Information Systems and Technology (IS&T), MIT’s central IT department, is here to provide you with advice and support on IT issues during your time at the Institute. Below are steps you should take to begin your digital life as an MIT student.

If at any point you have questions or need help, contact the IS&T Service Desk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Step 1: Get computer hardware

If you are planning to buy a new computer for the fall, IS&T has a number of hardware recommendations. Students can get educational discounts by purchasing through vendors’ online education stores.

Step 2: Create your MIT identity

Your main MIT identity is your Kerberos account, a username and password that will grant you access to a many MIT systems, services, and resources. Look for an email from with instructions for creating your Kerberos account.

Step 3: Register for Duo

MIT students are required to register for Duo two-factor authentication, which is an additional security layer to verify your identity via a physical device, such as your smartphone, a tablet, or even a landline.

IS&T strongly recommends that you register at least one backup device for use with Duo in case something happens to your primary device. YubiKeys are hardware authentication tokens that don’t require WiFi or cellular service and make excellent backup devices. Students can request a free YubiKey from IS&T.

You will be prompted to sign up for Duo after creating your Kerberos account. This Knowledge Base (KB) article explains how to register devices for use with Duo.

Step 4: Set up your MIT email

Once you have your Kerberos account, you’ll be able to login to your MIT email, which the Institute uses to contact you about everything. Your email address will be

You can login to your MIT email account using your Kerberos credentials through a browser or an email app. IS&T recommends Microsoft Outlook, which is part of the free Microsoft Office bundle available to all MIT students.

Grad students may also be assigned a departmental email address, e.g.,,, or This account is separate from your account. Contact your department for more information.

Step 5: Install MIT certificates

An MIT certificate is a safe way to access MIT services, such as Student Information Systems, without having to type in a username and password. Certificates need to be renewed every year by July 31. This KB article will walk you through installing MIT certificates.

Step 6: Protect your devices and data

IS&T strongly recommends that you take the following precautions in order to protect your computer, personal information, and data. All of the software and services referenced below are licensed by the Institute for your use at no extra cost.

Step 7: Securely connect to MITnet

There are several options for connecting securely to MITnet, the Institute’s campus-wide computer network, and accessing protected Institute services and resources.

Once you are on campus, you can connect wirelessly using the MIT SECURE WiFi network, and login using your Kerberos username and password. Wired internet connectivity is also available, and offers optimal speed and reliability.

Off campus, you can securely connect to MITnet using MIT’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) anytime from anywhere using the GlobalProtect VPN client on your computer and mobile devices. The KB has installation instructions.

Step 8: Get software and services

You have access to an array of software and cloud-based services at no additional cost during your time as an MIT student. Using your Kerberos account and an MIT certificate, you can download or access anything that’s marked for use by students on the IS&T software grid.

Step 9: Bookmark MIT IT resources

Be sure to bookmark these online resources about IT at MIT:

Finally, follow IS&T on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to stay up-to-date with important news about IT at MIT.