We've included some frequently asked questions about the graduate admissions process. Please click on a question to display the answer. If you have additional questions not covered here please email us at chemgradeducation@mit.edu.

How do I apply?

The application for Fall 2019 Admission will open on September 15, 2018.  Fill out the online application form by 23:59 EST, December 1, 2018.

For full application instructions, please see: Online Application & Instructions

When do I need to submit my application?

The deadline for September admission is December 1 of the previous year. For example, applications for Fall 2019 admission will be due by December 1, 2018.

When will I hear if I've been accepted?

Admission decisions are sent out on a rolling basis starting after the application deadline and we anticipate that all decisions will be sent out by the end of February.

Do I have to take the GREs?

Yes, the general GRE exam is required. The subject GRE exam in Chemistry is helpful, but not required.

Can I visit the department?

If you are admitted to our program, you will be invited to visit the department. The department hosts an official visiting weekend when faculty are available and you will be able to meet current students, attend dinners with faculty and current graduate students, go on tours of the campus and department, and attend orientation meetings on MIT and the Chemistry Department graduate program.

Can I apply to a Masters degree program?

We do not have an MS program. Applications are only accepted for the PhD program.

Will I receive funding (tuition and stipend)?

All students admitted to the PhD program receive full tuition coverage along with a monthly stipend for the first academic year, either through Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, or fellowships. Students must be eligible to work in the United States in order to receive funding. After the first year, continued funding is provided for the duration of the PhD program, subject to the availability of funds for that purpose, as long as students remain in good academic standing.

Does my stipend cover health insurance?

If needed, the fee for the MIT Student Health Plan is provided along with your tuition award and includes Accident and Hospitalization Insurance. You will receive this insurance unless you can demonstrate that you have equivalent insurance, in which case you must complete a waiver form available at MIT Medical.

How and when do I choose a research advisor and begin research?

Graduate students in chemistry generally select a research advisor during their first semester in the program and begin thesis research by the beginning of the spring term.  Choosing an advisor is one of the most important decisions you will make during your graduate career, and the department has scheduled a program to help you. The Chemistry Education Office coordinates optional desk rotations and a schedule of evening faculty research talks, and you are also required to set up individual appointments with faculty members. These all take place throughout the fall semester and we provide you with more details over the summer and during Orientation.

During the first week of November of your first fall semester, you will provide a ranked list of your top three choices of research advisor to the Chemistry Education Office. No faculty member is permitted to accept a student into his or her research group prior to the first week of November. You will find out your research group assignments in early November and most groups expect you to start research in the beginning of January.

When do I need to arrive in the fall?

  • Please note that the following dates are tentative and may change based on the final 2019-2020 academic calendar
  • The exact date that you need to arrive will vary based on your TA assignment. If you will be teaching a laboratory section, you will need to be on campus by August 19, 2019, and if you are teaching a recitation, you will need to be on campus by August 26, 2019.
  • Over the summer you will receive confirmation of your TA assignment and the exact date that you should arrive on campus.  If you receive a housing assignment, you will be asked with your housing offer when you want to move in. Please request to be housed by August 19, 2019.
  • Lab TA Training is the orientation and training only for students assigned to teach a laboratory subject and is Monday, August 19, 2019 - Friday, August 23, 2019.
  • Graduate Student Orientation & TA Training for all new graduate students is on Monday, August 26, 2019 - Friday, August 30, 2019.
  • The mandatory English Evaluation Test for new students whose primary language is not English is held during the week of Graduate Student Orientation & TA Training.
  • Registration Day is Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
  • Classes begin on Wednesday, September 5, 2019.

What will my responsibilities as a TA be?

Students serve as TAs for two terms as partial fulfillment of the department's requirements for a PhD degree. Usually this requirement is fulfilled in the first year. Your specific TA responsibilities are:

  •     Attend all class lectures
  •     Attend TA staff meetings
  •     Lead recitation sections; or
  •     Supervise students in labs
  •     Grade problem sets and exams or lab reports
  •     Provide review sessions and individual help when requested
  •     Hold regular weekly office hours (minimum of 2 hours per week)
  •     Inform faculty instructors of problems and students having special difficulties
  •     Maintain professional interaction with students at all times

Your teaching will, on the average, require approximately 10-17 hours per week. This will vary by the class and throughout the course of the semester.

When will I know my fall semester TA assignment?

You will receive notification by email of your fall TA assignment in mid-July. Along with your assignment notification, we will include information about the Chemistry Department Orientation and Teaching Workshop as well as other useful material to help you prepare for your first year at MIT. Please be sure that your MIT email address is configured and that you are checking it regularly throughout the summer. If you have not received this information by the beginning August, call us!

How are TA assignments made?

In the fall, TA assignments are based primarily upon faculty request, class size, your area of specialty, and prior laboratory/teaching experience. Please email chemgradeducation@mit.edu by May 15, 2019 to confirm your area of specialization in Chemistry. You will receive an email from Jennifer Weisman in early May with more detailed information about TA assignments, including the specific courses that use TAs.

What does a recitation TA do?

Recitation TAs are in charge of one or two smaller sub-groups of a lecture class. Recitations meet for one hour either once or twice a week, depending on the class. The purpose of the recitation TA is to help students understand the material covered in lecture and in their readings. How the TA chooses to cover this material is, for the most part, his or her choice. In recitation, most TAs spend a lot of time going over the assigned problem sets, discussing material covered in the professor's lectures, and bringing in new problems for the students to try. Recitation instructors also spend time outside of lecture and recitation meeting with students and grading problem sets.

What does a lab TA do?

Laboratory TAs typically have more informal interaction with their students than recitation TAs - the contact between TA and student includes more one-on-one interaction. The primary focus of Lab TAs  is to teach their students how to become researchers by providing direction and support. In all the labs, students learn safety, technique, and procedure primarily under the watchful eyes of the Lab TAs. The TAs are also responsible for grading written lab reports, tests, and/or giving oral examinations.