Employment and professional activities

See Finding employment for information about on- and off-campus jobs and internships. 

Research and teaching assistantships and Instructor-G appointments

A 100% research assistantship requires an average of 20 hours of employment service per week over the appointment period. MIT recognizes that graduate students typically spend significant additional time conducting research in support of their academic studies.

On-campus hourly employment

A student who is a US citizen or permanent resident who applies to work, in addition to their RA or TA appointment, may be permitted additional compensated employment at MIT for no more than 10 hours per week during the academic year, especially to support campus life activities (e.g., staffing the front desk of a residence hall). MIT will enforce policies for academic progress and for employment responsibilities associated with a students’ primary MIT appointments (e.g. as an RA or TA).

International Students have more restrictive work limitations based on U.S. immigration law.

Off-campus employment 

Although there is no policy against working outside of MIT while a registered student, students should be aware of the following:

  • MIT will enforce policies for academic progress and for employment responsibilities associated with any MIT appointments (e.g. as an RA or TA).
  • Technical jobs, or work closely related to a student’s field or discipline, may create a conflict of interest. Review information on “Conflict of interest” to minimize the potential for these issues.
  • See “Outside professional activities” for guidance on engaging in off-campus consulting activities and other work while pursuing a graduate degree.
  • See “Entrepreneurship” for guidance on starting your own enterprise while pursuing a graduate degree.

Special considerations for students on fellowships

Some external fellowships limit the amount of time spent conducting employment duties and/or the compensation a student can receive for employment. A fellowship student who holds a full-time paid internship over the summer may be asked to forfeit their summer fellowship stipend. The student should check with their department and with the Director of Graduate Fellowships in the Office of Graduate Education to ensure compliance with the terms of their particular fellowship.

Interruption of academic program to accept employment

Ideally, a graduate student will complete all degree requirements without interruption. In the event that a student wishes to suspend work toward a degree to accept an offer of employment, or wishes to hold a full-time employment position while pursuing a graduate degree, please note the following:

MIT, Lincoln Laboratory, and Draper Laboratory

A graduate student may interrupt an academic program to accept employment on MIT’s academic, administrative, or research staff, or as an hourly employee at MIT, Lincoln Laboratory, or the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, or take on such work while a regular enrolled student, either during the academic year or during the summer, only if the following conditions are met:

  • The Office of Graduate Education has been consulted about the proposed plan
  • Approval of the department head and of the appropriate academic dean has been obtained.
  • The student’s department has transmitted written approval to the appropriate MIT Human Resources Officer.
  • The work as an employee is not related to the student’s thesis research.
  • The student’s thesis may not include any material based upon work done while holding an academic or research staff appointment.

Full-time employment elsewhere

A graduate student who wishes to accept a full-time position with an employer other than MIT, Lincoln Laboratory, or the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory while pursuing a graduate degree should consult their department or program administration regarding the approval procedures for temporary withdrawal from the Institute with a written plan for future re-enrollment.

Outside Professional Activities (OPA)

Rules and guidelines for engaging in consultant work and other outside professional activities while a registered graduate student

International students

Regulations for international students’ on and off-campus work

Conflict of interest

Policies and considerations for graduate students engaging in professional activities outside of MIT