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English Proficiency Exam Waivers

It is required that any applicant who has not received primary or secondary schooling in English must take a language exam for entry to the program.

Students whose primary language was English during their primary and secondary schooling or students who attended a 4-year English-speaking college or university in the U.S., Canada, or Europe and graduated with a bachelor's degree (or will graduate before enrolling in the Joint Program should they be admitted) may be eligible for a waiver of the English proficiency exam requirement.

A two or three-year Master's degree in a U.S. or English-speaking university is not considered sufficient to qualify for a TOEFL waiver.

To request a waiver, applicants must submit the request through the online application system. Under the Language Exams and Languages of Instruction sections, check the box next to the statement: I request to have the TOEFL/IELTS exam requirement waived because I meet the requirements stated above.

The following is the MIT Policy regarding English Language Proficiency which the MIT-WHOI Joint Program follows:

English is the language of instruction in all subjects within the Institute, and all papers and theses must be written in English.  All applicants whose first language is not English, including those currently enrolled in U.S. institutions, must present evidence of their ability to carry on their studies in English by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 100 is required by the Institute; however, some departments require higher scores. Refer to department information for testing requirements. Scores below 100 may result in the withholding of the visa documentation for a candidate otherwise considered admissible.

In addition to the TOEFL, all students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (E.E.T.) at MIT during the week prior to Registration Day. This examination is a diagnostic test whose purpose is to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses in written and oral English. English classes may be recommended as a result of the E.E.T.
Unlike IELTS or TOEFL, many countries offer the Cambridge English Qualification as part of an English language course in their school curriculum. For applicants in these countries, the exam’s registration fee is waived as part of their broader educational curriculum

Application Fee Waiver

Effective Fall 2015:

The Office of Graduate Education (OGE) at MIT is pleased to offer fee waivers for U.S. Citizens and U.S. Permanent Residents who demonstrate financial hardship, are current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, or who have participated in special fellowship programs, including MIT-sponsored diversity programs (e.g. MIT Summer Research Program, CONVERGE). The OGE Diversity Initiatives is also pleased to offer fee waivers to prospective students we have met during diversity recruitment events. International students, attending U.S. colleges and universities, who have participated in the MIT CONVERGE or MSRP programs are also eligible to apply for a fee waiver.

Eligible applicants should submit the fee waiver form.

A very limited number of fee waivers are available to students who are not eligible for these programs. Preference will be given to economically disadvantaged international applicants who have identified a potential advisor. Interested applicants may submit inquiries to

The application fee is good for a single academic year only; applications reactivated in future academic years will require new fees.