Welcome to GAME and the MechE department at MIT! GAME is the Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers, the student organization for the MechE graduate department, and we put on lots of events throughout the year to help grad students have the best possible graduate experience. GAME is hosting several events throughout orientation to welcome our incoming grad students and help you get adjusted to the department, MIT, and the city!
The MIT Graduate Student Council (GSC) hosts lots of orientation events for all incoming graduate students. The full calendar of GSC orientation events can be found on the 2021 GSC orientation website.
In addition, there is a full roster of GAME orientation events for incoming MechE students to get to know each each other, check your email for information and an event schedule from your orientation chair!
Helpful Information for Incoming Students:
How do I register for classes?
As an incoming student, you don’t have to preregister (in following semesters you will), so you’ll pick all your classes on registration day, and just sign up for them through online registration. We’ll go into more detail on this process at the GAME Welcome Lunch. Your advisor will then have to go and approve them, and then you’ll finalize your selections by submitting.
How do I know what classes to take?
Typically, most grad students with a research assistantship take 2 classes (12 credits each) and then 24 credits of research in their first few semesters. This may vary if you have a teaching assistantship or a fellowship. You should go through the course catalog and look at classes that are related to your research areas. Once you meet with your advisor, they’ll probably give you some suggestions about what to take, but it’s good to have an idea of what you think might be good to take beforehand. Talking to other grad students in your lab is another good way to figure out what classes are going to be the most relevant for your research.
How do I find an advisor if I haven’t yet?
First of all, don’t worry if you don’t have an advisor yet. If you are still talking to professors and deciding, you’re in a good place, and have plenty of company. If you’re worried about finding a professor or getting funding, reach out to the MechE graduate office, and they can help you. Make sure you keep reaching out to professors, many are still finding out about funding during the summer, so they might have a new opening to hire a grad student that they didn’t know about in May! If you have external funding, it’s OK to wait a semester before securing a research advisor, but definitely make sure you’re in contact with potential advisors throughout your first semester, you don’t want to wait too long. If you don’t have a research advisor by the start of the fall semester, you’ll be assigned a temporary advisor who will help you register for your fall classes.
HELP - I can’t figure out how to X!
The best resources to help you get settled into your new MIT experience are the other grad students around you, your advisor, and the MechE Grad Office! Leslie, Una, and Amy keep the department running, and can help solve any question you bring to them.
MEGAWomen is the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association of Women, which is a group for all the graduate student and postdoc women in the department. They host events throughout the year to help foster a sense of community among the women in the department.
MakerWorkshop is a student-run machine shop, open to all students in the MechE department. It’s located at 35-122, right next to the ME machine shop, and is open in the afternoons and evenings (after the ME machine shop has closed). Check out the MakerWorkshop website for up-to-date shop information, and come to a Maker Monday to get access to the shop for classwork, research and personal projects.
The MechE Communication Lab, staffed by MechE grad students and postdocs (“Comm Fellows”), is a peer-coaching resource to help you with all of your technical communication needs. Working on a grant application? A paper? A presentation or poster? Then check out our online resources (the “CommKit”), and make an appointment with a fellow today! We support students and staff in the department at all stages of communication, from brainstorming and getting organized, to edits the day before something is due. Fellows are trained in communication best-practices, and coach clients using strategic questions that help you learn to improve your communication skills. Best of all, fellows all come from within our department, so they are familiar with the situations and audiences that you’re preparing for. Check out our materials and sign up for an appointment today through our website above!
REFS is a peer mediation program offering support to ME students for any reason, such as stress about classes, family issues, roommate problems, or issues with your advisor. If you need someone to talk to, ME REFS is there for you.
The MechE Alliance is a program that connects current MechE students to MechE alumni, to build connections that could help you get an internship or job, and help alumni stay connected to the department.
WebSIS is the web-based student information system for MIT students. There are several tasks on WebSIS for you to complete as soon as possible, including filling your biographic and emergency records and managing your student account.
Don’t forget to submit these! The submission deadline for the fall term has passed, so if you haven’t turned these in, make sure to do so as soon as possible. MIT requires all students to fill these out to prove they have proper immunizations.
