Research assistantships (RAs) are designed to support students engaged in research activities under the supervision of a faculty member.
The research supervisor may be an MIT, HMS, or Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) faculty member. Students may work at MIT, HMS, GSAS, or in one of the Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals. Only students in good academic standing are eligible for RA appointments.
HST MD students should note the program-specific procedures listed here.
Students seeking research assistantships should identify a faculty member, institution or lab whose research aligns with their interests. Students can approach a faculty member or principal investigator directly to inquire about research and funding opportunities. Resources are available at here.
Opportunities are posted in TWiHST, HST's weekly community newsletter.
Applications for RA appointments must be completed in full and submitted to Laurie Ward E25-518, MIT by the deadline specified for each term.
Costs vary depending on the status of the student supported by the RA and the amount of time devoted to research. Questions regarding RA costs should be directed to Laurie Ward (laurie [at] mit.edu, 617-253-3609) in the HST Academic Office.
Download rates, in PDF format:
HST requires direct payment or a guarantee of payment receipt before we will process an off-campus RA appointment. Students with off-campus RAs are advised to initiate the process 1-3 months in advance of the term if they wish to receive their monthly stipend on time.
Billing information is provided on the funding form by the PI or his/her designated billing contact. Students are responsible for confirming that the Billing Contact information is provided, accurate, and legible.
The three options for payment are:
1. Purchase Order number (PO#)
Institutions may provide a PO# to guarantee payment directly on form. HST sends a direct invoice including the PO#, payment is expected during the term and RA appointment is processed simultaneous to billing.
Students using this mechanism are advised to initiate the process at least 1-2 months before the start of the term. In our experience, it can take several weeks for an institution to issue a PO.
2. Send Invoice or Check Request
HST sends a direct invoice, the billing contact is responsible for submitting a check request according to their institution's standard procedure. The RA appointment is processed at MIT once we receive a check or a written, acceptable guarantee of payment. Acceptable guarantees of payment include either a copy of the submitted check request (at Partner's Healthcare this is known as the Voucher Barcode Report) or PO# created after funding form submitted.
We recommend students begin this process at least 1-2 months prior to the start of the term. There can be up to a 45-day delay between the submission of a check request and payment received by HST. Plan accordingly!
3. Billing Agreement
This method is designated by the PI or his/her financial administrator and is most common when support comes from a federal source. Billing agreements involves staff from multiple offices at both institutions and lengthen the time to establish payment.
Students who anticipate this type of billing are advised to submit their form at least 2-3 months prior to the start of the term.
Student stipends are paid by MIT on the last business day of each month. If a commitment/payment is received before the published MIT monthly payroll deadline the RA appointment will be processed and stipend paid on time at the end of the month. If payment is delayed beyond the monthly cutoff date, the appointment will be processed at MIT and the student will receive his/her stipend retroactively in the next scheduled monthly payroll cycle. If there is a financial hardship, contact Laurie Ward to discuss.
Please feel free to contact laurie [at] mit.edu (Laurie Ward) if you have any questions.