MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing
Overview Overview Overview

The MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing seeks a diversity of applicants from around the world. Our students come from backgrounds across the art and science spectrum and include recent undergraduates as well as writers, teachers, scientists, engineers, journalists, artists, and science enthusiasts. Applicants do not necessarily need to have science degrees, bench science experience, or published journalism clips, though any of those things may bolster an application. They do need to have sharp writing skills, a proven desire to hone their science communication abilities, and a clear vision of how our program fits into their future career goals.  

Application requirements are outlined below. Our program offers generous financial aid to accepted applicants. Please do not let sticker prices deter you from applying. Application fee waivers are available under certain circumstances. Please direct questions about the application process to We also hold one fall information session each year. Recordings of past sessions are currently available on our YouTube channel. If you’re interested in attending our next information session, look out for announcements on our News and Events page

Application Dates and Deadlines  

The MIT Application for Graduate Admission is available after September 1 of the year before prospective admission at Applications and ALL application materials are due the following January 15th. The admissions committee makes its decision by April 1. The GPSW does not admit students in the spring term, nor do we accept part-time or distance learning students. GRE Scores are optional.

Applications Must Include: 

  1. The MIT Application for Graduate Admission.
  1. The $75 Application Fee. Students may request a graduate application fee waiver if they meet one of these criteria: 
  • Demonstrated financial hardship  
  • Participation in an MIT/OGE-sponsored diversity program in the past 5 years. International applicants, attending US colleges and universities, who participated in the MIT CONVERGE or MSRP programs are also eligible 
  • Participation in a special fellowship program in the past 3 years 
  • Attendance at a diversity recruiting event in the past 3 years 
  • Current or former service in the US Armed Forces

If you are eligible for a fee waiver, head here to fill out the appropriate form.

  1.  Transcripts. Transcripts of previous academic studies, including study abroad, should be uploaded to the online application. For the application, these transcripts may be unofficial.  However, admitted applicants will be required to send official copies of their transcripts.
  2. Three to Five Letters of Recommendation. The best letters of recommendation come from those who can evaluate a candidate’s writing and analytical abilities as well as their likelihood to prosper within the literary and scientific environment of our program. These letters are only accepted electronically as part of the online application.  
  3. A Resume or Curriculum Vitae. This should be uploaded as a PDF file.
  4. A Statement of Objectives
    Please tell us why you want to do graduate work in science writing at MIT. Prepare your statement of objectives and goals in whatever form clearly presents your views. Let us know about your particular interests, be they experimental, theoretical, or issue-oriented, and show how your background and MIT’s program support these interests. You should set forth the issues and problems you wish to address. Explain your longer-term professional goals and objectives. The admissions committee will welcome any factors you wish to bring to its attention concerning your academic and work experience to date.
  5. Graduate Application Supplement.
    This 500 to 1,500-word statement or essay addresses an applicant’s ability to confront scientific and technical complexity in their writing. You might tell the admissions committee about your experience as a bench scientist or how you’ve addressed comparable complexity through writing in non-scientific fields. You might discuss your reading habits or interests insofar as they bear on your relationship to science and technology. You may take any approach that leaves the admissions committee better able to evaluate your ability to clearly write about science for a lay reader. If there is a video or audio component of your portfolio, please provide a link to YouTube or Dropbox. We also require applicants to briefly describe one or two early tentative ideas for a thesis. Admitted students are not required to research these ideas for their actual thesis, but we would like to get an idea of your interests and how you would approach a project of that length and scope. More information about the thesis requirement is available here.
  6. Writing Samples. Writing samples should showcase a candidate’s writing skills and demonstrate their ability to break down complex scientific concepts or controversies for a general audience. Writing samples should be submitted as a single PDF file and may include many short pieces, a few longer ones, or a mix of both. Samples do not need to be published works. We welcome original articles written specifically for the application, and we encourage applicants to provide context about their work. If a piece has benefited from an editor’s or teacher’s hand, or represents a collaboration, please say so. 

In selecting your samples, 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. 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 the IELTS. MIT’s school code  is 3514, and our departmental code is 4599, or “Communications – Other.” Don’t worry about choosing the wrong department – as long as the scores come to MIT, we can access them.

  • For the purposes of Optional Practical Training for international students, this program IS considered STEM.

If you have any questions about the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing application or application process, please contact