Timeline and F.A.Q.
Fall 2019 | Application portal opens
December 15, 11:59 pm (EST) | Application Portal Closes
December 15 – February 15 | Faculty Review of Applications
Week of March 1 | Decisions are Emailed
April 2-4 | 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
Q. Is there a minimum GPA requirement for admission to CEE ?
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.
Q. Is there a minimum GRE score for admission to CEE?
A. No, but most successful applicants score in the 90th percentile or better in the quantitative and verbal reasoning portions of the GRE. The average score of admitted students on the Analytical Writing section is 4.5/6.0
Q. Do I have to take an English language exam like IELTS or TOEFL?
A. If your first language is not English, you will be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
Q. Is there a minimum English language exam score required for admission to CEE?
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.
Q. Can I waive the English Language exam?
A. You may request a waiver if you have completed four years of undergraduate study in the US or if you scored the minimum TOEFL or IELTS score prior to entering a graduate program in the US. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a waiver.
Q. Can I submit a supporting document after the deadline?
A. We will accept letters of recommendation through the end of 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.
Q. What is the cost of attending MIT for one year?
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 Boston.
Q. Can I have the application fee waived?
A. In most cases, no. The Institute does not waive application fees except for a very limited number of U.S. applicants. Application fees are never waived for international applicants.
Q. Is there a specific format for letters of recommendation?
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.
Q. My recommender has not received my request email. What should I do?
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
Q. When will I find out if I’ve been admitted?
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.)
Q. Can you evaluate my chances of admission before I apply?
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.
Q. Do I need an undergraduate degree in civil or environmental engineering to apply for the Master of Science program?
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.
Q. Should I apply for a master’s or a PhD degree?
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.
Q. Is there a dual-degree graduate program in CEE and management?
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.
Q. Should I contact a faculty member before I apply?
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.
Q. Can I apply to more than one department?
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.
Q. Are there online or part-time degree programs?
A. No, we do not offer online or part-time degree programs.
Q. Which subjects will be included in my degree program?
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.
- What project areas are you anticipating in the coming year? Do you have specific topics in mind for a potential graduate student?
- What is the mix of computation, field, laboratory, theoretical that you work on?
- What is the process of identifying a thesis topic in your group?
- How would the first year unfold and how would that lead to a thesis proposal?
- 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?
- Who would be my main point of contact for research questions and guidance? (e.g. faculty, postdoc, lab technician)
- Do your students go to conferences and present? How soon? How often?
- 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?
- What do you think are the characteristics of a successful graduate student?