For Prospective Students

The Fall 2024 admissions cycle will open on September 1.

The graduate application completion deadline of December 1 for admission the following fall semester (we do not offer spring admission). We offer online applications only  paper applications will not be reviewed.

If you have questions regarding AeroAstro graduate admissions that are not answered below, or the Covid-19 and GRE statements below, please email

As of June 1, 2020, AeroAstro no longer requires or accepts the GRE as part of the admissions process for our SM and PhD programs. If you are applying to the LGO Program, please refer to their application process.

Statement on Graduate Admissions with regard to Covid-19

Each year, we receive a large number of excellent applications from prospective students, and we strive to be as fair as possible when evaluating them for admission into our graduate program. We understand that the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has caused many schools —including MIT — to implement some version of pass/no record or pass/fail academic grading at this time. Admission to our graduate program is done on a holistic basis, and in accordance with our values and mission. We want to assure you that we will take into account the circumstances surrounding the pandemic as we evaluate your candidacy in our graduate program — we will not hold this unprecedented situation against you when considering your application.

Graduate Program Information Sessions

During the open graduate application cycle, AeroAstro hosts graduate information sessions for prospective students to learn more about our faculty, research, program offerings, and our graduate school application process! We will be holding information sessions on applying to AeroAstro graduate programs on the following days/times:

Register for the September 19th at 4 PM EST Information Session.
Register for the October 18th at 1 PM EST Information Session.
Register for the November 8th at 4 PM EST Information Session.


All graduate applicants to MIT apply to their individual departments, rather than to the Institute as a whole. AeroAstro uses a department-specific online graduate application. For more information on graduate admissions in general, please visit the central MIT Graduate Admissions website.

There’s no special formula or secret that guarantees an offer of admission from MIT AeroAstro. The selection process is competitive and follows a holistic approach. Below are some of the metrics used in evaluating graduate admission applications specifically within our department.

Prior Degrees

Students applying with a bachelor’s degree are eligible for admission to our Master’s program. Once accepted to our Master’s program, students can undergo in their second year the Field Evaluations. These evaluations serve as admission to our Ph.D. program. Having passed the Field Evaluations, the students can commence their doctoral studies once their Master’s is completed. Students who already hold a Master’s degree may apply for direct acceptance to our Ph.D. program but still must pass the Field Evaluation to become doctoral candidates. Your undergraduate and graduate degrees need not be in aeronautics or astronautics.


Applicants are expected to have a strong background in mathematical and physical sciences and/or engineering. If you are changing fields, you should address your reasons and preparedness for doing so in your Statement of Objectives, a very important part of your graduate application.

We ask that you upload your transcripts from each institution from which you have received or will receive a degree. We examine these documents for academic and research/project performance and general grade trends following a holistic approach.


You are required to submit three letters of recommendation as part of your application. We recommend that all or at least two of these come from faculty members with whom you’ve worked closely, especially in a research capacity. Your research and/or project experience plays an important role in the overall assessment. If you’ve recently completed an internship or have been out of school and working for over one year, you may wish to include an industry recommendation. You may not submit more than three letters, and these letters must be submitted using our electronic application system.

English as a Foreign Language Testing Requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit official TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English Qualification scores with their application. Please note that AeroAstro will accept the TOEFL “at-home” IBT. Unofficial scores are required for submission of the application however official scores must be received by MIT for your application to be evaluated.

On the TOEFL, you must score a minimum of 100 on the internet-based exam. On the IELTS you must score a minimum of 7.0 total. On the Cambridge English Qualification, you must score a minimum of 185. Applicants who do not meet or exceed these minimums are not eligible for admission. To be eligible for Fall admission, this exam must be taken on or by November 15, so that your score report will reach us by the application completion deadline of December 1.

You can request a waiver in the application if you meet one of the following criteria:

1) Applicant’s main language of instruction was English in their primary and secondary schools (i.e., from age 6 through age 18).

2) Applicant has been residing in the U.S. (or country where English is an official language) for a minimum of three years and has earned a degree from an accredited institution where English is the main language of instruction.

For further details about applying as an international student, please visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Objective Statements

The objective statements are broken up into three main sections: Research & Technical, Professional Experience & Objectives, and Personal Background. Please give your reasons for wishing to do graduate work in the field you have chosen. Prepare your statements and goals in whatever form clearly presents your views. Include as far as you can, your particular interests, be they experimental, theoretical, or issue-oriented. We are interested in your vision of how you want to contribute to the future of aerospace engineering and how your background and MIT’s programs support your perspectives. The statements could be much like a proposal for graduate studies, in the more specific context of your professional objectives. You should set forth the issues and problems you wish to address. Explain your long-term professional goals. The Admissions Committee will welcome any factors you wish to bring to its attention concerning your academic and work experience to date.


