Skip to navigationSkip to contentSkip to footer

Graduate Timeline & FAQ

Fall 2021: Application portal opens
December 1, 11:59 pm (EST): CEE Application Portal Closes
January 4, 11:59 pm (EST): Interdepartmental Program in Transportation Application Portal Closes
December 1 – February 15: Faculty Review of Applications
Week of March 1: Decisions are Emailed
April 1: Admitted Student Open House
April 15: Applicant decision deadline. MIT (like many schools, is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools, which enforces this hard deadline)

General Admissions FAQs

A. No, we don’t require a minimum GPA for admission. Institutions use different scales, criteria and methods to calculate GPA, making it difficult to define a minimum. Instead, we evaluate transcripts by focusing on the grades received in individual classes, especially those classes our faculty feel are relevant to your area of study.

A. CEE and the Interdepartmental Program in Transportation will not be requiring GRE scores for the 2021-2022 graduate admissions cycle, e.g. for students applying in fall 2021.

A. We require a minimum score of 7.5 on IELTS for admission to all of our graduate programs. On the TOEFL, we require a minimum score of 100 on the Internet-based exam.

A. If you are an international applicant and you do not meet the criteria for a waiver, you will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

A. You may request a waiver if either (1) English is your first language, or 2) English was the language of instruction for your undergraduate education or (3) if you scored above the CEE minimum TOEFL or IELTS score prior to entering a graduate program in the US. Please check the appropriate box in your application to request a waiver.

A. We will accept letters of recommendation through mid-December, but updated statements, CVs and additional abstracts cannot be uploaded after the deadline. Please be sure the documents you provide initially are in final form.

A.  Tuition at MIT changes annually. The current tuition rate can be found online at Student Financial Services. The Graduate Student Council website has a detailed estimate of the cost of living in Cambridge. Additionally, research oriented degrees in the department are funded via a Research Assistantship. More information on funding can be found here: https://cee.mit.edu/graduate/graduate-funding/

A. Fee waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis, underrepresented minorities and first-generation students are encouraged to apply. You can find more information here: http://gradadmissions.mit.edu/about/diversity-initiatives/fee-waiver

A. The online application generates a URL that you will send to your letter writers. Instructions for the letter writers are provided through that link. You do not need to send a form to the recommenders.

A. Ask your recommender to check his/her spam mailbox for the email you sent. If it’s not in the spam box, you can send the message again, using the link from your online application account. If you encounter technical difficulties, please write to application technical support for help.

General Admissions Process FAQs

A. Not all admissions decisions are made the same time. We make most decisions regarding admissions and funding mid-February to March 1. Applicants are notified of their status between March 1 and 15. Admitted students must accept or decline our offer of admission by April 15. This is the deadline for students to accept admission to most U.S. colleges and universities. (See the Council of Graduate Schools resolution for more information.)

A. No, we don’t offer pre-application screening. One way to prescreen your own application is to investigate CEE faculty members’ areas of research to see how your background and professional goals fit. This can serve as an indicator of whether CEE is a good fit for you.

A. Admissions to the SM and PhD programs do not require an undergraduate degree in engineering. However, the MEng degree does require a degree in engineering or a closely related field, but it does not have to be in civil or environmental engineering.

A. In order to be admitted directly to the doctoral degree program in CEE, you must have completed a thesis-based master’s degree, either at MIT or another university. Otherwise, you will be admitted at the master’s level with the expectation that you’ll continue on for the PhD. After passing the doctoral qualifying exam, you and your research advisor will determine whether you should complete the master’s thesis (usually one additional semester) or transition directly into the PhD program. The master’s research often forms the basis of the PhD research.

A. The two-year MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program offers both an SM in civil or environmental engineering and an MBA or SM from the MIT Sloan School of Management. LGO’s program of study in CEE offers tracks in energy and environment, transportation, and general CEE. LGO is designed for students with two or more years of work experience who aspire to leadership positions in the fields of manufacturing and operations.

A. If your research interests are a particularly good fit with those of a faculty member, it is acceptable and might be helpful for you to contact that faculty member directly before you apply for admission.

A. Yes. You will have to submit a separate application and fee to each department. The only exceptions are applications to our joint degree programs with Leaders for Global Operations or Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

A. No, we do not offer online or part-time degree programs.

A. For our research-based degree programs, students work with their advisor to determine a program of study that best suits the student’s research goals. A typical Doctoral program will consist of three core subjects and minimum of 5 additional subjects to further support the student’s research.

Questions for Prospective Advisors

For SM/PhD students, selection of a research advisor is a critical element of deciding on a graduate program. To aid in that process, we have put together a list of questions you might consider asking of a prospective research advisor, at MIT or elsewhere.

  1. What project areas are you anticipating in the coming year? Do you have specific topics in mind for a potential graduate student?
  2. What is the mix of computation, field, laboratory, theoretical that you work on?
  3. What is the process of identifying a thesis topic in your group?
  4. How would the first year unfold and how would that lead to a thesis proposal?
  5. How frequently do you meet with your advisees to discuss research progress? Do you typically meet with advisees one-on-one or in a group?
  6. Who would be my main point of contact for research questions and guidance? (e.g. faculty, postdoc, lab technician)
  7. Do your students go to conferences and present? How soon? How often?
  8. How are students funded in your group? (e.g. TAing, Research Assistantships, Fellowships). How do different funding sources impact day-to-day activities and responsibilities? Do you encourage students to apply for fellowships (even if you guarantee support through RA/TA funding)? Do your students contribute to writing grant applications?
  9. What do you think are the characteristics of a successful graduate student?