Admission Criteria

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, which can be found here. For more information on graduate admissions in general, please visit the central MIT Graduate Admissions website. Please also see our Graduate Admissions Checklist.

There's no special formula or secret that guarantees an offer of admission from MIT AeroAstro. However, following are some of the metrics used in evaluating graduate admission applications specifically within our department.

Prior degrees

If you hold only a bachelor's degree, you are initially eligible to apply to our Master's program only. Once accepted, during the second year of your Master's program you would then be eligible to sit for our doctoral Field Exams. These exams serve as admission to our PhD program once the Master's is completed. Students who already hold a Master's degree may apply for direct acceptance to our PhD program. Your undergraduate and graduate degrees need not be in aeronautics or astronautics. 


You must have a strong background in mathematics and physics, and, with rare exception, familiarity with an engineering discipline. In some cases, unfulfilled entrance requirements may be satisfied during your first year of graduate study. If you're radically changing fields, advanced study before applying is recommended. You should also address your reasons for changing you field when you are writing your Statement of Objectives, a very important part of our graduate application.

Grade Point Average

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 GPA and general grade trends. We do not enforce a minimum GPA requirement for admission.

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. 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

If your language of instruction beginning in primary school was not English, you'll need to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). We do not waive the TOEFL or IELTS examinations for applicants who fit this criteria. 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 either of these exams.

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. 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 December 1, so that your score report will reach us by the application completion deadline of December 15.

Please note that for the Fall 2021 admissions cycle, AeroAstro will accept the TOEFL "at-home" IBT.

Statement of Objectives

Your Statement of Objectives should relate to department faculty and researchers' current activities and research. It is important to mention faculty members that you're interested in working with by name, as well as specific labs and projects. If there is no department research in your area of interest, you may not be a strong candidate for admission. There is no official word limit, but most statements are fewer than two pages, single spaced.

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 and fund. This number varies term-to-term, and specialty-to-specialty, depending on the composition of our applicant pool and our current graduate student population.