Academics / Graduate program
Information about the Admissions Process:
Admissions Frequently Asked Questions
- Pre-application Questions
(programs offered, requirements, selection process)
(applications, deadline, submitting transcripts and cvs)
- Deferral, Reapplying
- Standardized Tests (GRE, IELTS, TOEFL)
- Financial Support
- Troubleshooting Application Problems
- Does BCS offer a Master's degree?
- No. The final degree objective for all admitted students to the BCS Graduate Program is the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy.)
- Does BCS offer clinical, counseling, or social psychology?
- We do not offer studies in clinical, counseling, social, or industrial/organizational psychology.
- How are graduate students selected?
- Graduate student selection is based primarily upon evidence of research interest and potential for work within the areas represented in the department. Candidates may have undergraduate concentrations in a variety of fields, but regardless of undergraduate major, applicants are expected to have outstanding records, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing test scores are required with the application; GRE subject tests are not required.
- What if my current institution does not offer adequate research opportunities?
- If you are unable to obtain any research experience at your undergraduate college, you may be well advised to work in research during summers or after graduation. Work in a related industry, in an academic lab, or at a research institution is likely to result in stronger graduate applications to doctoral programs at major research universities.
- How many applications do you receive each year? Of those, how many are accepted or enrolled?
- We receive over 400 applications per year, and of these, we admit approximately 40 students and enroll between 10 and 20 students. The number of students admitted into the graduate program annually is around five percent of the total number of applications received.
- Can you assess my chances of admission to your program based on GRE scores, class rank, etc.?
- We cannot provide preliminary evaluations of chances for admission based on any one or two qualifications. The Graduate Admissions Committee carefully reviews the application package (statement of objectives, GRE scores, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.) to determine admission decisions.
- How do I apply to BCS?
- BCS only accepts online applications. You can apply online at: https://gradapply.mit.edu/bcs. Paper applications are not accepted.
- What is the deadline for applying?
- You must submit your online application and supplemental material (GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and transcripts) by December 1 for admission the following September.
- Where can official transcripts be sent?
- We require official transcripts. They must be sent directly by your school to our department, either as a hard copy or electronically. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded directly to your application for review purposes.
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Graduate Office 46-2005Q
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
- I cannot send all of my application materials in the same packet. What should I do?
- It is crucial that your online application be submitted on or before the deadline. Please ensure that all transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation arrive before the deadline if possible. Anything received after the deadline will be added to your file when it arrives. Please be aware that the Graduate Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications shortly after the Dec. 1 deadline, so materials that are received late may not be reviewed.
- Will I be notified about the status of my application?
- No, but you may check your letters of recommendation in the online system. Please note that emails regarding final admissions decisions are sent in April.
- Do I need to complete the Subjects Taken section of the application form?
- Yes, but you are only required to report relevant subjects, not all subjects taken.
- Why do I have to complete the Subjects Taken in addition to sending an official transcript?
- The Subjects Taken gathers information not included on transcripts, i.e., textbooks used. BCS faculty use this information in evaluating applications.
- What if I don't know the textbook/did not use a textbook for a course in my Subjects Taken?
- If you don't know the textbook or did not use a textbook for a course listed in your Subjects Taken, just leave that area blank.
- How do I decide which "Research Area" to indicate on my application?
- Research in the area of molecular and cellular neuroscience focuses on the development of neural connectivity, the molecular basis of behavior in simple neural circuits, synaptic plasticity, and neurochemistry.
In the area of systems neuroscience the main concerns are with vision, movement, and endocrine regulation, with the scientific goals of understanding the transduction and encoding of sensory stimuli; the organization, development, and plasticity of sensorimotor systems; the neural basis of cognition; and the effects of circulating compounds on brain composition and behavior.
Cognitive science comprises interdisciplinary methods that include experimental studies, linguistic theory, and computational modeling are recruited to characterize the origin, acquisition, and processing of knowledge. Research focuses on psycholinguistics, visual perception and cognition, concepts and reasoning, and their development in children. Research on neurologically impaired patients is another important area of investigation.
