MIT Math PhD Acceptance Rate

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a reputation for being selective in admitting students who apply to the program. Its Mathematics Department is especially known for its tough math phd admission process, which only admits the top 2% of applicants

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Is A PhD From MIT Worth It

A PhD usually involves students engaged independently in original and significant research in a specific field or subject prior to the production of a publication-worthy thesis. By undertaking a PhD, you will become an expert, possibly an international expert, in your chosen field. A doctorate is the highest academic degree that can be awarded by a university. In Germany, studying for a doctorate means working intensively on a specific subject or research project over a long period of time. The duration of the doctorate also varies. Three to five years is typical. If you decide to take a doctorate, you can choose between different forms of study.

mit acceptance rate for international students

How Hard Is It To Get Into MIT Math PhD

So, yes, it is unbelievably difficult to go to a top graduate school for mathematics. It would require a near perfect GPA, 6 or more graduate courses, and research (all done at a top undergrad program). If you go to a top undergrad program, move quickly into proof courses.

MIT Math PhD Acceptance Rate


First-year applications33,240
First-year admits1,365
Percentage admitted4.1%

Early Action

Early Action applicants15,081
Early Action admits759
Deferred to Regular Action10,673
Deferred applicants admitted
during Regular Action

Regular Action

Regular Action applicants18,250
Total considered during Regular Action (including deferred students)28,923
Regular Action admits
(including deferred students)
Offered a place on the wait list680

Wait list

Applicants offered a place on the wait list680
Number admitted from the wait list25

U.S. citizens/permanent residents


International students


Middle 50% score range of admitted students (25th and 75th percentiles)

SAT Math[780, 800]
SAT ERW[730, 780]
ACT Math[35, 36]
ACT Reading[34, 36]
ACT English[35, 36]
ACT Science[34, 36]
ACT Composite[34, 36]

mIT math phD application

PhD in Mathematics - Everything You Need To Know

MIT admits students starting in the Fall term of each year only. Admission is to the PhD program only; there is no Masters program. There is no separate application for financial support; all admitted students are offered support.

Submitting GRE scores is entirely optional: We will accept scores if submitted (and are most interested in the Math Subject test result, if any) but it will not hurt your application if not included.

To apply, follow these steps:

  1. Fill out the on-line application by 23:59, EST, December 15.You will be submitting:
    • Field(s) of interest
    • Personal information/addresses
    • International student data
    • Three or more names and e-mail addresses of letter writers
    • Educational and work history, including IELTS/TOEFL scores (preferably from this year), and honors
    • Grades in math/science/engineering courses and overall
    • Statement of objectives
    • Outside financial support and potential outside support
    • Credit/debit card payment of $75
  2. Arrange for submission of (official reports only)
    • Letters of recommendation
    • For international students, IELTS (or TOEFL iBT) We recommend that before November 15 you notify your letter writers that you will be needing evaluations from them, so that they have time to prepare them and submit them by December 15. Once you have submitted your on-line application, instructions to your letter writers will be generated for you. You are responsible for making sure that your letter writers have copies of these instructions.
  3. You self-reported your grades in step 1, but they require an official transcript for all admitted students. If/when they request this, arrange for an official copy of your college transcript to be sent to: Academic Services, Room 2-110
    Dept of Mathematics, MIT
    77 Massachusetts Ave.
    Cambridge MA 02139-4307

International Students

IELTS is the English language proficiency test we prefer, but we also accept the TOEFL iBT. (On the other hand, they generally do not accept the TOEFL PBT.) To have IELTS results reported, indicate “Mathematics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)” on your IELTS test application; no code or address is needed. To have TOEFL iBT results reported, use the codes above (3514 for MIT, and 72 for Mathematics).

If you are an international student, you should take the IELTS (or TOEFL iBT) by December 31. If you will receive an undergraduate degree from an English-language university in an English-speaking country after attending it for at least three years, then the Math Department will waive the English language proficiency test requirement.

mIT admission requirements

Graduate Students | Mathematics

First complete the online portion of the application, including payment of the application fee. Under-represented U.S. minority applicants can apply for an application fee waiver.  Applicants who are currently enrolled in a master’s program in the Illinois Department of Mathematics may use this form instead (to avoid paying another application fee).

They require transcripts from your undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) institutions, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.  (Please see this link for more details from our Graduate College; section 1 details the application requirements, and section 2 details the minimum requirements for admission.)

