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 enable 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 Global Education and Career Development.

Special Students

A special student is a non-degree student who is admitted to take classes at MIT. This status does not lead to the completion of a degree, and does not further the student’s chances of gaining admission in the future. Applicants must apply through one of two dedicated channels in order to be considered.

Undergraduate special students are individuals who have not yet obtained a bachelor degree and who apply through the Undergraduate Special Student Program.

Graduate special students are individuals who have already obtained a bachelor degree and who apply through the Advanced Study Program.

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. For a list of current research areas, please visit web.mit.edu/research.