Applying to the Program

If you are planning to apply to MIT Biology’s PhD program but have been affected by the recent hurricanes or earthquakes, please contact us. The department will review applications from students who were not able to take the GRE in normal time due to natural disasters. If you are not able to submit GRE scores, please include a short explanation in your personal statement.

Special Instructions for applying to the MIT Biology Graduate Program

Applications are submitted online at:
Application System Opens: October 1st
Application Deadline: December 1st

2018 Open House (Interview Day) Dates:
Saturday, February 10, 2018 to Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Saturday, Februdary 24, 2018 to Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Saturday, March 10, 2018 to Tuesday, March 13, 2018

All completed applications will be reviewed and invitations to interview will be sent via email mid-January.

In-person interviews are required for an offer of admission to the biology program.

• Please note: You will be asked to attach a scanned (pdf) copy of your transcript(s), your GRE exam document, and (for international applicants), your IELTS or TOEFL exam document. Please have these documents prepared before beginning the application. Email will be the primary method of contacting you; please do not change your email address once you have submitted your application as this will result in a record mismatch.

• Application Deadline: December 1st. For fullest consideration, it is in your best interest to complete ALL parts of the application, including applicable data entry fields and attaching required transcript(s), test score documents, all evaluation letters, and the application fee, by or before the deadline of December 1st. Incomplete applications may not be reviewed. The scanned and attached copies of your transcript(s), GRE and TOEFL/IELTS scores are considered unofficial, but are sufficient for review purposes. Official documents will be required before a positive admissions decision can be made. To avoid delay, have all your official test scores transmitted electronically to MIT Admissions (from ETS, Educational Testing Service) before the December 1st deadline. Mail one copy of your transcript from each school listed in your application to the address below.

• Three letters of recommendation (at least two must be academic recommendations). We require that all recommendations be submitted electronically, using this system. Use Evaluations and then Letter Status to ask for electronic recommendations and to check whether recommendations have arrived. If letters are missing, you must e-mail your recommenders the instructions shown in Letter Status. You can check the status of your application, most specifically the receipt of your recommenders' letters, by logging in to your application.

Please Note: When a drop-down menu is provided for input fields, please use them as much as possible. Because your information needs to be transmitted to multiple databases, if an item is manually input instead of selected from the drop-down menu, and it causes a mismatch, that can prevent the application from being transmitted. For example: When indicating your major, if you do not see your major included in the drop down menu, choose the closest major from the list provided. You can always provide information specific to your major in your personal statement.

• Academic Transcript: Only one transcript from each school you list is required. Please attach a pdf of your transcript(s) to your online application. If you are invited to interview, have an official transcript from each college or university you have attended mailed as soon as possible. Transcripts must be received in envelopes sealed by the institution to be considered official. They can be mailed to:

Biology Graduate Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Building 68-120
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307

• The Subjects Taken Page is optional only if you have attached a PDF of your transcript. Attaching your transcript is strongly preferred for the completion of your application. If no transcript has been attached, this page must be filled in to complete your application and you must follow up with an official transcript sent to the address indicated on the Overview/Help page. Please complete the subjects taken in the following order: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Engineering/Other Sciences. MIT Biology does not post minimum GRE scores. To avoid delays, have your scores electronically transmitted by the Educational Testing Service to MIT admissions before the December 1st deadline.

• The GRE General Test is required of all applicants. Please plan to take the exam with enough time to have the scores submitted before the deadline. You are encouraged to take your GRE before December. Students who must take them in December should make note in their applications stating when the official scores will arrive. The GRE Subject Exam is not required but scores may be submitted. The MIT code is 3514, the departmental code is 0203. Scores are sent directly by the Educational Testing Service.

Additional Requirements for International Students English language proficiency test scores are required of all applicants whose primary language is not English. Test scores must be from within the past two years. Registration information is available at IELTS: Minimum score required: 6; most applicants should have scores of 7 or higher.

CVs can be included in your online application.

International students should not complete the ethnicity section. Only U.S. citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents are requested to complete this section.

Submitting Adjunct Application Materials: Scanned PDF transcripts and GRE, IELTS and TOEFL scores are considered unofficial documents but are sufficient for review purposes. Official documents are required before an admissions decision can be made. Please have your scores electronically transmitted from ETS to MIT Admissions before the December 1st deadline. If you are invited to interview, mail one official transcript from each school you listed in your application to:

MIT Biology Graduate Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building 68-120
Cambridge MA 02139-4307

Biology also participates in the Joint Program with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; however, application for admission to the Joint Program is done through the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering website. If you wish to be considered for the Biology graduate program independently of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, please also complete the Biology online application.

• Please address questions about MIT Biology Graduate Program and the application process to Please send technical questions about this web site to You can find more information about MIT graduate admissions in general here.

Students with Special Needs: The department encourages individuals with disabilities to apply to our program. Interested students may contact the MIT Student Disabilities Services office to learn about the many resources available on the MIT campus to support students with disabilities.

 Application Fee Waiver: 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/ODGE 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.
Applicants will be able to request waivers for up to three departments. All requests will be reviewed by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education and if approved, applicants will receive a fee waiver code(s) in three business days or less. Please plan accordingly so you have the waiver code to submit your application prior to the December 1st application deadline. The online Graduate Application Fee Waiver form for eligible graduate school applicants can be accessed here.
Reimbursement for any fees already paid will not be reimbursed. 
*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.

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Due to the volume of applications received, we are unable to respond to requests for updated status of application materials received. Thank you and good luck!

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact us. We look forward to receiving your application.

For questions on the admissions process:

For technical questions using the online application:

Due to the volume of applications received, we are unable to respond to requests for updated status of application materials received. Thank you and good luck!