Graduate Admissions

Prospective students, start here!

Important Dates

September 15: EAPS Application Portal Opens (credit card required)
December 1: Deadline to apply for admission
December – March: Application review period
Mid-to-Late March: Decisions released via email

*All supplemental materials (e.g., transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation) must also be received by December 1. Application review begins on that date, and incomplete applications may not be reviewed. Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of this hard deadline, as we do not make exceptions.

Questions? See the FAQs below or contact

Applications open online in mid-September and close on December 1.

See the full Graduate Admissions FAQ below for more information on requirements, eligibility, funding, and more.

Applications to the MIT-WHOI Joint Program must be done through the MIT-WHOI admissions portal.

Notes on applications:

  • A credit card is required to process your application fee.
  • A few sections of the application are editable after submission, including the “Statement of Objectives.”  
  • We have no required minimum scores on the GRE General Test. The use of the GRE is evaluated by the Admissions Committee annually.

    *For the AY 2024 Admissions Cycle the GRE General Test will not be required or considered due to testing limitations and the difficulty accessing tests and testing sites for many applicants.
  • Under special circumstances material may be sent by post and addressed to:

    EAPS Education Office
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 54-912
    Cambridge, MA 02139

    Applicants should avoid using PO boxes in their return addresses. 

The application consists of five parts:

  1. The biographical section
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically, although we also accept paper letters of recommendation. Letters that arrive by paper will be scanned to your online application.
  3. GRE general test scores*
    *For the AY 2024 Admissions Cycle the GRE General Test will not be required or considered due to testing limitations and the difficulty accessing tests and testing sites for many applicants.

    IELTS or TOEFL test is required for all international applicants whose education was in a language other than English.
  4. “Subjects Taken” form with grades, including an uploaded PDF copy of your transcripts.

    Science and math courses, by field, that you consider to provide either major or supportive backgrounds for your proposed studies should be clear on your transcript. If you wish to include additional information on specifically relevant courses to your degree track, please feel free to include those in your statements. Occasionally courses in areas other than science and math will have provided a background relevant to your proposed graduate studies. If so, please identify those courses.

    Transcripts should be scanned and uploaded with your application. We will also accept transcripts delivered electronically directly from your school.
  5. “Statement of Objectives”

  • We do not consider a CV and a list of publications when reviewing applications.
  • If you send us additional documents that we have not requested, they will be discarded without consideration.


*PLEASE NOTE: For the AY 2024 Admissions Cycle the GRE General Test will not be required or considered due to testing limitations and the difficulty accessing tests and testing sites for many applicants.

Applicants to EAPS are required to provide scores for the GRE general test that are five years old or less. Applicants to the Planetary Sciences program are required to provide scores from either the GRE Physics or Chemistry subject exams. The MIT reporting code is: 3514, and the EAPS Department code is: 0599. Please note: If you are taking a GRE exam close to or after the applicaiton deadline, all applications are reviewed once the application deadline has passed. Decisions will be based on the information available at the time of consideration. We do not delay the application review process to wait for missing information.


International students are required to provide scores from either the TOEFL or the IELTS for the English evaluation test.

The IELTS is our preferred option. We require a minimum score of 7 on the IELTS. IELTS scores are mailed by the agency directly to the MIT Admissions Office. 

For the TOEFL, we require a score of at least 600 on the paper-based test and 100 for the Internet-based test. The code for sending TOEFL scores to MIT is 3514, and the codes for the EAPS Department are:

  • 61 for Astronomy, Planetary Science
  • 71 for Geology, Geochemistry, Geobiology, Geophysics, Atmospheric Science, Climate Physics and Chemistry.

Want to chat with a current EAPS grad student?

The EAPS Student Advisory Council (E-SAC) sponsors a student-run volunteer program that provides support for those navigating the graduate admissions process in EAPS.  We especially encourage applicants from underserved and non-traditional academic backgrounds to use this resource!

If you are interested in applying to the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, you can take advantage of the JP Applicant Support & Knowledgebase (JP ASK) resource.

Graduate Admissions FAQ

We expect an applicant to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the time they register in EAPS, and possess a very strong background in math and physics. Students who hold the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from an international program that is three years in length are eligible to apply. You do not have to hold a Masters degree to apply to our PhD program. Admission is extremely competitive. 

No. There is only one admission process. When your submit your application please choose your final degree objective. You do not have to have a Master’s degree before being accepted into our PhD program.

No, we will not admit an applicant who already holds a PhD degree. 

Any student admitted to an EAPS doctoral program can expect to receive financial support that includes a stipend, full tuition, and health insurance. First year support may be in the form of a fellowship or research assistantship. Support in the following years is most commonly from a research assistantship or teaching assistantship. Continuation of support for the length of a five-year program is based on the student making adequate progress toward the degree.

Applicants are encouraged to apply for independent fellowships from outside private agencies or government. If an independent fellowship falls below the EAPS level of support, the department will supplement this external fellowship with either a fellowship or research assistantship. If you are awarded a fellowship from some other source, please contact the EAPS Education Office to discuss department policy on merging various sources of support. 

The MIT Office of Graduate Education is a good resource for funding opportunities, both internal and external, and provides advising and support.

EAPS also maintains a list of examples of external funding that our students have successfully pursued.

You should fill out a completely new online application. You may indicate that you applied earlier by checking the appropriate box. 