All new international students are required to check in with the ISO located in E18-219, upon arrival at MIT and sign up for an Immigration Information Session. The ISO will give you clearance to obtain an MIT ID card, use MIT facilities and register for classes.
Once you get to campus, you’ll need to go get an ID card from the Atlas service center, E17-106. Pro tip—try the coffee machine while you’re there, it’s delicious. Make sure you know your Student ID number, and bring a government issued ID with you.
Students funded by RAs and TAs will need to fill out I-9s. You should receive information about this via email, and this should be filled out online, and then completed at the Atlas service center. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to reach out to the MechE grad office, they’re here to help!
All incoming students, except MIT undergraduates, are required to send or bring with them an original copy of their final transcripts with all grades posted through Spring 2019 to the following address:
MechE Grad Office, 1-112, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
The MechE Department requires all incoming graduate students to take the Institute’s online Graduate Writing Examination (GWE). Depending on the results, you will either (a) pass the exam, (b) be required to take a relatively short, but intensive workshop in during the Independent Activities Period in January, or (c) be required to take a course in writing. Try your best to pass this exam if you don’t want to take the workshop in January!
MIT requires that all graduate students for whom English has not been the language of instruction in both elementary and secondary school take an English Evaluation Test. This year the test will be given on Tuesday, August 27, 2019, 9AM-12PM in 10-250. Bring several #2 pencils and a pen with you and make sure you arrive there between 8:30 and 8:50AM. You will receive a scheduled time for a brief oral interview at the exam. Do not worry about this test. If you don’t perform well, you will only be recommended to take some English classes — which will be truly helpful for you!
If you are working for a lab that is dealing with chemicals, you will need to take some trainings offered by the MIT Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Office. Contact the EHS Rep in your lab for more information. Once you get situated in the lab and get added to your PI’s EHS list, you can find your training needs on the the Atlas Learning Center.
This is a guide put together by the department with a lot of useful academic information and degree requirements.
You can deposit money to your MIT student ID card (which you can use for laundry and cafes on campus) by clicking 'Quick deposit' at this link.
You can set up direct deposit of your monthly salary through your Atlas account. Click financial record, then managing your account. If you have any issues, you can ask firstname.lastname@example.org (student financial services) for help.
News and info for different groups and clubs at MIT is often disseminated through email lists. You can manage your email list and subscribe to other MIT listserves through this system.
The MIT libraries has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with Harvard College Library (HCL) for MIT community members. You can apply online for an HCL ID card, and then once you have the HCL ID, you will get access to the Harvard libraries and the M2 shuttle!
If you need a government ID, but you don't want to carry your passport around, and you do not have a driver’s license, you can always apply for a Mass ID.
The City (without a car)
If you’re living in the graduate dorms, the closest grocery stores are Trader Joes and Whole Foods off Memorial Drive, and Target, H-Mart and Whole Foods in Central Square. A farther walk will take you to Star Market (wide variety) in East Cambridge or Market Basket (low prices and high quality) in Somerville.
If you need to get some new clothes with great deal but don’t feel like driving an hour to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, check out Assembly Row in Somerville, which you can get to by bus. Other options and retail stores can be found in the Prudential Center/Copley Place, Newbury Street, Downtown Crossing, and the Seaport Boulevart.
Cambridge is a very bikable city. If you think you might want to get a bike to get around (such as going to the grocery store, getting to campus, etc) one good option is to get a bike at the MIT Police Bike Auction. This will happen in September or early October, so keep an ear out for info about it. Info will also be posted on the MIT facilities website closer to when it gets scheduled. It’s an easy way to get a good, cheap bicycle.
You can get to awesome hiking using the T! Take the Orange line all the way to Oak Grove, and you can walk to the edge of the Middlesex Fells reservation from there. There’s plenty of awesome hiking to do in Middlesex Falls, and it makes for a great daytrip—pack a picnic lunch and you’re ready to go!
If you know how to swim, then MIT will let you take out a sailboat at the MIT Sailing Pavilion. They offer classes throughout the summer and fall, but these book up fast so sign up as soon as they open! With a little practice, you can upgrade your rating to be able to take out a wider range of boats in a wider range of wind/wave conditions! The best part (besides the sun and water), is that it’s FREE!! For more details about getting access, and what else the Sailing Pavilion has to offer, check out the Sailing Pavilion website.