Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need to have a strong polymer background to join PPSM?

No, but a strong interest in the polymer field is important.  As an interdisciplinary program, most of its entering students have a background in much of the underlying foundational material but not necessarily any extensive experience in polymers specifically. The core curriculum is designed to accommodate this diversity of backgrounds, and provides a thorough yet accessible introduction to the field.


Is PPSM its own department?

No. PPSM is an interdepartmental program, so each PPSM student has a home department (the participating department that admitted the student to graduate study at MIT). While all five of the participating departments accept the PPSM graduate core curriculum and doctoral quals in place of the equivalent departmental offerings, each department has a graduate office that sets rules and guidelines for its graduate students, including those who are participating in PPSM. These guidelines include thesis committee composition and frequency of meetings, minor subject requirements, arrangements for co-advising, teaching assistant responsibilities and others.  PPSM students are expected to fulfill the requirements of the home department in every case.  PPSM students end up being well-versed in both their traditional disciplinary field and in polymer science; this is a significant asset in the current interdisciplinary research and development environment.


What are the Testing Requirements for PPSM (GRE, IELTS, etc.)?

Testing Requirements are strictly part of the departmental application process. PPSM only considers candidates who have already successfully gained an offer of admission from one of our five affiliate departments, and therefore does not establish its own requirements for test score submissions or minimum acceptable scores. Visit MIT Graduate Admissions Testing Requirements webpage to download PDF showing each MIT department’s Testing Requirements.


Can I apply to PPSM through more than one PPSM-Affiliated MIT Department?

Yes, however you may be charged an additional application fee for each department you apply to.


Do I send my PPSM Letter of Notification before or after I receive a decision letter from the department to which I’ve applied?

Please send your PPSM Letter of Notification immediately after submitting your online application to your chosen PPSM Affiliated department(s). During the review process, the Letter of Notification enables PPSM to optimize admissions information sharing with PPSM’s five affiliated departments.


Which MIT faculty member can serve as my thesis research advisor?

If agreeable to the home department, any MIT faculty member can serve as a thesis advisor regardless of their affiliation with PPSM. The web pages PPSM Faculty and Faculty Affiliates provide listings of MIT faculty that are actively involved in PPSM and/or polymer research. Co-advising of students across departmental boundaries is encouraged and is common practice for PPSM research. Updates on the availability of research support and on the latest thesis topics being offered are obtained by direct contact with the faculty.


Are PPSM students required to have a PPSM Faculty member on their Thesis Committees?

No–PPSM does not have a fixed policy on the composition of thesis committees. Instead, PPSM students are expected to follow the guidelines of their home departments. Please contact the Academic Administrator for your department with questions about Thesis Committee procedures and regulations.


If you have a question about PPSM that is not answered above, please contact us with your question via our Ask PPSM page.

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