To safeguard the health and well-being of our entire community, let’s approach the challenges of this academic year together. All members of the MIT community who come to campus must follow the guidance and processes outlined in Health & Testing and Campus Access.


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Overview

Many current graduate students resumed their research work on campus in June, following rigorous public health rules and protocols.

For new and returning students in the fall, the same rules will apply. In terms of academics, graduate students can expect a combination of online and in-person instruction. You should also take note of changes to the academic calendar and keep up to date about campus access and research protocols. 

Because graduate programs vary so much in their length, nature, and need for campus facilities, fall plans will also differ sharply by program. Graduate students can expect to hear directly from their department or program about plans for the fall 2020 term.

Student life

Living on campus this fall will be marked by new living arrangements, policies, and procedures, as well as new responsibilities for managing risks associated with Covid-19 in residence halls and shared spaces. Whether you’re on campus or elsewhere, returning to campus will require everyone to do their part by:

  • Wearing a face covering when you’re outside your living space.
  • Washing your hands regularly.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Keeping six feet apart from others, both indoors and out, and encouraging friends to do the same.

The MIT experience is built on cooperation, teamwork, and mutual respect and support – values that can also help us contain the spread of the virus and make our new campus experience feel as much like MIT as possible.

These FAQ capture many of the questions we have heard from graduate students about campus life this fall.

While most undergraduates and many graduate students will be working remotely due to Covid‑19, MIT support offices focused on student health and wellbeing, diversity, equity, and inclusion, finances, and academics continue to support students virtually. If you need help or support now or in the days ahead, remember that many support resources are available. Some informal supports that are available to you at any time are listed in the Campus Guide.

Due to Covid-19, the Office of Graduate Education is open via remote access only from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, until further notice. Updates about access and changes to hours will be posted weekly. For assistance, contact us at 617-253-4860, grad-ed@mit.edu (general), or GradSupport@mit.edu (GradSupport), or review information about common questions and concerns online:

To clarify your role in keeping the virus at bay, MIT published updated student policies. MIT will continue to adjust policies and implement additional measures as necessary, and will post updates on this site. These policies were shaped by MIT Medical and the Institute’s Emergency Management Team, and reviewed by undergraduate and graduate heads of house, the Graduate Student Council, and other campus partners. Read more about the student policies in the Campus Guide.

If you are living on campus and have concerns about the behaviors of other students relative to Covid-19 health risks, please fill out a Covid-19 public health concern report. If you have concerns about the behaviors of non-student community members relative to Covid-19 and health risks, please use our anonymous reporting hotline.

Students may use shared common spaces so long as the group complies with occupancy limits, engages in physical distancing, wears face coverings, and cleans the space before and after use according to the posted community cleaning standards. Details on use of common spaces are available in the Campus Guide.

Anyone authorized to be in MIT housing (e.g., students, faculty, and staff) must follow all Institute policies and instructions related to campus and building access, including requirements for testing and daily attestations, to maintain access to their residence hall and other on-campus facilities. Consult the Campus Access page for detailed policies. The Campus Guide has more details about your ID and residence hall access.

Events and parties are not permitted on or off MIT’s campus. There are, however, other ways to engage in social connections with friends. For example:

  • Residential graduate students may have one in-house visitor at this time; however, if graduate residence halls are interested in forming a pod program, DSL is willing to begin this conversation in collaboration with residents and house teams.
  • Off-campus students may maintain a small group of friends. A small circle of close friends who socialize only with each other and who limit their interactions outside of the group is generally safer than interacting with a broader group of people. See MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society’s analysis of pods for more information.

Read the complete Events and Parties Policy on the Covid Policies page.

Yes, with some caveats. Students living in a residence hall may use designated indoor and outdoor common areas once plans that meet Institute guidance for the community’s spaces are in place. You may have one friend who also lives in your house visit your private room. If you live with other people (e.g., in a suite), please discuss this with your suitemates before your visitor arrives and be mindful of their situation and concerns. Students in quarantine are not permitted visitors at any time. For residence hall courtyards, roof decks, and other outdoor spaces, posted occupancy limits must be observed (50 people max), where groups of up to 10 may socialize together. If following physical distancing requirements – keeping at least six feet of separation from others – face coverings may be removed when outdoors. Contact your house team if you have questions about indoor and outdoor space in your residence hall.

On-campus residents may also reserve several spaces on West campus: the Student Center Garden (between the Student Center and DuPont Gym), barbecue pits near Kresge Auditorium, and an area near the DuPont Tennis Courts (see the Campus Activities Complex page to make reservations). Lastly, on-campus residents and faculty, staff, and students with a valid Covid Pass may use designated spaces in outdoor common areas (e.g., Killian Court, Hockfield Court) marked by fencing or circles painted on the ground. Spaces will have a posted occupancy limit (max 50, groups of up to 10 people). Read more details on indoor and outdoor space usage on the Covid Policies page.

