8.3 Appointment Procedures

This policy was last updated December 18, 2023. See the update history page for more information.

Graduate student appointments are made by department heads through the appointment process. An appointment for the academic year is normally for the period September 1 through May 31; a summer appointment is normally for the period June 1 through August 31. Appointments may be made for shorter periods, however. (See Section 8.3.3 Interruption of Graduate Student Research Appointments.)

8.3.1 Payment

The prevailing scales of compensation for research and teaching assistants are adjusted to make the appointments equally attractive, taking into account the availability of tuition scholarships, the opportunities for thesis research, and other benefits connected with each. Stipends are established each year by individual departments within guidelines formulated by the Academic Council. A department may not assign a stipend (exclusive of tuition and fees) outside of the stipend range established in these guidelines without special approval of the Associate Provost. Requests to deviate from the range must be made in writing and the formal approval must be kept on file in the Associate Provost's Office. Graduate student appointees should recognize that their stipends are not intended necessarily to cover the full cost of living.

During the period of their appointment, a graduate student appointed as a full-time research assistant, teaching assistant, or instructor-G may not engage in additional employment for which they receive compensation from MIT-controlled sources of payments. Excluded from this limitation are positions in the Institute housing system such as resident tutors. Exceptions to these limitations may be made upon the approval of the Vice Chancellor.

Departments may provide additional stipend support to supplement those stipends that are received by holders of fellowships from outside sponsors. Such additional support must be provided in conformance with the policies of the sponsoring organizations. The supplements may be in the form of fellowships or in the form of compensation for part-time duties. In establishing levels of supplementation of stipends, departments should follow those guidelines that apply to compensation for full-time graduate student appointments.

8.3.2 Vacation

Instructor-g and assistantship appointees observe normal Institute holidays and are entitled to two weeks of vacation with pay if their appointments are for the full calendar year. Their vacation schedule must be approved by their supervisors.

8.3.3 Interruption of Graduate Student Research Appointments

A graduate student may not interrupt their academic program to accept employment on the campus or at Lincoln or Draper Laboratory, either during the academic year or during the summer, without the approval of the department head and the appropriate academic dean and unless the work as an employee is unrelated to the student's thesis research. A signed thesis release form must be submitted to the appropriate human resources officer in support of such appointment.