HASTS at MIT admits a small number of highly qualified doctoral candidates each year. Applicants come from diverse academic backgrounds—engineering, history, physics, anthropology, law, and more—but they share a core interest in science and technology in their historical or social dimension.

This page will help you navigate the application process. If you have questions that are not answered here or on the application itself, please contact

The application for September 2024 admission is now closed. The application deadline was December 10, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST.

Admissions Overview+-


HASTS selects a small number of qualified students for doctoral study whose research can be supported by HASTS faculty and who can bring a unique perspective to the program. For example, in Fall 2022, five new students entered the program, admitted from a pool of 287 applicants. Students in the HASTS program come from a wide range of academic disciplines and professional spheres.

Applicants often ask if their research is a good fit for our program; they should also consider if our program is the right fit for their research. We offer training in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the sociocultural dimensions of science and technology. Our students do methodologically rigorous social scientific research employing archival and/or ethnographic methods.

Reading student and faculty bio pages may help to determine whether this program is right for you. You can also visit the Program section to learn more about the course and project work associated with the HASTS degree.

Faculty Mentorship

Our program does not admit students to study under the mentorship of a particular faculty member. We admit students to the program as a whole, and students have until the end of their first year to select an advisor. During the first year, the program’s Director of Graduate Studies serves as each student’s advisor. We look for students whose interests intersect with the research of multiple faculty members, so most students find that they have a multiplicity of possible primary advisors. For this reason, it is a good idea to identify at least a couple of faculty with whom you would like to work in your Statement of Objectives. More about advising and the importance of faculty committees in mentorship can be found in the Requirements section.

Career Outcomes

HASTS at MIT is exceptionally successful at preparing scholars for academic positions; the majority of our alumni are helping to shape the field as professors, department heads, and mentors within diverse social sciences departments at renowned universities. However, the skills and mindset—and especially the approach to critical analysis—that scholars gain at HASTS is applicable across a wide range of fields and industries.

Academic Experience+-

The only academic credential that HASTS applicants are required to have is an undergraduate degree. The common thread among successful applicants is a long-term interest in science and technology and their historical and social dimensions. Applicants should use their Statement of Objectives to demonstrate their interest in these areas and their readiness to undertake doctoral-level education to the admissions committee. The admissions committee will review all aspects of your experience and application when making an admissions decision.

Students in the HASTS program come from a wide range of academic disciplines and professional spheres:
• Some admitted students have master’s degrees; others do not
• Some have a number of years of work experience; others come straight from another degree program
• Some have degrees in humanities and social sciences; others have degrees in engineering and science fields

Visit the Projects section of the website to learn more about our students and the type of research they perform to help determine if the program aligns with your interests.

HASTS is not accepting GRE scores as part of our admissions application for the foreseeable future.

Language Requirements+-

Applicants with a first language other than English are required to provide official IELTS or TOEFL  exam results taken within the last two years as part of their application. The exam must be taken by the HASTS application deadline (December 10) and meet the minimum score requirement or the application will not be reviewed.

A minimum score of 7 is required for the IELTS. For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 90 (internet-based) or 577 (paper-based) is required for visa certification. When sending official TOEFL scores, use MIT’s institutional code: 3514. When sending official IELTS scores, select: “Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Graduate Admissions“. Official test scores must be sent directly from the IELTS or ETS in order for an application to be considered, and IELTS and ETS will not send scores two years after the testing date, so plan accordingly. Self-reported scores can serve as a placeholder until official scores are received.

Waivers for the language requirement are granted in these limited cases and must be requested by the applicant and are subject to HASTS approval: (1) For applicants who received instruction in English throughout all of their primary and secondary schooling, (2) For applicants who will have spent four or more years studying in an accredited college or university where English is the language of instruction. A master’s degree alone is not accepted as proof of English proficiency. To request a waiver, email before the application deadline.

Letters of Recommendation+-

You must have three letters of recommendation submitted on your behalf. An ideal recommender is someone who knows you well and can speak to your ability to succeed in a PhD program. It is recommended that at least two letters come from people who are familiar with your academic work and/or future research interests. Your application must have exactly three letters to be considered by the admissions committee; the program does not accept more than three letters in an application.

To submit your 3 letters of recommendation, please follow the below instructions:

In the online application, in the section titled “Recommendations”, please click on the blue “Add reference” link.  A new window will open and you will be prompted to fill out the fields with information about your recommender.

Use your recommender’s institutional or corporate email address. Submissions from anonymous email addresses (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) may be subject to additional review. You can also include a personal message to your recommender here.

Once you submit this information, the recommender will receive and email with the subject line “Submit your MIT Graduate letter of recommendation for YOUR NAME” from

They should use the link in the email to submit their letter. Once they submit the recommendation, they will not be able to edit it.

If they have any difficulties submitting their letter, they can reach out to


Academic Transcripts+-

You will need to supply transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended as part of the application. Upload a PDF of your transcript from each school you attended as part of the online application in the “Academic History” section. When entering the school/institution information, there is an upload button at the bottom of the box, along with instructions. Applicants who are invited to interview will be required to provide official, sealed transcripts from each school attended, or official electronic transcripts sent straight from the school’s registrar’s office.

Applicants who have just started a degree program in September or October and will not have a transcript to provide by December 10 can upload a PDF of the classes in which they are currently enrolled. Applicants who participated in a study abroad/academic exchange do not need to provide a transcript from the host institution if the courses appear on their home institution’s transcript.

Statement of Objectives+-

Your Statement of Objectives is a very important part of the application. This is an opportunity to both share the scholarly question(s) you are interested in studying and demonstrate why HASTS is the right place to pursue those studies. What questions captivate you? Why are you drawn to them, and how will you investigate them? Why is the HASTS program the right place to do this work? Your statement should be no more than 1350 words long.

Writing Sample+-

The application requires a Writing Sample. There are no parameters for the writing sample in terms of content, but its length should not exceed that of an article or chapter. When selecting a sample, keep in mind that admissions committee members will look at writing samples in order to evaluate applicants’ readiness to embark on graduate study. If you do not have a piece of current academic work to present, consider revisiting and revising an older research paper for submission. Most applicants submit individually authored pieces of academic writing approximately 20–25 pages in length.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)+-

Please use your resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV) to share any key experiences that are relevant to the degree for which you are applying such as such as employment, research positions/experiences, volunteer positions, leadership, extracurricular activities, honors, awards, and/or publications, etc.

Application Fee+-

The cost to apply is $75. If you would like to apply for a fee waiver, please see the Office of Graduate Education Application Fee Waiver page. Make sure to apply for a fee waiver at least two weeks in advance of our application deadline to allow for processing time.


Interviews are not held before applications are submitted. The admissions committee will choose top applicants to be interviewed and they will be contacted about an admission interview in February. There is always an option to interview remotely. Interviewed applicants will also have the opportunity to learn more about the program from the Director of Graduate Studies, the Academic Administrator, and current students around the time of the interviews.

Begin your online application here.