Yes, make sure to have your MIT ID with you whenever you leave your room. IDs will be needed to access campus buildings, including your residence hall. The same applies to family members who have been issued IDs. Learn more about your ID and campus access in the Campus Guide.

Yes, there are a number of in-house faculty and staff who are here to help every step of the way. All residence halls have a live-in house team and student government that cultivate community among their residents.

All students who arrive on campus are required to be tested at MIT Medical upon arrival. See the Covid Apps site for the latest information on testing times. If you arrive outside of testing hours, you should go directly to your assigned building and complete testing as soon as possible the next day. Your key will not be issued until Covid-19 testing at MIT Medical is complete.

After arriving on campus, you are expected to get a Covid-19 test at MIT Medical, self-quarantine for seven days, and test again until you receive a negative result. Complete details about move-in, testing, and the new Massachusetts Traveler Form are available in the Campus Guide.

Daytime and overnight visitors from other residence halls or outside the MIT campus are not permitted in graduate residence halls at any time, with limited exceptions. Details about requesting exceptions for family members helping with move-in or move-out or for childcare and healthcare workers are available in the Campus Guide.

Yes, laundry rooms will remain available to residents. Please follow all posted regulations, including practicing physical distancing and wearing a face covering. You may use the Washlava app (available for iOS and Android) to reserve machines and monitor laundry cycles. Learn more about how Washlava works.

For detailed guidance on how to best clean your clothing and personal spaces, visit the CDC website.

MIT requires the use of face coverings while on campus anytime you are in common areas and public spaces, or are around other people. Face coverings will be provided to students upon residence hall check-in and are available from MIT Police in Lobby 7 (MIT ID required). Details about face coverings and hygiene are available in the Campus Guide and on the Campus Operations page.

All community members living in residence halls should practice enhanced personal hygiene habits and physical distancing at all times.

Housing & Residential Services is cleaning on-campus residence halls with increased frequency, utilizing cleaning standards established by the CDC and MIT, and concentrating on public areas with high foot traffic and high-touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at residence hall entrances. Learn more about cleaning and hygiene in the Campus Guide.

Graduate students may purchase a block meal plan to be used at any time – breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brunch. The plan costs $360 for 30 meals, and more than one block of 30 meals may be purchased for the fall.

Dining service will be a combination of take-out and sit-down, depending on availability of seating in the Student Center’s Lobdell Dining Hall and some common spaces. All students in dining facilities will be required to maintain proper physical distancing and wear face coverings except while eating at a table.

TechMart, MIT’s at-cost grocery, will relocate to the Student Center in August. At this time, Dunkin’ and the Cambridge Grill are the only retail eateries expected to reopen in the building. The retail eatery Pacific Street Cafe is also expected to reopen. Dining facilities and retail eateries are available only to community members granted access to specific campus buildings.

In order to provide the safest experience possible, DAPER is following federal, state, local, and MIT Medical health and safety guidelines. Only students with access to campus and in the Covid Pass system will be able to access DAPER facilities. The following facilities will be open this fall:

  • Zesiger Center
  • Johnson Athletic Center
  • Alumni Pool/Wang Fitness Center
  • DuPont Tennis Courts
  • J.B. Carr Tennis Bubble
  • Steinbrenner Stadium
  • Jack Barry Field
  • Sailing Pavilion
  • Sherie and Don (1961) Morrison Track
  • DuPont Gym

The hours of operation are subject to change. Visit the MIT Recreation website for the most up-to-date information, including guidelines for visiting the facilities.

Virtual fitness classes will remain free for all members of the MIT community. To register, visit the MIT Group Exercise webpage and select the class you wish to attend. If you are not on campus, you can also visit this webage to learn more about how you can register as a guest.

Note: Registration for a class can only take place within 48 hours of that class’s start time. In-person classes are limited to a maximum of 11 participants, and all participants must pre-register to attend.

Club sports and intramurals will be available in the fall semester only to MIT students (both undergraduate and graduate) who are invited back to campus. All related travel and competition has been canceled for the fall semester. Visit the Club Sports and Intramurals websites for updated information.

No, but the Campus Activities Complex, in consultation with student leaders from the Association of Student Activities, the Graduate Student Council, and the Undergraduate Association, are working on an approach that will enable student groups to function in ways that follow public health guidelines and MIT policies including the option to gather outdoors. More information about student groups and activities is available in the Campus Guide.

Student groups may be able to request access to their offices and storage to get specific items needed for their operations. However, the spaces may not be used for meetings or events.

