MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing
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How to Apply

In response to the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, MIT has adopted the following principle: MIT’s admissions committees and offices for graduate and professional schools will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020-22 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant.

In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/No Record (or Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail) and other grading options during the unprecedented period of COVID-19 disruptions, whether those decisions were made by institutions or by individual students. We also expect that the individual experiences of applicants will richly inform applications and, as such, they will be considered with the entirety of a student’s record.

Ultimately, even in these challenging times, our goal remains to form graduate student cohorts that are collectively excellent and composed of outstanding individuals who will challenge and support one another.

Questions or concerns about this statement should be directed to the our program at

The deadline for application is January 15 for admission the following September, and the Admissions Committee makes its decision by April 1. The program does not admit students in the spring term. The MIT Application for Graduate Admission is available after September 15 of the year before prospective admission.

ALL materials are due by the deadline of January 15.

To apply to the Graduate Program, you must supply

1) The MIT Application for Graduate Admission

  • The application fee of $75.
  • Fee Waiver Requests: US citizens and US permanent residents* may request a graduate application fee waiver if they meet one of the criteria below:
    • Demonstrated financial hardship in the past year.
    • Participated in an MIT/OGE sponsored diversity program in the past 5 years**.
    • Participated in a special fellowship program in the past 3 years.
    • Attended a diversity recruiting event in the past 3 years.
    • Served as a current or former member of the US Armed Forces.
      *US Permanent Residents must provide proof of this status, such as a copy of a green card.
      **International applicants, attending US colleges and universities, who participated in the MIT CONVERGE or MSRP programs are also eligible to apply.

Please fill out the form here to apply for a waiver.

2)  Transcripts of previous academic study, including study abroad.  Transcripts should be uploaded in the online application. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the application; if you are admitted, you will be required to send an official hard copy of your transcripts.

3) Three letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate your likelihood to prosper in the literary and scientific environment of this program. The program will only accept electronic evaluations, as part of the online application.

4) Resume or curriculum vitae uploaded as a PDF file.

5) Statement of Objectives

6) Graduate Application Supplement, consisting of:

A statement or essay , normally from 500 to 1500 words, addressing your ability to confront scientific and technical complexity in your writing.

You might start out by telling the admissions committee of your five years’ experience as a bench scientist. Or you might recount how as a writer you have addressed comparable complexity in other, non-scientific fields. You might discuss your reading habits, hobbies, and interests insofar as they bear on your relationship to science and technology. Indeed, you may take any approach that leaves us better able to evaluate your likely success in writing about science.

As part of, or appended to, your essay, please also briefly describe one or two early tentative ideas for a thesis topic; no one will hold you to them but we would like to get some inkling of your interests and how you think about writing. We encourage you to visit our website to get a sense of past years’ thesis topics.

If you have video or audio components of your application, may upload them in the optional Portfolio area.

7) Writing Samples

Submit a PDF file of writing samples, arranged as you choose, that represent your writing at its best. These might be work done in school or on the job, published or not, in a good many shorter pieces or a few longer ones. Where the context is not clear, please add a few words of explanation; if the work has benefited from an editor’s or teacher’s hand, or represents a collaboration, please say so.

In selecting your samples, please be aware that journal articles or other purely scientific publications tell us little about your ability to write for general audiences and should not be included. However, you may, if you wish, include as one of your samples a 500-word general interest article, written for the occasion, that explains, distills, or otherwise builds upon a scientific or technical article that has appeared in a specialized publication. Media files may be submitted as links with the supplementary material.

International applicants must satisfy all the same criteria as U.S. citizens. Applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.  This requirement can be waived if the applicant holds a degree from an English-speaking institution.

Graduate Program in Science Writing
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-338
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307