Frequently Asked Questions

Co-Directors

Nicolas Hadjiconstantinou
Youssef Marzouk

Contact

Kate Nelson
CDO and CSE Programs
MIT CCE Headquarters
Room 35-434B
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
617.253.3725 | Email
 

CDO PROGRAM

What is the duration of the CDO program?
How many students are admitted to the program each year?
Are there specific prerequisites for the CDO program, such as undergraduate courses or work experience?
Is there a minimum required GPA? What is the average GPA of admitted students?
Is my background/undergraduate major technical enough for me to qualify for CDO?
Is a thesis or any project work required?
Is the CDO interdisciplinary SM program structurally different from other MIT SM programs?
What are the tuition, fees, and other expenses for the academic year?
What, if any, Financial Support is available to incoming CDO students?
What are the job prospects for CDO program graduates?
Is it possible to complete the program through distance learning or on a part-time basis?
Can you evaluate my chances of admission before I apply?
Can I visit CDO?

CDO APPLICATION

What’s the deadline to apply?  If I miss the deadline can I still apply?
What components are required for a complete application?
Will submitting my application early make a difference?
I applied to CDO previously, how do I reapply? Do I still need to submit all my supporting documents?
How long should my personal statement be?  Is there a word count?
What should be included in my personal statement?
What is the “Subjects Taken” section? Why do I need to complete this section, since you will have my transcripts?
I don’t have grades for my fourth undergraduate year, since I am still pursuing my bachelor’s degree. Will this impact my application?
If I am accepted, can I defer admission?

IELTS

What is IELTS?
Do I have to take IELTS?
Do I qualify for a waiver of the IELTS requirement?
I have a TOEFL score, can I submit that instead?
Am I required to have my official test scores sent to MIT by IELTS?  Can I send photocopies of my scores instead?
I can’t take the IELTS until January 2018. Can I still apply to CDO for Fall 2018?
I took the IELTS a few years ago. Can I use my old score to apply to CDO?

GRE

What are the GREs?
Do I have to take the GREs? Can I have a waiver for past work or educational experience?
What are the average GRE scores for admitted students?
Based on my test scores, what is the likelihood of my being admitted?
How do I have my GRE scores sent from ETS to MIT?
Should I take any GRE Subject Tests?
Can I send photocopies of my scores instead of official scores?
I sent my scores to another MIT department via an ETS Department Code.  Do I have to request they be sent again?
I can’t take the GREs until January 2018. Can I still apply to CDO for Fall 2018?

ABOUT THE CDO PROGRAM

What is the duration of the CDO program?
The CDO program is designed so that students who are either self-supported or on fellowship can complete the program in 18-24 months. Students supported by research assistant or teaching assistant funds may take 24 months or longer to complete the program.

How many students are admitted to the program each year?
The number of students admitted depends upon the number of qualified candidates who apply to the program. We typically admit 12-18 students.

Are there specific prerequisites for the CDO program, such as undergraduate courses or work experience?
There are no specific prerequisite courses required for admission. However, we do expect prospective students to have a strong foundation in a core disciplinary area, such as engineering, materials science, physics, or mathematics. The program is very technical, and as such, we expect all applicants to have a firm foundation in and understanding of linear algebra and multivariable calculus.

Is there a minimum required GPA?  What is the average GPA of admitted students?
We don’t have a minimum GPA for admission, nor do we provide the average GPA range of our admitted students. Institutions use different scales, criteria and methods to calculate GPA, making it impossible to define a minimum or accurately provide an average range.

Is my background/undergraduate major technical enough for me to qualify for CDO?
The CDO program is certainly open to many non-traditional backgrounds. Because the program is very technical, we expect all applicants to have a firm foundation in and understanding of linear algebra and multivariable calculus.  If you have a good working knowledge of these areas of mathematics, then we would welcome you to apply to the CDO program.

Is a thesis or any project work required?
Yes, students are required to write a master’s thesis, under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

Is the CDO interdisciplinary S.M. program structurally different from other MIT S.M. programs?
No, the interdisciplinary CDO S.M. (Master of Science) program is no different from any other S.M. program at MIT. We admit students directly into the CDO program, and students are awarded a degree in Computation for Design and Optimization through the MIT School of Engineering.