As part of the online application process  you will be asked to upload a copy of your undergraduate transcript (and also graduate transcript if applicable) showing grades for the most recent semester at the time of application. They typically do not accept students with a grade point average below 3.25 on a 4.00 scale, and GPA is a significant factor in their decision.

Please arrange for three letters of recommendation to be uploaded to their online application system. Letters from professors who have taught you in mathematics classes or who have supervised you in a research project are the most useful. Both the content and the source of the letters can play a significant role in their decision.

Please include a 1-2 page personal statement as part of your online application. They prefer statements that are honest, specific, and brief, and explain why you are applying to their program.

The Department of Mathematics does not require any program specific questions or writing samples.

The GRE general test and mathematics subject test are not required.

Information for International Students

English Requirements for International Applicants

Students with high TOEFL or IELTS scores have a better chance of admission.

1. Minimum Requirement for Admission

All international applicants must satisfy the Graduate College English Proficiency Requirement for Admission. The Mathematics Department requires a minimum TOEFL iBT speak score of 22 (or IELTS 6.5 speaking score) and a minimum TOEFL total of 95 for admission to the PhD program. Some applicants are exempt from the English requirement for admission. Even those students will increase their chance of admission if they submit recent TOEFL or IELTS scores. If you do not have an exemption as listed above and have a TOEFL SPEAK score less than 22, then do not apply.

2. Minimum Requirement for Teaching Assistantship Funding

Teaching assistants must meet a higher standard: proficiency in spoken English, as measured by the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT), the IELTS, the TSE (Test of Spoken English), or the university-administered EPI (English Proficiency Interview). Students who do not satisfy this requirement can still be granted a Teaching Assistantship in Mathematics with duties outside the classroom (e.g. grading) for the first two years, provided they enter with a TOEFL iBT speaking sub-section score of 22 or 23. After two years, continuation of the Teaching Assistantship depends on whether the student has successfully demonstrated proficiency in spoken English.

Declaration of Finances

International students must submit the Declaration and Certification of Finances form before a visa can be issued. They do not need this form in order to decide on your application. If you are later offered admission and accept the offer, then you must submit the form promptly along with the required bank statement, before you can be admitted to the university and get a visa. The bank statement must show resources for the full cost of education and living expenses. If you are offered a teaching assistantship, then a bank statement showing about US$1,700 to cover any additional cost of living will be sufficient. Please note that you are not required to pay this amount, only to show evidence of such finances in a bank account. To repeat: we do not need this documentation now in order to review your application.

how to get into mIT math graduate school

If you plan to pursue graduate study (including Masters programs) in a field other than mathematics, we urge you to consult someone in that field for advice. Some of the general advice given below may be helpful, but it won’t substitute for advice from a professional in your field of interest.

If you’re planning to go to business school, check with Career Advising and Professional Development (E17-294). Many business schools send representatives to campus to interview prospective applicants, to answer questions about their schools, and so on. These interviews are arranged through the Career Advising and Professional Development. Some schools come early in the year, so don’t delay.

Graduate Work in Mathematics

Applying to Graduate School

Juniors: It is best to take the mathematics Graduate Record Exams (GRE) subject test in your junior year. The subject GRE in Mathematics is a paper based exam. It is adminstered locally at Roxbury Community College, Simmons College, and Suffolk University, on dates in September, October, and April. See the GRE website for details and a practice exam booklet.

Seniors: If you plan to study mathematics in graduate school, and if you haven’t yet taken the GRE, sign up immediately to take it in the fall. Start thinking about applications early in the fall. Application deadlines typically fall in December and January.

Strong Mathematics Graduate Programs

Top six: Chicago, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley

Next ten: Brown, Caltech, Columbia, Cornell, Michigan, Minnesota, NYU, UCLA, Wisconsin, Yale.

There has been little movement at the top of the rankings in the past 20 years, but what this means isn’t clear. For contrast, only two of the top six schools listed above are in the top ten in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2005 ranking of “scholarly productivity” of mathematics departments.

As stated above, schools should not be chosen solely on the basis of the rankings. It is very important to speak to someone familiar with your areas of interest.

Number of first majors7384851019710499102988595
Number of second majors5138444645493949475153

Mathematics 8 9131014 61818 61022
CS (including MEng.) 5 914 81310111719 910
Physics 7 1 4 5 8 7 8 3 5
Other**11 5 610 5 7 3 8 4 2 6

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