Exchange, Special, & Visiting Students

MIT has several different student statuses.

Regular graduate students are enrolled in a degree-granting program and must meet a specific set of requirements in order to graduate. Non-degree students may be divided into several different student statuses based on the nature of their study or visit to MIT. These statuses are broken down below.

Exchange Students

An exchange student enrolls at MIT to take classes as a non-degree student. Exchange students are affiliated with a university in which MIT has an established agreement, and both universities exchange students with mutual reciprocity. Exchange agreements are very selective; as such, there are very few of these arrangements.

MIT participates in the Exchange Scholar Program, which enables current graduate students to enroll at participating institutions for a set duration. For a list of member institutions and the further details, please visit Exchange Scholar Program.

For additional information about departmental exchange programs, please visit MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI).

Special Students

A special student is a non-degree student who is admitted to take classes at MIT. Graduate special students are individuals who have already obtained a bachelor degree and who apply through the Advanced Study Program.

Special student status does not lead to the completion of a degree and does not further the student’s chances of gaining admission to MIT in the future.

Visiting Students

A visiting student is a non-degree student who is approved to conduct research on campus for a set duration. Visiting students are not allowed to take classes.

There is no central application to apply as a visiting student; instead, individual faculty members must invite visiting students to their lab to engage in research. The best way to find out about current research is to visit a department’s research website. If there is a specific area of research or interest, applicants may consider contacting the affiliated department, laboratory, or faculty member to learn about available opportunities.

To see MIT’s current research areas, please see the list on the MIT website. See also Visiting student in Graduate Policies and Procedures.