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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

English Language Proficiency

Test Requirements for Applicants
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 international students currently enrolled in US institutions, must present evidence of their ability to continue their studies in English.

Qualifying applicants must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic), or the Cambridge English Qualification (C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency exams only). The IELTS exam is preferred at MIT. 

A minimum TOEFL iBT score of 90 (577 paper-based) is required by the Institute; however, some departments require higher scores. The minimum IELTS Academic score required is determined by the department. Refer to department information for testing requirements. Scores below the required minimum may result in the withholding of the visa documentation for a candidate otherwise considered admissible.

For more information on meeting this requirement and the criteria required to be eligible for a waiver, please review the Standardized Tests page.

Evaluation Requirement for Incoming Students

Even students who met the requirements to waive the standardized English proficiency exam test for purposes of admission may have gaps in their English language abilities to hinder their success at MIT. For this reason, all students whose education was not in English from the ages of six through high school––including students who received a waiver during the application period––are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) at MIT in the week before the fall semester begins. 

The EET is a diagnostic test intended to help students identify weaknesses in written and oral English that will inhibit their ability to meet academic, research, and work requirements, so they may successfully perform the tasks required of them from the moment they arrive on campus. English classes may be recommended as a result of the applicant’s EET score, with the goal of strengthening these abilities.

Visa Options
Students admitted to MIT may choose between two visas: the F-1 (student visa) and J-1 (exchange visitor visa). Individuals on any other non-immigrant visa will be unable to register in a program of studies at MIT.

The F-1 Visa
This option is normally used by those who enroll as full-time students at an approved educational

institution. It is obtained by presenting the Form I-20 to a US consulate or embassy and submitting an application for an F-1 visa. F-1 students are expected to attend the school that issued the Form I-20 and to maintain a full course of study while in the United States. Students whose studies are funded by their families or other private sponsors are normally issued the Form I-20. Upon arrival in the United States, students will be granted permission to remain in this country for the period of time required to complete their programs of study.

Some students hold fellowships or assistantships. Students with full assistantships, however, are not allowed to hold any additional employment on or off campus.

Spouses and children of F-1 students may hold the F-2 visa. The F-1 student may apply for Form I-20 for each of their dependents who wish to join them in the United States in F-2 status. Those dependents will then need to apply for F-2 visas at the US embassy or consulate.

Health and hospitalization insurance is a requirement for all F-1 students and their dependents.


The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

This visa may be used by those who come to study or conduct research as participants in an Exchange Visitor program. Students must be substantially (more than 51 percent) funded by their home government, educational institutions, international or national organizations, private companies, etc., in order to be eligible for a J-1 visa. Students on personal/family funds are not eligible for J-1 status; they must apply for F-1 status. The J-1 visa is obtained by presenting to the American Consul form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility). When students accept funding from the Fulbright or any other agency of the US government or their own governments (even though it may be only a travel grant), this status carries with it a “two-year home country residency requirement,” which obliges students to return to their home countries for two years before they can apply for permanent residency or change to an H or L visa. In addition, this restriction applies to students from certain countries that have registered a list of needed skills with the United States government. Students intending to use the J-1 visa to enter the United States should ask the US Consul in their home country whether or not they will be subject to the two-year home residency requirement.

J-1 students will be allowed to remain in the country for the period of time indicated on their DS-2019. This time may be extended, so long as they are pursuing a full course of study on authorized academic training.

Health and hospitalization insurance is a requirement for all J-1 students and their dependents.



