For Prospective Students

The Fall 2024 admissions cycle is currently closed. The application will reopen in September 2024 for Fall 2025.

The graduate application completion deadline of December 1st at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time, US) for admission the following fall semester (we do not offer spring admission). We offer online applications only, do not email the department with attachments for us to review.

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

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! The current 2024 cycle has closed. Information sessions will be next offered during the Fall 2024 term.

Admissions

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.

Preparation

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.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

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 online 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 or self-reported scores are required for submission of the application however official scores must be received by MIT for your application to be evaluated. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure official score reports are sent to MIT Graduate Admissions.

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.

ADVISOR AVAILABILITY

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 recommendation letters, 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 aa-gaap@mit.edu.

The 2024 application form is now open!

Frequently Asked Questions

A. The graduate application deadline for September admission is December 1 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time, US). Late applications will not be accepted, nor will late application materials. You must complete your graduate admissions application online. 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 at 11:59 PM (Eastern Time, US) – application materials will not be accepted beyond that date, and our committee is not obligated to review incomplete or late 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 for admission review. We do not make exceptions to this deadline.

A. There are several pieces of advice that we give prospective applicants to our graduate program.

1. Be organized. The admissions cycle starts again fresh every year and things may have changed since you last looked into the application requirements and admission checklist. This also includes knowing when the deadline is and communicating that deadline to your recommenders as this is often the last thing to come in with your application.

2. Do not wait until the last minute to ask questions or start your application. Our application is open for three months. This gives you time to collect the information you need and get started on your application. It is best to make sure your application is where you want it well before the deadline so you do not run into any issues upon submission.

3. Read instructions carefully. There is no reason to rush through your application. We provide resources and clear instructions at every stage, is it important that you read these and follow them carefully to avoid irreversible mistakes in your application.

A. The graduate programs at MIT receive tens of thousands of applications each cycle. In Aero Astro, if an English Language Proficiency exam is required of you in the application, please self-report your most up to date score. When you start your application, it is best to send the official score report as soon as you are able following the completion of your exam. Please follow the instructions laid out for you on the Office of Graduate Education’s website.

If you already sent your score and it is still not marked as “verified” in your application, that means we have not yet processed it and matched the score to your application. Due to the high volume of applications MIT receives, this does take time and we implore patience in this process. We will move forward with your application review if it is otherwise complete but will not release a decision if this item remains outstanding.

A. Mistakes happen. The best thing to do is not to panic. Most, if not everything, is editable in your application prior to submission. When in doubt, you can email aagradinfo@mit.edu and we will help troubleshoot any issues you may have encountered with the application system. DO NOT start a brand new application within your existing account or a new account, this may cause you issues when it is time to submit that we want to avoid.

 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. Emailed materials will also not be accepted nor considered.

A. Yes. Please visit MIT’s graduate fee waiver application site for more information. They are granted on a case-by-case basis. Please submit this well in advance of the application deadline as it can take 5 days or more for Graduate Admissions to review and respond to your request for a fee waiver.

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 aagradinfo@mit.edu, 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 additional letters of recommendations.

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 Aero Astro.

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 15. 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 an 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, this requirement may be waived. Students where this applies must still must submit the waiver form in the application and obtain approval to waive this requirement from the application process.

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, please use the online application portal 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. 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 Aero Astro that aren’t addressed on our site, please email us at aagradinfo@mit.edu.

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 aagradinfo@mit.edu, 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 whose native language is not English must take the English Evaluation Exam, which is administered the in August prior to classes starting.

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 aa-help@mit.edu.

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 ga3-questions@mit.edu.