What are the tuition, fees, and other expenses for the academic year?
The schedule of fees for the 2016-2017, academic year can be found on the MIT Fee Schedule, http://web.mit.edu/registrar/reg/costs. Additional financial information is available on the MIT Financial Aid web site, http://web.mit.edu/sfs/index.html.  

What, if any, Financial Support is available to incoming CDO students?
Most financial support awarded to accepted CDO students is in the form of a Research Assistantship (RA) or Teaching Assistantship (TA).  While we cannot guarantee financial support for each admitted student, we make every effort to match admitted students with CCE faculty who can offer financial support through a sponsored research project.  This matching also takes into account the students’ stated research interests and the faculty member’s area of research.  Please visit the CCE Researchers pages for information about the CCE affiliated faculty and their research interests.  http://computationalengineering.mit.edu/research

For additional information on graduate student finances, visit the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education website:  http://odge.mit.edu/finances.  Here you will find information about a variety of funding opportunities both inside and outside of MIT.

What are the job prospects for CDO program graduates?
Career opportunities for CDO graduates include companies and research centers where systems modeling, numerical simulation, design, and optimization play a critical role.  Applications range from aerospace to nanotechnology, from internet protocols to telecommunications system design.

Is it possible to complete the program through distance learning or on a part-time basis?
No, the CDO program is a full-time, campus-based program, not available through an e-learning or other distance learning method. However, some of the courses listed on the CDO curriculum web page link to the MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) web site, where you will be able to view course materials free of charge. Please note that OpenCourseWare courses are not offered for credit, nor do they include an interactive component with faculty. Rather, they provide, at no cost, the learning materials from many of MIT’s courses.

Can you evaluate my chances of admission before I apply?
No, we don’t offer pre-application screening. We suggestion you review the curriculum and CCE affiliate faculty members’ areas of research to see how your background and professional goals fit.

Can I visit CDO?
Prospective applicants are welcome to visit MIT.  You can arrange a tour of the campus through the MIT Information Center.  The Center for Computational Engineering hosts an open house for admitted CDO SM and CSE PhD students in mid-March each year, giving them a chance to speak with the program co-directors, meet faculty and learn about the student experience.  This event is by invitation only.

(top of page)

CDO APPLICATION PROCESS

What’s the deadline to apply?  If I miss the deadline can I still apply?
The deadline to be considered for September 2018 admission is January 10, 2018.

What components are required for a complete application?
The CDO program only accepts the customized online application; please complete the application as instructed. The application calls for:

  • Three letters of recommendation in PDF format;
  • Transcripts from all colleges / universities attended, uploaded directly to the application in PDF format;
    • Students admitted to the program will be required to supply official transcripts. Discrepancies between unofficial and official transcripts may result in the revocation of the admission offer.
  • Completed 'Subjects Taken' section of the application;
  • Statement of objectives (limit essay to approximately one page);
  • Official GRE General Test score report, sent to MIT by ETS (via instition code 3514);
  • Official IELTS score report sent to MIT by IELTS (international applicants from non-English speaking countries only; see below for more information);
  • Resume or CV, uploaded in PDF format;
  • MIT graduate application fee of $75.

Will submitting my application early make a difference?
No, all applications are reviewed after the deadline and decisions are released mid-February through early-March. Submitting the application earlier than the deadline date will not expedite the admission decision.

I applied to CDO previously, how do I reapply?  Do I need to submit supporting documents?
You’ll need to use the online portal to create a new application, including providing all supporting documents.  Use it as an opportunity to show us how you are a stronger candidate than when you applied last.

How long should my statement of purpose be?  Is there a word count?
There is not a formal page length/word count for the statement of purpose but it should be under two pages.  Be considerate of the reviewers who are reading numerous applications at a time; be less concerned with page length/word count and more concerned with presenting key points in a concise, clear manner.

What should be included in my statement of purpose?
The statement of purpose is your chance to speak directly to the CDO readers.  Be concise and specific; talk about your most significant research experience(s); explain what research areas are most appealing to you and mention MIT faculty working in those areas; articulate your career goals and how the MIT CDO SM will help you achieve them.

 What is the “Subjects Taken” section? Why do I need to complete this section, since you will have my transcripts?
Although your courses are listed on your transcripts, you still need to complete the “Subjects Taken” section. This section refers to a list of the courses you have taken that are most relevant to the CDO master’s degree program. In this section, please be sure to list the names of the courses, as well as the academic year in which you took them, the textbook used, and the grade that you received. We will be able to review the other courses you have taken from your transcripts.