Application Dates & Deadlines

Program                                                                                                                             Application Deadline
Aeronautics and Astronautics                                                                                                       December 1
Architecture                                                                                                                                         January 7 
Biological Engineering                                                                                                                 December 15
Biology                                                                                                                                               December 1
Brain and Cognitive Sciences                                                                                                        December 1
Center for Real Estate                                                                                                                       January 15
Chemical Engineering                                                                                                                  November 13
Chemistry                                                                                                                                          December 1
Civil and Environmental Engineering                                                                                          December 1


Comparative Media Studies                                                                                                                    
Computational and Systems Biology                                                                                           December 1
Computational Science and Engineering PhD                     
                                                      December 1

Computational Science and Engineering SM    
Data, Economics, and Development Policy                                                                                  January 13
Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences                                                                              December 1
Economics                                                                                                                                       December 15
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science        
                                                                December 15
Health Sciences and Technology (Joint Harvard-MIT Program)                                            December 1
History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society                                            December 10
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society                                                                                    December 15


Integrated Design and Management    
Leaders for Global Operations                                                                                                     November 8
Linguistics                                                                                                                                       December 15
Materials Science and Engineering                                                                                              December 1
Mathematics                                                                                                                                   December 15
Mechanical Engineering                                                                                                               December 15
Media Arts and Sciences                                                                                                               December 15
Microbiology                                                                                                                                     December 1
MIT Sloan Executive MBA Program                                                                               January 3, March 14
MIT Sloan Fellows MBA Program                                                                               October 3, January 25
MIT Sloan Master of Business Analytics                                                                                          January 4
MIT Sloan Master of Finance                                                                                                             January 4
MIT Sloan Master of Science in Management Studies                                                              February 15
MIT Sloan MBA Program                                                                        September 29, January 18, April 11
MIT Sloan PhD Program                                                                                                                 December 1
MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography / Applied Ocean Science and Engineering    October 1, December 15


Nuclear Science and Engineering                                                                                              December 15
Operations Research Center                                                                                                        December 15
Philosophy                                                                                                                                            January 2
Physics                                                                                                                                             December 15
Political Science                                                                                                                             December 15
Program in Polymers and Soft Matter                                                                December 1, December 15
Science Writing                                                                                                                                 January 15
Supply Chain Management Blended                                                           January 31, June 21, August 1
Supply Chain Management Residential                                             November 1, January 31, March 28
System Design and Management                                                                              December 15, March 3
Technology and Policy Program                                                                                                December 15
Transportation                                                                                                                                     January 4
Urban Studies and Planning                                                                                                        December 15

Does MIT accept the Duolingo English Test?

MIT Graduate Admissions does not accept Duolingo English Test scores to meet the language proficiency requirement. Applicants must submit official scores from the IELTS Academic exam, TOEFL IBT exam, or the C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency exams from Cambridge English. (Please note that the Cambridge English Qualification exams are only accepted by select departments, not all.)

Is there a preference for IELTS or TOEFL SCORES?

Most departments prefer IELTS exam scores. Please contact the program to which you wish to apply to confirm their requirements for English language proficiency exams.

If I apply to multiple programs, do I need to submit standardized test scores to each department separately?

No. Test scores are matched to your application electronically based on your name; department codes do not impact this matching process. If you submit multiple applications, each program to which you applied will have access to your official test scores, with the exception of applications to the MIT Sloan School of Management. Test scores must be submitted to MIT Sloan separately.

Can I apply to more than one department?

Yes. Applicants may apply to more than one department as long as they meet all of the application requirements, pay the required application fees, and submit separate applications by the required deadlines for each program.

Notification of Decision

Early Action: 1st Nov 2023

  • All individual application components—general information, essays, activities, academics, etc.

  • Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher

  • Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript


November testing date

  • Standardized tests: SAT or ACT. We strongly recommend English proficiency exams for certain non-native English speakers who plan to apply.


February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)

Regular Action

4th Jan 2024 

All individual application components—general informationessays, activities, academics, etc.

Two letters of recommendation—one from a math or science teacher and one from a humanities, social science, or language teacher

Secondary School Report (SSR), including high school transcript

December Testing Date

Standardized tests: SAT or ACT. We strongly recommend English proficiency exams for certain non-native English speakers who plan to apply. (We will also accept English proficiency exams for Regular Action applicants through the January test dates.)