In the area of computation, emphasis is on the interdisciplinary study of the brain as an information processor and computing device. Research fields include robotics and the control of movement, vision, learning by neural networks, and knowledge-based perception and reasoning.
- Cognitive Neuroscience isn't listed as a "Research Area" on the application; what if I want to choose that?
- Please choose either cognitive science or systems neuroscience, whichever category is more applicable to you. Our program is highly interdisciplinary, including faculty who study cognitive neuroscience. If you are admitted to and enroll in our program, you will have many opportunities for interdisciplinary studies including cognitive neuroscience.
- Does BCS allow deferral of enrollment?
- Deferral of admission to a later year is not permitted. Reapplication is necessary and readmission is not guaranteed.
- I applied to BCS previously, but was rejected. How do I reapply?
- If you would like to reapply to our program, you will be required to complete a new online application and to pay the application fee. You may indicate that you applied previously by checking the appropriate box on the “Test Scores / Experience” portion of the online application.
- Do I need to take the GRE exam? If so, do I need to take any of the subject tests?
- GRE Exam scores, the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections, are required of all applicants to the BCS Graduate Program. The subject test section of the exam is not required.
- Can I use the MCAT rather than the GRE?
- ONLY applicants who are currently matriculating at Harvard Medical School may use the MCAT in place of the GRE. Please notify and send a score report to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do I need to take an English proficiency exam? Can the exam be waived?
- ALL applicants whose first language is not English must present evidence of their ability to conduct their studies in English by taking the IELTS (preferred) or TOEFL exam. Minimum scores: IELTS 7, TOEFL 577 (paper-based), 233 (computer-based) or 90 (internet-based).
Applicants are automatically waived only if ALL previous instruction was conducted in English.
Applicants may request a waiver if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Are currently enrolled at an English-speaking institution
- Have lived in an English-speaking country for four years or longer
- Have received a degree from an English-speaking institution. Please email your request to email@example.com.
- What codes do I use when reporting my GRE and TOEFL scores to BCS?
- GRE: Institution code 3514 (for MIT); departmental code 0213 (Neurosciences) or 2002 (Cognitive Psychology)
TOEFL: Institution code 3514 (for MIT); departmental code 58 (Psychology, Experimental/Developmental)
IELTS: Request that scores be sent to:
Graduate Admission Office, 3-103
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
- I'm taking the GRE/IELTS/TOEFL in December, will you receive my scores in time?
- Scores not received by the Dec. 1 deadline will be added when they are received; however your application may be reviewed before they arrive.
- Do you accept old GRE/TOEFL/IELTS scores?
- We follow the guidelines set by ETS and IELTS. As such, GRE scores are valid and reportable for five years, TOEFL scores two years, and IELTS scores two years.
- What are the minimum scores required on the GRE Exam?
- We do not have a minimum requirement. Competitive scores fall in the ranges listed below:
- Verbal – above 85th percentile
- Quantitative – above 85th percentile
- Analytical Writing – above 70th percentile
- What type of financial support can I expect?
- Financial support made available by the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences includes predoctoral traineeships sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, as well as various fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. Such appointments typically provide full tuition plus a 12-month stipend.
- Do you provide financial support for foreign applicants?
- We provide financial support, including tuition, for all students accepted into the graduate program. This support may be in the form of assistantships. However because most of the department's funding is restricted to US citizens, we can admit only a few international students each year. You should make every effort to apply for grants and fellowships in your native country.
- My application is incomplete, will it still be reviewed?
- Yes, all applications are reviewed, regardless of their completed status. Please note: late materials are added to the file as they are received, however your application may reviewed prior to their receipt.
- My application is incomplete, can you hold it until all of my materials are received?
- No, all applications are reviewed, regardless of their completed status. Late materials are added to the file as they are received; however your application may reviewed prior to their receipt.
current as of October 16, 2012