I don’t have grades for my fourth undergraduate year, since I am still pursuing my bachelor’s degree. Will this impact my application? 
We recognize that your fourth-year courses are still in progress. You can simply list the courses and academic year for now, and we can get your grades for these courses at a later date.

If I am accepted, can I defer admission?
Possibly. If you have been admitted to the program and you wish to defer enrollment, the CDO codirectors will review your request and may decide to grant you a deferral for up to one year. After that time period, you would need to re-apply.

(top of page)

IELTS and CONSIDERATION OF WAIVER

What is IELTS? Is there a minimum score required?
IELTS stands for the International English Language Testing System. The IELTS Academic exam measures one’s ability to communicate in English in four major skill areas: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. A minimum IELTS score of 7 is required for admission to the CDO program, beginning with Fall 2010 admission. Applications will not be considered if the IELTS score is 6.5 or below.

Please visit the IELTS website to find test center locations in your country, and to learn about registering for the test, test fees, score reporting, and other important information.

Do I have to take IELTS?
All international applicants whose native language is not English must submit an IELTS examination score unless they meet the criteria for a waiver listed below.

Do I qualify for a waiver of the IELTS requirement?
International applicants may be eligible for a waiver for the IELTS only if one or more of the following are true:

  • English is/was the language of instruction in your four-year undergraduate program, or
  • English is the language of your employer/workplace for at least the last four years, or
  • English was your language of instruction in both primary and secondary schools

I have a TOEFL score, am I eligible for a waiver of the IELTS based on that?
No, the CDO program does not accept the TOEFL.  All international applicants whose native language is not English and who do not meet the waiver requirements listed above must submit an IELTS score of 7 or higher.

Am I required to have my official test scores sent to MIT by IELTS, or should I send photocopies of my scores?
Please do not send hard-copy materials. There is a section on the appliation for you to enter your IELTS test score along with your test report form (TRF) number found on your score sheet.  We can verify your score with this information. 

I cannot take the IELTS until January 2018. Can I still apply to CDO for Fall 2018?
 We need to receive your test scores by mid-January, and we would review your application at that time. However, you must make sure that all of the other components of your application have been submitted by the January deadline in order for us to consider your application.

I took the IELTS a few years ago. Can I use my old score to apply to CDO?
The IELTS exam must be taken within two (2) years of your application to CDO. If you took the IELTS prior to that time, you will need to retake the exam.

(top of page)

GRE

What are the GREs?
'GRE' stands for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a standardized test offered by Educational Testing Services (ETS).

Do I have to take the GREs? Do I qualify for a waiver due to work or educational experience?
 All CDO applicants are required to take the GRE general exam, regardless of professional experiences or previous degrees completed.

Based on my test scores, what is the likelihood of my being admitted?
As a general matter of policy, we do not attempt to estimate the likelihood of a candidate’s admission to the program without looking at the entire application. While your test scores are one important criterion that we use, we also rely on your transcript and grades, letters of recommendation, your essay, and other factors and information that we receive from you. We are therefore not in a position to either encourage or discourage you from applying, based solely on your GRE scores.

How do I have my test scores sent from ETS to MIT?
The MIT Institute Code is 3514. You do not need to provide a Department Code.

Should I take any GRE Subject Tests?
No, CDO does not require any GRE Subject Test scores.

What are the averages of GRE scores for admitted students?
We do not average the GRE scores or keep statistics on this information.

Am I required to send my official test score reports from ETS, or can I send photocopies of my scores instead?
Official test scores sent from ETS are required. Please do not send photocopies of your GRE score report, these will be securely discarded. Once you have requested that ETS send your GRE scores to MIT and they have been downloaded into the MIT Graduate Admissions database, the CDO program will receive your scores. 

I sent my scores to another MIT department via an ETS Department Code.  Do I have to request they be sent again?
As long as you indicated that the scores should be sent to MIT via Institute code 3514, we will be able to retrieve your scores electronically, once they have been downloaded from ETS.

I cannot take the GREs until January 2018. Can I still apply to CDO for Fall 2018?
We need to receive your test scores by the mid-January, and we would review your application at that time. However, you must make sure that all of the other components of your application have been submitted by the January deadline in order for us to consider your application.

(top of page)