How to Take Graduate Courses at MIT Without Enrolling in a Degree Program

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If you'd like to take graduate courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology but you don't want to enroll in an MIT graduate program of study, you have two options: Apply through MIT's Advanced Study Program, or apply as a "special student." Both options have specific application requirements, so it is not possible to enroll in both at the same time. The classes you can take are limited as well.

Advanced Study Program Application

  • According to the MIT Advanced Study Program website, you must meet three criteria to enroll in the Advanced Study Program. You must have an undergraduate degree and three years of work experience or standing as a graduate student at another university, and you must be able to meet the rigorous academic standards of MIT. You may submit an application up to nine months before you would like to enroll, and the admissions committee will generally reach a decision within two weeks. The application process is extensive and requires an application, resume, letter of recommendation, statement of objectives, preliminary class selection, transcripts, application fee, and -- for non-U.S. citizens -- a copy of your permanent resident card or passport and proof of English language ability.

Advanced Study Program Course of Study

  • Advanced Study Program fellows make a study plan and may discuss it with the director of the program for guidance. Fellows may take one to four courses each semester. Fellows may enroll in any MIT courses, but no more than 50 percent of their courses can be management courses.

Special Students Application

  • To enroll in an MIT graduate course as a special student, you must be enrolled in another university and choose an MIT course that is not offered at your university. You must have completed at least one year of university-level study before applying. Special students at MIT may not live in campus housing or receive MIT financial aid. They are offered admission for one term, and admission as a special student does not guarantee later admission in any MIT degree program. An international students may apply for classes as a special student, but she will need to provide proof of English language ability, financial records and visa paperwork.

Special Student Course of Study

  • Special students at MIT have some limitations on their classes. They may not take thesis, research or independent-activities-period, or IAP, classes. In cases where class size is limited, regular MIT students will be given preference. Special students may not enroll for more than three graduate terms.

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