Even if you have an outstanding record, vitae, recommendations, and the potential to excel in AeroAstro, we may not be able to offer you admission. We will not admit more students than our faculty can effectively advise. This number varies term-to-term, and specialty-to-specialty, depending on the composition of our applicant pool and our current graduate student population. Learn more about our principal investigators and their research interests.

To apply to the AeroAstro graduate program all of the following items must be received no later than December 1, our application completion deadline.

  • Online graduate application and admissions fee
  • Required Objective Statements addressing your past research and academic experience, your areas of interest in our department and how they can help you realize your goals
  • Transcripts for each school from which you received or will receive a degree, scanned and uploaded to our electronic application where asked – official transcripts preferred, but unofficial are acceptable. (Admitted students will be required to submit hard copies in the spring)
  • Three recommendations, submitted via the online application

Additional Item for International students:

  • TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English Qualification official score report, sent directly from ETS or IELTS (unless all schooling since primary school has been completed in English – see Admissions Criteria policy above) *Please note that AeroAstro will accept the TOEFL “at-home” IBT and the IELTS Indicator Test.

The AeroAstro Graduate Application Assistance Program (GAAP) aims to increase the representation of underrepresented students pursuing graduate study in engineering. Specifically, GAAP strives to increase the diversity of the applicant pool by providing support and mentorship to applicants from underrepresented backgrounds as they navigate the graduate school application process. GAAP mentors, who are current graduate students in AeroAstro, will work with assigned mentees to provide synchronous (e.g., going through an outline of the mentee’s Statement of Objectives) as well as asynchronous (e.g., reading mentee’s drafts off-line) feedback on their application materials.

No matter what stage of the application process you’re in, if you think you could benefit from talking through your application with a current grad student at MIT, please submit an application! GAAP applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and our aim is to accept as many eligible applicants as we have mentors for (we’ll assign mentors periodically throughout the fall term, so there’s still a chance of getting a match if you apply by the November deadline). Our application form is mainly to give us an idea of how we can best help your application, so don’t worry about polishing your responses. Please send any questions to the GAAP student executive team at

The 2024 application form is now open!

Frequently Asked Questions

A. The graduate application deadline for September admission is December 1. If you are applying to the LGO program via AeroAstro, your application is due December 1. Late applications will not be accepted, nor will late application materials. You must complete your graduate admissions application online using GradApply. Please note that once you create a login and password for your electronic application, it must be completed for that admissions cycle – it will not be accessible during subsequent cycles (e.g. If you start your application in September 2021, it would only be usable for the Fall 2022 application cycle, not the Fall 2023 cycle).

All supplemental materials, such as transcripts, test scores, and recommendations must also be received by December 1 – application material will not be accepted beyond that date, and our committee is not obligated to review incomplete applications. To find out exactly what is needed to apply, please review our Graduate Admissions Checklist above. Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of this hard deadline. If you cannot get your materials in by this date, you are not eligible to apply. We do not make exceptions to this deadline. We also do not allow students to upload/submit material beyond what is required such as CVs, degree certificates, extra recommendations, publications, etc.

 No. There is no paper version of our application available. Our system for reviewing applications is completely online, so we must receive all application materials electronically using our electronic application and recommendation service.

A. Yes. Please visit MIT’s graduate fee waiver application site for more information. They are granted on a case-by-case basis.

A. Transcripts must be uploaded to your electronic application. You must include one for each college or university you have received or will receive a degree from. Official transcripts are preferred, but unofficial will be accepted as well.

Upon admission to our graduate program, you are required to submit an official digital copy of your transcript directly to the AeroAstro Student Services Office at, using the digital delivery system your school provides. If your school does not provide this type of service, please contact us at the email above and we will work with you to get it submitted.

A. Most applicants are in this situation – still finishing up a degree when the December 1 deadline comes. You are still eligible to apply as long as you will be done with your current degree by the September that you are applying to enroll for. Regarding your transcript, you’ll simply upload the most complete version that is available on or by December 1.

A. No. Please submit only three letters of recommendation, using the electronic recommendation service that is part of our online application. Our online service will only allow for the submission of three letters, and our committee will not accept further paper recommendation letters.

A. Applicants’ financial resources are not considered as part of admission decisions. Your financial situation will have no bearing on your application.

A. Faculty members do not have the time required to read applicants’ publications – please do not include them with your application. Your Statement of Objectives is much more critical to the review process. Be sure to be clear and concise about your research goals and how they relate to the MIT AeroAstro.

Because students from all over the world apply to our graduate program, we deal with many different GPA scales and systems. Because of this, we do not keep an official average GPA for accepted students on file. 

