Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Is it possible to request joining a specific lab?
A: Yes, we ask that you do research to find three professors whose labs you might be interested in joining. We can't guarantee which lab you will join, but once you are accepted we will coordinate between you and the professor to help make a connection. If the professor has availability to consider you, then we will set up a phone call for you so you and the professor can agree if it is a good match for both of you.
Q: Where can I find a list of MIT professors?
A: Follow this link to browse global on campus projects and programs in which MIT researchers are working. This link will take you to MIT Centers, Labs and Programs. Click on the one (s) of interest, and then find PEOPLE tab for faculty associated with each Center, Lab and Program.
Q: I don't have to upload the recommendation letter myself, instead the person who will recommend me should send it?
A: Yes, this is new this year. For applications to MIT programs it is typical for the person recommending to send the letter directly to the program. This way we know that they are serious about recommending you. The person sending the recommendation should be someone who can write in detail about your work as a researcher. This is an important aspect of a strong application. The recommender should email the letter of recommendation to IBK@mit.edu with the applicant's name in the subject line.
Q: What are the points that can strengthen an application?
A: This year we’ve updated the application to help make this clearer. The most important parts of the application are
- your two peer reviewed journals (and any additional journal articles you’ve published),
- your research plan for your time at MIT if you’re accepted,
- and the letter of recommendation from an adviser who knows about the research you’ve been working on up until now.
Being able to identify three MIT professors you’d be interested in working with is also important. You can learn about professors who might be a good match by googling different search terms relevant to your research and including “MIT” and/or the name of the department relevant to your research. Follow this link to browse global on campus projects and programs in which MIT researchers are working. This link will take you to MIT Centers, Labs and Programs. Click on the one (s) of interest, and then find PEOPLE tab for faculty associated with each Center, Lab and Program.
Q: Do I need to contact MIT professors whose research is a good match for my research interests?
A: No, we will contact the professors for you after you have been accepted. MIT professors get many emails every day so having us contact them is an advantage.
Q: What if I am interested in one research group, but they don't have availability for an applicant?
A: This is why we ask you to find three different MIT professors who might be a good match for you. If the first professor we talk to doesn’t have availability in their lab, we will go to the next person on the list until we find a good match.
Q: In the application there is a section about public service, could you clarify more?
A: This section is not required, but if you have done some volunteer work or worked for the government and you would like to highlight what you’ve done, we will consider it as part of the application. Since we take the top 5 applicants, anything you add may help you compared to similar applicants.
Q: Can you accept someone who has only one publication?
A: No, we only accept people who have two publications in peer reviewed journals. If you do not meet this criterion, we recommend you try to publish another paper and apply again next year or the year after since we know we have funding for this program until 2028.