Doctoral Programs in Computational Science and Engineering

Application & Admission Information

The Center for Computational Science and Engineering (CCSE) offers two doctoral programs in computational science and engineering (CSE) – one leading to a standalone PhD degree in CSE offered entirely by CCSE (CSE PhD) and the other leading to an interdisciplinary PhD degree offered jointly with participating departments in the School of Engineering and the School of Science (Dept-CSE PhD).

While both programs enable students to specialize at the doctoral level in a computation-related field via focused coursework and a thesis, they differ in essential ways. The standalone CSE PhD program is intended for students who plan to pursue research in cross-cutting methodological aspects of computational science. The resulting doctoral degree in Computational Science and Engineering is awarded by CCSE via the the Schwarzman College of Computing. In contrast, the interdisciplinary Dept-CSE PhD program is intended for students who are interested in computation in the context of a specific engineering or science discipline. For this reason, this degree is offered jointly with participating departments across the Institute; the interdisciplinary degree is awarded in a specially crafted thesis field that recognizes the student’s specialization in computation within the chosen engineering or science discipline.

Applicants to the standalone CSE PhD program are expected to have an undergraduate degree in CSE, applied mathematics, or another field that prepares them for an advanced degree in CSE. Applicants to the Dept-CSE PhD program should have an undergraduate degree in a related core disciplinary area as well as a strong foundation in applied mathematics, physics, or related fields. When completing the MIT CSE graduate application, students are expected to declare which of the two programs they are interested in. Admissions decisions will take into account these declared interests, along with each applicant’s academic background, preparation, and fit to the program they have selected.  All applicants are asked to specify MIT CCSE-affiliated faculty that best match their research interests; applicants to the Dept-CSE PhD program also select the home department(s) that best match. At the discretion of the admissions committee, Dept-CSE PhD applications might also be shared with a home department beyond those designated in the application. CSE PhD admissions decisions are at the sole discretion of CCSE; Dept-CSE PhD admission decisions are conducted jointly between CCSE and the home departments.

Please note: These are both doctoral programs in Computational Science and Engineering; applicants interested in Computer Science must apply to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Important Dates

September 15: Application Opens
December 1: Deadline to apply for admission*
December – March: Application review period
January – March: Decisions released on rolling basis

*All supplemental materials (e.g., transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation) must also be received by December 1. Application review begins on that date, and incomplete applications may not be reviewed. Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of this hard deadline, as we do not make exceptions. We also do not allow students to upload/submit material beyond what is required, such as degree certificates, extra recommendations, publications, etc.

A complete electronic CSE application includes the following:

  • Three letters of recommendation;
  • Transcripts from all colleges / universities attended, uploaded directly to the application in PDF format;
    • Students admitted to the program will be required to supply official transcripts. Discrepancies between unofficial and official transcripts may result in the revocation of the admission offer.
  • Statement of objectives (limited to approximately one page) and responses to department-specific prompts for Dept-CSE PhD applicants;
  • Official GRE General Test score report, sent to MIT by ETS via institute code 3514
  • Official IELTS score report sent to MIT by IELTS† (international applicants from non-English speaking countries only; see below for more information)
  • Resume or CV, uploaded in PDF format;
  • MIT graduate application fee of $75‡.

‡Application Fee

The MIT graduate application fee of $75.00 is a mandatory requirement set by the Institute payable by credit card. Please visit the MIT Graduate Admission Application Fee Waiver page for information about fee waiver eligibility and instructions.

Please note: CCSE cannot issue fee waivers; email requests for fee waivers sent to will not receive a response.

Admissions Contact Information


Current MIT CSE SM Students: Please see the page for Current MIT Graduate Students.

GRE Requirement

All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Aptitude Test. The MIT code for submitting GRE score reports is 3514 (you do not need to list a department code). GRE scores must current; ETS considers scores valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested.

†English Language Proficiency Requirement

The CSE PhD program requires international applicants from non-English speaking countries to take the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The IELTS exam measures one’s ability to communicate in English in four major skill areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. A minimum IELTS score of 7 is required for admission. For more information about the IELTS, and to find out where and how to take the exam, please visit the IELTS web site.

While we will also accept the TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language), we strongly prefer the IELTS. The minimum TOEFL iBT score is 100.

This requirement is waived for those who can demonstrate that one or more of the following are true:

  • English is/was the language of instruction in your four-year undergraduate program,
  • English is the language of your employer/workplace for at least the last four years,
  • English was your language of instruction in both primary and secondary schools.

Degree Requirements for Admission

To be admitted as a regular graduate student, an applicant must have earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. Students in their final year of undergraduate study may be admitted on the condition that their bachelor’s degree is awarded before they enroll at MIT.

Applicants without an SM degree may apply to the CSE PhD program, however, the Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Mechanical Engineering nominally require the completion of an SM degree before a student is considered a doctoral candidate. As a result, applicants to those departments holding only a bachelor’s degree are asked in the application to indicate whether they prefer to complete the CSE SM program or an SM through the home department.

Nondiscrimination Policy

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment.  To read MIT’s most up-to-date nondiscrimination policy, please visit the Reference Publication Office’s nondiscrimination statement page.

Additional Information

For more details, as well as answers to most commonly asked questions regarding the admissions process to individual participating Dept-CSE PhD departments including details on financial support, applicants are referred to the website of the participating department of interest.