The application process for international students is largely the same. The main difference is that some international students from non-English speaking countries must sit for the TOEFL or IELTS exam.
If required to take this exam, you must do so by November 1. You must at least score a 100 on the internet-based TOEFL in order to be eligible to apply to our program. If you choose to take the IELTS, you must score at least a 7 total to be eligible. Students who score below these minimum scores are not eligible to apply to our graduate program. Please note that AeroAstro will accept the TOEFL “at-home” IBT.

If English is your native language, or if all of your education from primary school forward has been in English, you are not required to take one of these exams. For students who have graduated from a US institution, the language test requirement will be waived.

International students, once admitted, must complete the visa process in order to be eligible to study in the US, but this takes place after the admissions process has been completed and a decision has been received.

No. We do not hold interviews as part of the admissions process.

No, we do not require or consider GRE scores are part of our graduate application.

No. Students will need to be on campus for their entire graduate study.

No. The graduate program is full-time.

A. If you wish to check your application material status, emailing us at is the best way to do so. However, if you have not submitted your application yet, we ask that instead of contacting us to see if we’ve received your supplemental materials, please go ahead and submit your application instead. Once you do, you’ll receive an email detailing to you what is missing from your application. Please note that you are free to submit your application before all of your recommendations have been received.

If you have any questions regarding graduate admission to AeroAstro that aren’t addressed on our site, please email us at

For Admitted Students

Once you’re admitted to the Aeronautics and Astronautics Graduate Program, there are some important things to think about to ensure a smooth transition into your studies and life at MIT. We recommend, in addition to reading the material on this page, that you visit the MIT Incoming Student Resources website.

Upon admission to our graduate program, you are required to submit an official digital copy of your transcript directly to the AeroAstro Student Services Office at, using the digital delivery system your school provides. If your school does not provide this type of service, please contact us at the email above and we will work with you to get it submitted.

Students admitted to our graduate program will receive an invitation to attend the Graduate Open House for AeroAstro, an annual event that takes place during the spring semester, typically in March. This event is invitation-only.

If you’re eager to learn more about your admitting advisor and other faculty members within AeroAstro, you can visit their faculty profiles to review their Advising Philosophy Statements, which will give you better insight into how it would be to work with them on research.

Many of our graduate students choose to live on campus. To procure on-campus housing, you must participate in the Graduate Housing Assignments Allocation Process. There are five graduate residences for single students and two that accommodate families. To begin the process of procuring housing, visit the MIT Graduate Housing Web site. You may only begin this process after April 15.

Should you choose to live off-campus, you’ll find the MIT Off-Campus Housing Office is a helpful resource.

All new MIT international students must work with the International Students Office in order to start the visa process. You’ll also have to schedule an appointment with the ISO for clearance once you arrive on campus, or you won’t be able to register.

Entering graduate students who were required to take the TOEFL exam as part of their application must take the English Evaluation Exam, which is administered during the last week of August each year. 

MIT requires all incoming students to submit a medical history, have a physical examination, and document immunity against certain infectious diseases. You must submit MIT Medical Report Forms to the MIT Medical Center before registering for classes. Visit MIT Medical to download these forms and learn more, including information on student health insurance requirements.

During the spring you’ll receive information that will help you set up a secure MIT Athena access (Athena is MIT’s computing environment), which includes creating your official MIT email address and password. You will also need to download MIT Certificates to your computer to access certain secure areas of the MIT Web site. For other general MIT computer information, visit MIT IS&T. If you have questions specifically about AeroAstro Department computing, you can email

MIT campus parking is available for a fee. There are free MIT shuttle buses connecting most areas of the campus, and a fee-based shuttle to Logan Airport just before the Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring breaks. There’s also an excellent public transportation pass program, which MIT subsidizes. You can find information on all transportation options at the MIT Parking and Transportation Web site.

AeroAstro requires that all entering graduate students, including those who completed their bachelor’s degree at MIT, demonstrate satisfactory English writing ability by taking the Graduate Writing Examination administered by Comparative Media Studies & Writing. The exam is administered once each year electronically, usually in June or July. If you do not pass the exam, will be required to take a writing workshop for credit during your first January IAP period.

Registration takes place the day before classes begin. There’s no pre-registration for incoming master’s and doctoral students. Once you arrive on campus, you need to arrange a meeting with your academic advisor (who was assigned to you in your acceptance email) between the AeroAstro orientation and the following week. The process of contacting your advisor will be explained during orientation. You and your advisor will decide which subjects you should take, depending on your research and funding situation. Please note that while there are graduate program requirements, there is no specific set of classes graduate students must take.

The Graduate Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics, or GA^3, as it is called, is the AeroAstro Department graduate student organization. It represents our grads within the department, as well as within the Institute. There are a number of other AeroAstro student groups that you are welcome to join. If you have questions regarding student life in AeroAstro at MIT, or even in Cambridge/Boston in general, our students are happy to answer your questions! You can contact them at