Skip to content

How to Apply

For U.S. Naval Officers, the online application opens July 1 and the deadline for all application materials is October 1 by 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time. To apply, complete this online application.

For prospective doctoral students, we anticipate that applications for the 2025-2026 academic year will open in October. The deadline for all application materials will be announced this fall; last year's deadline was  December 15 2023 by 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time. To apply, complete this online application. This graduate application supports all browsers updated in the last year except for Internet Explorer. For a better experience, we recommend using Google Chrome with a minimum resolution of 1024x768 on a desktop.

For students interested in applying to MIT departments directly, the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science 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.

Nondiscrimination Policies

Members of groups underrepresented in ocean science and engineering are encouraged to apply.

MIT's Nondiscrimination Policy

WHOI's Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy (internal)


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 application 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

Graduate Record Examination (GRE):
GRE scores will not be required but may be submitted as part of the Joint Program application.

English Language Proficiency (TOEFL, Cambridge English Exam or IELTS) Requirements:

Applicants who have not received primary or secondary schooling in English must take an English Language Proficiency exam (either IELTS or TOEFL).

Please see, and for more information about English proficiency exams.

Test scores must be within the past two years.  Waivers may be granted in certain circumstances; please see for details.

English Proficiency Exa, Minimum Score Requirements:

We will consider all applications regardless of scores; however, an applicant must have a TOEFL iBT test result of 100 or more, IELTS of 7.0 or above or Cambridge English Exam of 185 or above to enroll in the Joint Program.  If an applicant submits a score lower than 100 / 7.0 / 185 requirement on their application, their file may be reviewed, however an offer of admission would only be offered conditionally, pending an updated score that meets the minimum requirements for enrollment.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score for admission is 100 for the internet-based test (iBT). We understand the paper-based test is no longer being offered.

Send scores electronically to Institution Code: MIT 3514 and Department Code: Oceanography 75

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) minimum score for admission is 7.0.

For IELTS Indicator Scores, please select account name, MIT-WHOI Joint Program, when requesting IELTS Indicator scores be sent to the Joint Program.

For IELTS Academic Scores, if sending scores hard copy, please send them to:

Attn: Patricia Nesti

MIT-WHOI Joint Program Admissions

77 Massachusetts Ave, 54-812

Cambridge, MA 02139

The minimum Cambridge English Exam Score is 185.

If sending scores hard copy, please send them to:

Attn: Patricia Nesti

MIT-WHOI Joint Program Admissions

77 Massachusetts Ave, 54-812

Cambridge, MA 02139

JP Applicant Support & Knowledgebase (JP ASK) Advice on the Application Process

JP ASK is a mentorship program intended to advise and support prospective students through the overall graduate application process. This program is active from September 1 - December 1. More Information is available here.

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.


You will be asked to supply a copy of your resume as part of your application. This helps the Joint Program to get a better idea of your education, work experience and research history.

Some tips on creating a resume can be found here:

How to Write a Resume

Resume Writing Guide for Grad School

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 mid to late February.

Joint Program offers are normally made beginning in mid-February 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 mid March. If you are on a wait list, you will be notified of that as well by mid March.

Open House

The Open House for admitted students is typically held in March. Dates for 2024 are not yet available.