Graduate Policies & Procedures

Student and faculty

Each graduate student bears a responsibility for respect and maturity in his or her behavior towards the Institute and members of the Institute community. Ideally this respect will be manifested by contributions to the MIT community beyond his or her research. Graduate students form a large part of the MIT community. Their involvement can have a significant influence on the Institute.

Establishing and maintaining a proper relationship between faculty and graduate student are fundamental to the Institute’s success. This relationship should be founded on mutual respect and open communication. Responsibility for the success of the relationship rests with both graduate students and faculty members.

Frequent and open communication between graduate student and faculty is important for many reasons. It provides the graduate student an opportunity for evaluation of his or her work. It improves the efficiency of research through discussion of important issues. It prevents conflicts that may result when a faculty member or student is unaware of or unwilling to discuss a potential problem. Graduate students and faculty, therefore, should make specific plans to have regular contact. Both parties bear responsibility to realize those plans.

To avoid unnecessary surprises, graduate students and faculty have a responsibility to inform each other as soon as they have knowledge of a possible change of their status. Faculty members should inform graduate students promptly of matters that affect their funding or graduate status. Graduate students should provide reasonable notice to their advisors if they intend to leave or change advisors; have a medical or personal issue that interferes with study and research; or are experiencing other academic or life issues that an advisor might reasonably need to know about. When circumstances require leaving a research project, graduate students should provide a summary of their work so that any delay associated with continuation of the project is minimized.

While it is possible to change one’s advisor, this may be an easy process or a delicate one, depending on the progress made by the student toward his or her degree. The student should discuss options with a graduate administrator, the departmental graduate officer, a counseling dean, an ombudsperson, or with a dean in the ODGE.

Graduate students must be notified of subject requirements, including grading criteria and procedures, at the beginning of each subject. Graduate students share with the faculty the responsibility for securing, maintaining, and protecting the integrity of grades, scholarship, and research.

The graduate student/faculty relationship should be free of personal exploitation and harassment, in accordance with MIT Policies and ProceduresSection 9.5. Both faculty and graduate students should avoid personal or professional relationships which conflict with their respective roles and duties at MIT, particularly those which may jeopardize the relationship between advisor and student. (See also MIT Policies and ProceduresSection 4.4, on conflict of interest.)

Graduate students should receive recognition for scholarly assistance to faculty, and vice versa.

Graduate students should be encouraged to participate in extra-academic activities and to recognize the value of such activities for their intellectual and professional development. It is appropriate for faculty to encourage their students to acheive a reasonable balance between their academic and extra-academic lives.