February Updates & Notes Form (including midyear grades)



English Language Proficiency Tests
A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn.  Applicants who meet one or both of the criteria below are considered proficient in English.

English is the applicant’s native language.
English has been the applicant’s primary language of instruction for the duration of high school.
If neither of these statements is true, applicants are required to take the TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test to demonstrate English proficiency. Where the TOEFL iBT is not available due to COVID-19, applicants can take the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. Please note that Penn does not currently accept the IELTS Indicator exam or MyBest scores for the TOEFL.

To learn about the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test and to register for the examinations, please visit the websites below. Penn's school code for the TOEFL is 2926.

Duolingo English Test
Be sure to designate Penn as a recipient university each time you register for an examination. If you have already taken a test but did not designate Penn as a score recipient, please do so afterwards.

Score reports should be sent directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions through official testing agencies. Penn does not accept self-reported scores for English proficiency examinations. 

​Creative Portfolios

Students who have worked on a significant research project outside of high school classes are welcome to submit the Research Supplement via SlideRoom. If you have worked on more than one research project, you should focus on one project that is most significant to you.

Please answer a brief questionnaire about your research and provide a letter of recommendation from your research mentor. Researchers may include a PDF of their abstract or research poster, if available. If the work being submitted has been published, a citation can be provided.

Music & theater arts
Performing artists (musicians, composers, dancers, designers, directors, writers, and actors) with exceptional talent are welcome to submit a supplement via SlideRoom. We recommend submitting work that represents a range of styles or skills if available.

We require one letter of recommendation from a current or recent music or theater arts teacher, submitted through the SlideRoom system.

Musicians: Submit two recordings representing contrasting styles or periods, 10 minutes total combined duration. Each selection must be an unedited solo performance, and accompaniment may be included if appropriate. If you play two instruments equally well, please create a separate SlideRoom account (using a different email address) and submit a separate portfolio for each instrument.
Composers: Submit one recent composition score in PDF format.
Actors, dancers, directors, and designers: Submit up to three videos or images. 10 minutes maximum total combined video time.
Screenwriters/playwrights: You may submit all or part of one or two scripts. Submissions should be no longer than 10 pages total. If your work was performed and recorded, you may submit up to 10 minutes of video. This portfolio option is meant for screenwriters/playwrights; while MIT values creative writing, we do not currently offer a portfolio to review creative writing, essays, poetry, etc.

Visual art & architecture
Creative individuals with exceptional talent are welcome to submit a portfolio via SlideRoom.

We encourage all types of media art, including design, drawing, painting, mixed media, digital media, photography, sculpture, and architectural work. You may submit a portfolio of up to 10 images of your work for review. Include the title, medium, a brief description, date completed, and a brief description of each work’s concept or inspiration.

Note: only one Visual Art & Architecture portfolio is permitted per applicant.

The Maker Portfolio is an opportunity for students to showcase their projects that require creative insight, technical skill, and a hands-on approach to learning by doing. Members of the MIT Engineering Advisory Board review the portfolios. If you would like your technically creative work to be reviewed by academic and instructional staff, then it might be a good fit for the Maker Portfolio.

For your Maker Portfolio, you may submit images, video totaling no more than 120 seconds, and up to one PDF of technical documentation and/or specifications via SlideRoom. You may document one project or many, and your work may have been done inside, or outside, of school, and alone or with a team; just make sure you explain it to us!

Note: only one Maker Portfolio is permitted per applicant.

Portfolio fee or waivers
The fee to submit each portfolio is $10. However, we understand that paying college application fees presents a hardship for some families. If the submission fee presents a hardship for you and your family, you may qualify for a fee waiver. To request a fee waiver, send a brief email to our SlideRoom portfolio team with the subject line “SlideRoom Fee Waiver” by the deadlines listed below. Include your full name and date of birth in the body of the email. Your SlideRoom portfolio must be in progress to receive a fee waiver; we cannot proactively grant fee waivers for portfolios that have not been started.

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