The online application portal requires you to pay with a credit card. We encourage you to use the online system

If it is impossible for you to pay with a credit card, you may send a paper application with a check to:

EAPS Education Office
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 54-912
Cambridge, MA 02139

Applicants should avoid using PO boxes in their return addresses. 

The application fee helps to defray the cost of processing applications. It is never waived and must be paid in US dollars. We accept credit cards with the electronic online application and personal checks, bank checks, or money orders if a credit card is not available. 

The department will waive the requirement for either the IELTS or TOEFL exam for those students who have completed a four year bachelor’s program that is taught exclusively in English.

To apply for a waiver of this requirement, student should submit their request through the Graduate Student Application portal and provide documentation confirming the completion of a degree taught exclusively in English (these can be uploaded through the portal). We will use this information for use during the admissions review process.

Please note that all waivers must be submitted BEFORE completing your application. They cannot be added after you have submitted.

No. The deadline for submitting your application is December 1; the online application portal will shut down that day.

However, the recommendation letter submission portal will stay open for an additional week. Formal review of applications will begin at that time.

Please make certain your letters of reference, transcripts, and test scores [GRE*, IELTS, and/or TOEFL] are submitted in a timely fashion. We will not delay consideration of an application to wait for missing materials. All decisions are made with the documentation available at the time. 

*Please note: For the AY 2024 Admissions Cycle the GRE General Test will not be required or considered due to testing limitations and the difficulty accessing tests and testing sites for many applicants.

Program in Geophysics

  • Newtonian Mechanics
  • Oscillations and Waves
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Physics
  • Calculus
  • Differential Equations

Programs in Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology or Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Thermodynamics
  • Calculus
  • Differential Equations

Program in Planetary Science

  • Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Calculus
  • Differential Equations

No. If you have started a master’s or doctoral program at another university, you cannot transfer classes or research credit with the intention of completing that degree at MIT. However, the classes that you will be required to take as part of our EAPS program will reflect the background that you have. You will not be expected to take a course that has the same content as one you have successfully completed at another school.

DO NOT send official copies of your transcript during the application process. You must upload a PDF copy of your transcript with your application.  

Only if your application is accepted should you then have official transcripts sent to our office: 

EAPS Education Office
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 54-912
Cambridge, MA 02139

Applicants should avoid using PO boxes in their return addresses. 

We do not require that you submit an updated transcript for consideration of your application.

If your application is later accepted we will ask that you provide an official current transcript at that time. 

No. Because of the large volume of applications submitted to EAPS, we must discourage you from sending in copies of awards, journal articles, and other extraneous documents. If you do send any of these documents they will be discarded without review. 

In a case like this, we usually suggest that you submit at least one letter from a faculty member who knew you well—perhaps your undergraduate thesis supervisor. The other two letters can be from employer(s). When in doubt, remember that our Admissions Committee wants to know about your ability to do independent research. Character references do not carry weight. 

We will acknowledge receipt of application with an email that tells you whether your application is complete or incomplete at that time. We will list any missing items. At any time you can go back into your online application and check whether any missing letters of recommendation and test scores have been received. 

Applicants can log into their online account to check for their admission result. Decisions will be made starting about mid-January and the process will continue into March. The results will be posted online, and you will be notified by email. We do not send the results through the postal mail.

If special situations arise, you may call the EAPS Education Office at 617-253-3381, or send an email to

Decisions for September admission are made in January and the process will continue until March 15. Applicants should go into their online application to check their status. Applicants have until April 15th to notify MIT of their decision to accept or decline the offer of admission. Your recorded decison as of April 15 is considered binding and may require a written release. If you do not respond by April 15, we may recind our offer.

Information and a list of schools agreeing to adhere to these dates and conditions can be found on the Council of Graduate Schools website.

An admitted student may make a written request to defer admission for one year only. Exceptions are made in rare cases; these written requests must be explained in detail.  

The subjects you register for will depend on the education program into which you have been admitted. Your academic advisor will assist you in determining appropriate subjects for your program based on your research interests and your past experience. You can add or drop subjects during the term. 

We have no evening or part-time courses.

Outside of the official graduate curriculum, content from many EAPS courses are posted on MIT OpenCoursware, as well as on the MITx and edX platforms.

All students whose applications have been accepted are invited to visit our department as part of our Graduate Admissions Open House.

If you are in the area prior to submitting your application, you are welcome to stop by the EAPS Education Office, Building 54, Room 912, to discuss the program.

The Role of Diversity at MIT

A diverse student body is and has long been critical to the educational mission of MIT. We are committed to providing our students “with an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community.”

From the CUAFA Statement on the Role of Diversity in MIT’s Educational Mission.

MIT is an equal opportunity employer.

We value diversity and strongly encourage applications from individuals from all identities and backgrounds. All qualified applicants will receive equitable consideration for employment based on their experience and qualifications, and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, or national or ethnic origin. See MIT’s full policy on nondiscrimination. 

MIT considers equivalent combinations of experience and education for certain jobs. All candidates who believe they possess equivalent experience and education are encouraged to apply.

Employment is contingent upon the complete of a satisfactory background check.

Labor Condition Application Notifications
These US Department of Labor required notices serve to inform interested parties that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology submits applications for H-1B non-immigrants for certain academic and research positions.