The process for requesting access to student group offices and storage will be managed through the Engage system.

No. Research suggests that the risk of spreading the virus may be elevated when people sing, speak loudly, or engage in close-contact physical activity like dancing. As a result, no music, dance, or theatrical performances will be allowed on campus.

Yes. If you would like to speak with a chaplain, email askachaplain@mit.edu and include brief information about the support you are seeking from the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life (ORSEL). An ORSEL staff member will connect you with a chaplain as soon as possible.

No. The MIT Chapel, Religious Life Center (W11), and Walker Memorial quiet space will not be available to use for personal prayer and reflection this fall. We encourage students to pack and bring what they need to conduct religious practices in their rooms. If you need any assistance, do not hesitate to contact us at askachaplain@mit.edu.

In the midst of Covid-19, the Office of Multicultural Programs is working hard to create a virtual presence that allows students to find community, learn about available resources, discuss hot topics, and interact with your peers.

Visit LBGTQ+ Services and the Office of Multicultural Programs (OMP) for more information on virtual events and offerings.

Academics

Below, by topic, we provide answers for many of your more specific questions.

Registration Day for fall 2020 will take place on Monday, August 31, with classes for all students starting Tuesday, September 1. The semester will consist of fourteen calendar weeks, plus a four-day reading period:

  • The first week of classes (September 1-7), will be delivered remotely to enable returning students to test for Covid-19 and to quarantine.
  • Selected in-person classes will be conducted on campus beginning Tuesday, September 8.
  • Thanksgiving break will begin on Saturday, November 21, and will continue through Sunday, November 29. Undergraduates living on campus will be expected to depart for the remainder of the semester the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • Classes will resume remotely for all graduate and undergraduate students on Monday, November 30, and continue through the last day of classes on Wednesday, December 9.
  • Final exams will follow a four-day reading period. All exams will be remote and will take place December 14-18.

See the academic calendar for additional details.

Our current plan is for IAP 2021 to be remote, though there may be some variations by program.

The full schedule of courses, including an indication of those that will be taught online and those with in-person elements, is available on the MIT Subject Listing & Schedule website.

Pre-registration for all continuing students opened on Monday, July 20. The deadline to complete pre-registration is Friday, August 14. The deadline for continuing students to select preferences for fall CI-H/CI-HW subjects was Friday, July 31.

To help new graduate students acclimate to life on campus, the Graduate Student Council is organizing social, academic, and informational events for graduate student orientation.

Students should talk to the instructional team and/or the department graduate academic administrator to request appropriate academic accommodations.

MIT will loan Wi-Fi hotspots and computing equipment, including laptops, to those who need them. Technical support is available to all 24/7 by phone or email.

Additionally, to support collaboration and small group problem solving that can be critical to many aspects of student learning and community building, MIT will loan a cellular-enabled Apple iPad and Apple Pencil to any undergraduate student or graduate TA who does not already have one or who wishes to upgrade their own equipment.

Faculty and instructors are committed to ensuring that they are accessible at multiple time frames, and students will be able to access course content asynchronously.

The Teach Remote website provides resources, tools, and support. The Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) is also offering periodic workshops.

Student Support Services and GradSupport has virtualized academic support resources for all students, whether they live on or off campus. These online resources will remain available throughout the academic year.

Whether your concern is of an academic or personal nature, GradSupport in the Office of Graduate Education can provide advice and counsel on a wide variety of issues, including faculty/student relationships, changing your advisor, conflict negotiation, funding, academic progress, interpersonal concerns, and graduate policies. In addition, MIT GAIN (Graduate Assistance and Information Network) is available as a benefit to all graduate students, providing free, 24/7 life-management resources and referrals.

Graduate students currently involved in research, or those who expect to engage in research, should refer to the Researchers section, which outlines MIT’s staged plan to resume research activity. While we are all excited at the prospect of an increased level of research activity on campus in the near term, we must act deliberately and cautiously to keep our colleagues safe and ensure a smooth transition to a new set of conditions in our laboratories and facilities. Everyone needs to do their part to make the ramp-up of on-campus research work effectively and to reduce the chances of having to scale back again.

All MIT-related graduate student travel is suspended until further notice. This includes both domestic and international travel. Exceptions may be made for essential domestic and international travel. See the MIT travel policy for full details.

The International Students Office (ISO) and the International Scholars Office have up-to-date information concerning travel restrictions and visas. The ISO will work with each student eligible to enter the U.S. to coordinate the necessary visa documentation for arrival to campus, regardless of delayed arrival for the start of the semester or if arrival to campus is in the spring 2021 semester. International students with questions should consult ISO updates for additional guidance or contact their ISO advisor.

Additional resources