing with personal concerns including anxiety, depression, relationship problems, stress, or other issues. For urgent concerns, call to speak to a Mental Health clinician.
    Building E23, 3rd floor, Phone 617-253-2916 weekdays, 617-253-448 nights/weekends
    https://medical.mit.edu/services/mental-health-counseling
  • Resources for Easing Friction and Stress: REFS
    REFS students are trained by Conflict Management@MIT to provide low barrier, confidential services to their peers in the form of support, coaching, listening, de-escalation, and informal mentoring and mediation.
    http://refs.mit.edu