Graduate Program

World-class training. Limitless possibilities.

Combining the momentum of MIT’s global research enterprise with the advantages of an accessible, collegial department, the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences graduate program prepares students with the research and communications skills required to succeed as independent scientists.

Our program is ranked second in the country for its number of graduates who obtain tenure-track faculty positions in the Earth sciences.

EAPS graduate students traditionally pursue a doctoral degree or, in select cases, a traditional master of science degree.

Doctoral Program (PhD, ScD)

Students typically receive their degree in five years, with the first two years spent in coursework and research, culminating in a General Examination—which must be completed before the end of the second year.

Immediately after the General Examination, thesis research begins under the close supervision of one or more faculty members—chosen by the student—who are interested in and knowledgeable about the student’s area of research. Faculty supervisors may be members of EAPS or of other MIT departments. Each thesis is expected to meet high professional standards and make a significant original contribution to the student’s chosen field of science.

Master of Science Program (SM)

The master’s degree program—designed to be completed in two years—is suitable for motivated students with undergraduate degrees in geoscience, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or engineering. Students spend the first year taking classes and the second conducting research and thesis work. This program prepares students for scientific and management careers in the environmental, natural resources, and technical consulting fields.

Fifth-Year Master of Science Program (SM): Continuation of an EAPS Undergraduate Degree

Undergraduate students with strong academic records from the departments of EAPS, chemistry, physics, mathematics, CEE, EECS, or chemical engineering may complete a master of science in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, or Ocean Sciences, with just one year of additional study.

We’re here to support every aspect of EAPS academic programming and are an important part of our students’ support network, helping to connect you with resources and opportunities.

Prospective students, if you have a question about academic life at MIT, or want to arrange a visit, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Ann Greaney-Williams
Education Officer

Room: 54-910
Phone: 617-253-3380

On Campus Schedule: Mon, Wed, Thu
Remote Schedule: Tues, Fri

Responsible for administrating EAPS undergraduate and graduate programming. Advises students regarding degree requirements, career options, funding, policies and procedures, and Institute resources for student support.

Jamu White
Senior Academic Assistant

Room: 54-912
Phone: 617-253-3381

On Campus Schedule: Tue, Wed, Thu
Remote Schedule: Mon, Fri

Provides administrative support for the EAPS Education Office, including room scheduling, classrooms and supplies, reimbursements, Canvas sites, student appointments, and various forms, including grading and evaluations, registration, and thesis submissions.

Resources for Current Students

Current students and new arrivals, please use your MIT Touchstone account to view.

Collaboration is at the core of our community.

In EAPS, students and faculty work side by side to answer profound questions about the natural world—and to shape the department of tomorrow. Our interdisciplinary research and informal atmosphere offer students opportunities for networking and scientific collaboration unmatched by any other program. In addition to benefitting from a robust schedule of guest lectures on topics in current research, EAPS students also serve on departmental committees and lead community groups.

Explore Our Community

Research Areas + Academic Concentrations

Through consultation with a department committee and a personal faculty advisor with mutual research interests, each student develops a specialized program of study and research tailored to his or her background, needs, and goals.

We invite you to explore our research pages and our faculty bios to discover where your interests might intersect with current faculty projects.

While the research in our department is inherently interdisciplinary, students are admitted to four academic program concentration areas:

Atmospheres, Oceans + Climate (PAOC)

The EAPS graduate Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate (PAOC) engages in some of the most intellectually challenging and important problems in science, such as the physics of hurricanes and the dynamics of ice ages. From physical and chemical oceanography, to biogeochemistry, to atmospheric dynamics and chemistry, our program emphasizes the synthesis of theoretical, observational, and modeling approaches.


Geology, Geochemistry + Geobiology (PGGG)

The evolutionary relationships between continents, oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere blur traditional boundaries between the Earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences. The EAPS graduate Program in Geology, Geochemistry, and geobiology (PGGG) combines disciplines to develop more accurate monitoring, measuring, imaging, and modeling tools to trace the history of the Earth’s crust and the co-evolution of life and environments.


Geophysics (PG)

Students in the EAPS Program in Geophysics (PG) investigate physical and chemical processes that shape the Earth and other planets, occurring over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales—from crystalline structures to tectonic faults. Harnessing advances in instrumentation and computer power, we combine theory, field work, and precise laboratory experimentation to develop insights on global issues such as geothermal and hydrocarbon energy sources, carbon sequestration, groundwater flow, glacier dynamics, and the earthquake cycle.


Planetary Science (PPS)

The EAPS Program in Planetary Science (PPS) offers students the opportunity to explore the solar system and exoplanets beyond, using theory, telescopic observation, spacecraft data, numerical modeling, experimentation, and analysis to examine the physical and chemical processes that shape the surfaces and interiors of planets and small bodies, as well as the structure, chemistry, and dynamics of planetary atmospheres.


Looking for the MIT-WHOI Joint Program?

The MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering is a five-year doctoral degree program. 

Combining the strengths of both MIT and WHOI, the program encompasses one of the largest oceanographic research enterprises in the world. Joint Program students have unparalleled access to scientists, classes, programs, and resources at both institutions. In addition, WHOI supports a world-class research fleet, providing students with ample opportunities to conduct their work at sea.

EAPS-affiliated students in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program pursue degrees in: