Departments or instructional committees at Harvard may offer a group of courses from which students in PhD programs can complete an elective secondary field to be listed on the graduate transcript.  Requirements for GSAS Secondary Fields can be found on the links to the left.  Each program provides a rationale for a secondary field in its area.  We recommend that you speak with your primary advisor before committing to a secondary field.  If you are interested in declaring a secondary field, please contact the field's department representative.

Once you have completed the courses you will use to fulfill the secondary field requirements, complete the PhD Secondary Field Application for GSAS.  Attach to the form documentation to indicate completion of additional requirements.  Obtain the signature of the director of graduate studies (DGS) in your department and the DGS of the secondary field department.  That completed and signed form should be given to the Office of the Registrar, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th Floor (Smith Campus Center), no later than the degree application deadline for the degree period. There are no exceptions to this deadline.

To assist you in this process, please keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Graduate students may not complete a secondary field in their own department.  Each student may not declare more than one secondary field. 
  • The secondary field will appear on the transcript but not on the degree because it is not voted by the Corporation.
  • Students may use the same courses for their secondary field and for the courses necessary to obtain the PhD.
  • Language courses taken on a SAT/UNS basis may not be used toward degree requirements and may also not be used to fulfill secondary field requirements.
  • Coursework for a secondary field is entirely optional and should fit into elective space in the normal sequence of the primary graduate program.
  • The completed and signed application may not be submitted to the Registrar's Office any later than the degree application deadline for the degree period.

GSAS Ph.D. Secondary Field Application (PDF)