How to Apply


The application will open on September 1. To apply, please complete the online application.

THE DEADLINE FOR ALL MATERIALS IS JANUARY 5 BY 11:59PM EASTERN STANDARD TIME.  It is very important to begin the online application well in advance of this deadline for all materials.

The MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Sciences and Engineering collaborates with the MIT Departments of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), Biology, Mechanical Engineering (MechE), Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro). If you wish to apply to those departments independently of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, please also complete their online application form, bearing in mind that they may have different application deadlines.


In the application, you will be asked to supply the names and email addresses of three people to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf.  Letters should be from people who are familiar with your academic ± research capabilities. Once this information is entered, you will be asked to contact these people, so make sure to do this well in advance of the January 5 deadline.


You will be required to upload UNOFFICIAL, NON-ENCRYPTED PDFs of your transcripts for all colleges and universities attended. We are unable to view encrypted transcripts. Official transcripts will be required upon admission to the program. If you are admitted, you will be instructed when and where to submit those. Do not send transcripts to the Joint Program unless you are asked to do so.

Grades and Narrative Evaluations

You will be required to describe the grading system(s) used at all colleges and universities you have attended. Explain the specific meaning of any numeric values, letter grades, and rankings.

Applicants who have attended or received credit from a college or university which evaluates coursework through narrative transcripts/evaluations rather than assigning numerical or letter grades must upload narrative evaluations for math and science courses in the transcript section of the online application.

Testing Requirements

We urge applicants to complete the tests by early December so that the results reach us by the January 5 deadline. Results of tests taken after December 31, 2019 will not be considered because of the lack of availability of official scores when applications are reviewed.

Please send your scores electronically.

Institution Code: MIT 3514

Department Code: Oceanography (0508 for GRE, 75 for TOEFL/IELTS)

Per the ETS website,

"For individuals testing on or after July 1, 2016, GRE® test scores are valid for five years after your test administration date. For example, scores for a test taken on July 3, 2016, are reportable through July 2, 2021.

For individuals who tested between August 1, 2011, and June 30, 2016, GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested (as indicated in the GRE® Information Bulletin from that testing year). For example, scores for a test taken on May 15, 2015, are reportable through June 30, 2020."

  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) (Required)
    • Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Sections
    • Subject test is not required.
    • Please see for more information about the GRE.
  • English Language Proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL)  
  • Applicants who have not received primary or secondary schooling in English must take an English Language Proficiency exam (either IELTS or TOEFL).  Test scores must be within the past two years.  Waivers may be granted in certain circumstances; please see for details.
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) minimum score for admission is 7.0.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score for admission is 100 for the internet-based test.  We understand the paper-based test is no longer being offered.
  • Please see and for more information about the IELTS and TOEFL.

Statement of Objectives

In the application, you will be asked to write a statement of objectives. Please explain why you are a good candidate for the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in the field you have chosen. You should describe why you wish to attend graduate school, what you would like to study, and any research experience you have. Include as far as you can your particular interests, be they experimental, theoretical, or field oriented, and describe how your background and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program support these interests. This is a good place to mention research areas of specific faculty that most interest you. The Admissions Committee will welcome any factors you wish to bring to its attention concerning your academic and work experience to date.

The recommended length is 1.5-2.5 pages single-spaced.

Student Support

Investigate and apply for sources of student support, such as U.S-funded fellowships, non-U.S. agencies that fund graduate studies abroad, etc.  While students admitted to the program are admitted with funding (i.e. they receive a stipend and tuition is paid – there is no option of students paying their own tuition), we encourage students to apply for outside fellowships while applying to graduate school.  See Graduate Fellowship Opportunities.

Do not mail any additional materials such as CVs, abstracts, personal information or lists of professional accomplishments.  These will not be considered for admission purposes.

Admissions Decision Notification

Notification will be made via email. Please set email settings to allow all mail from and and regularly check spam/trash folders.

The Joint Program will notify applicants via email regarding the receipt of all application materials.

Notification of admission decisions will be sent via email to applicants by early March. 

Joint Program offers are normally made by early March each year.  Timing of offers can depend on a number of factors, including the schedules of people involved in decisions. But every effort is made to inform people by early March. If you are on a wait list, you will be notified of that as well by early March.

Open House

There will be an open house FOR ADMITTED STUDENTS March 11 and March 12, 2019.