BE REFS resources

Rotating/joining a lab

A guide to expectations for the PhD student-advisor relationship.


worksheet and a some questions to help guide discussion of expectations for professors, instructors, advisors, and TAs.

An overview of TA responsibilities for TAs in BE, agreed upon and approved by all BE faculty. This document is also in the BE Handbook.

Perspectives on TA rights, responsibilities, rewards, and resources from the Office of Graduate Education.

Thesis proposal

A summary of thesis proposal preparation guidelines and proposal outcomes and criteria.


A short summary of the important dates and details for graduation.

MIT resources

The Refs have personally met many of the individuals involved in these programs. We can help you find a program or a person who can get you the support that fits.

iREFS & other dREFS: There are Institute-level Refs (iREFS), designed to be used by students who don’t have a department REFS program or by students want to talk to someone further removed from their department. Other departmental REFS programs are also happy to take visitors from BE.

Ombuds Office: The MIT Ombuds are professional conflict management practitioners. They are neutral, confidential, and informal. You can learn more about individual ombuds.

Conflict Management@MIT: The Conflict Management program, run by Libby Mahaffy, provides conflict coaching, facilitation, mediation, and restorative justice. All REFS programs at MIT are coordinated by Conflict Management@MIT.

Office of Graduate Education (OGE): The people in ODGE focus on helping students, especially with problems and conflicts that have to do with their studies.

Community Wellness: This MIT Medical program aims to help you improve your stress level, diet, exercise habits, sleep patterns, or sexual health.

Finally, has a comprehensive list of programs and offices at MIT that are available to you. Start here if you have a more specific question and want to find out where to start (e.g. career advice, professional development, etc).

Good books & self-help

We strongly recommend Getting to Yes, a quick and immensely useful book on how to do better in any situation where you and someone else want something.

In the same vein is Difficult Conversations, another quick and excellent read.

The MIT Ombuds Office maintains a list of self-help resources.