5.5 Visiting Students

This policy was last updated November 23, 2021. See the update history page for more information.

Students who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution of higher education other than MIT and have been invited by an MIT department or laboratory/center to do research in their fields of study may apply for visiting student status. Current MIT regular or special students, or MIT students who have withdrawn or are on a leave of absence, cannot apply for visiting student status. All visits must be approved by the cognizant School or College dean. The International Students Office (ISO) processes all approved student visits, manages the process for individuals who require visa sponsorship, and can be consulted for more information.

Registration: Visiting students will be registered in Course NIV (Non-Institute Visitors) and will be registered for a research subject NIV.RSCH, which is a variable unit subject. This subject will carry 40 units of credit in the regular term and 25 units in the summer term. The amount of credit will be prorated for students who are present for less than the entire term. Credit for this subject may not be applied toward any academic degree that the student may seek from MIT at a later date. The grade VIS will be awarded on completion of the subject. Visiting students are not allowed to take courses for academic credit.  No student can be a visiting student and a special student at the same time. Regular students and special students are not allowed to change to visiting student status.

Duration of Stay: Visiting students will be admitted for the period of time specified in the initial invitation letter. However, as with all other students, they have to register each semester. A visiting student who wishes to continue beyond the period initially agreed upon has to submit a letter of approval from the home institution and a letter from the host department or laboratory/center requesting the extension to the International Students Office.

Medical Service and Hospitalization Insurance: All visiting students are required to purchase the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan (MIT SEIP). This plan meets federal requirements for international students (J-1 requirements) and state requirements for students in Massachusetts (whether international or US residents).

Employment: A visiting student may receive compensation for work done for the host research group. Visiting students are not allowed to have any other form of on-campus employment. International visiting students are not allowed to have any other employment, on-campus or off-campus, under federal regulations.

Housing: Visiting students are not entitled to on-campus housing and, in most cases, should plan to find accommodations off campus. However, they may apply for any vacancies that exist in the dormitories after the needs of regular students have been met.