The application for admission, together with all supporting materials, becomes the property of the Graduate School. No materials will be returned to the applicant nor forwarded to other schools or agencies. All materials related to your application will be filed by your last or family name. It will facilitate our handling of your application if you identify your family name on all correspondence with this office. This is of particular importance for names that do not follow standard English word order. If your name has changed since any of your supporting materials were issued, please inform us on your application.
Those who have filed an application to the Graduate School in a previous year should read carefully the information on "Reapplication".
Deadline and Fee Information
Application Deadline December 1, 2015, 5 p.m. EST
- Biological Sciences in Dental Medicine*
- Biological Sciences in Public Health*
- Business Economics
- Chemical Biology*
- Chemical Physics*
- Chemistry and Chemical Biology*
- Division of Medical Sciences*
- Molecular and Cellular Biology*
- Organismic and Evolutionary Biology*
- Organizational Behavior
- Population Health Sciences
- Public Policy
- South Asian Studies
- Systems Biology*
* Participating programs in Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS)
Application Deadline December 15, 2015, 5 p.m. EST
- East Asian Languages and Civilizations
- Engineering and Applied Sciences
- Film and Visual Studies
- Health Policy
- Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
- Political Economy & Government
- Regional Studies–East Asia
- Romance Languages and Literatures
- Social Policy
Application Deadline January 4, 2016, 5 p.m. EST
- African and African American Studies
- American Studies
- Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning
- Celtic Languages and Literatures
- Comparative Literature
- Earth and Planetary Sciences
- Germanic Languages and Literatures
- History of Art and Architecture
- History of Science
- Human Evolutionary Biology
- Inner Asian and Altaic Studies
- Middle Eastern Studies
- Regional Studies–Russia, Eastern Europe and
- Slavic Languages and Literatures
The application fee is $105. All applications received by the appropriate deadline with the correct application fee are guaranteed full consideration. Applications and supporting documentation received after the appropriate deadline will not be considered.
It is required that you upload all supporting documents to your online application prior to submission. Consideration of your application will be delayed if supporting materials are sent separately. The Graduate School cannot guarantee review of supporting material received after the appropriate deadline.
The only acceptable form of payment for the online application is credit card. The application fee is not refundable.
Selecting a Department and Subject
The term “program” refers to the various departments, divisions, and committees that offer graduate degrees. See "Degree Programs" for more information.
Locate the department, division, or committee to which you wish to apply, and enter the program subject name on the appropriate line on the application. Indicate the degree you seek on the degree line. Note that though most programs accept applications only for study leading to the PhD, a few offer the AM degree.
Consideration by More than One Program — Occasionally, an application may be transferred by the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid to a second department that may be more suitable to the applicant’s academic interest. Candidates for admission to member programs in the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS), may also apply to more than one program (see following section).
For all other programs, it is Graduate School policy that an individual may submit only one application per program. Note: Engineering and Applied Sciences is a single program, as is the program in Medical Sciences. Submission of more than one application to a single program will result in the withdrawal of the second application. Application fees are not refundable.
With the exception of the HILS affiliated programs, the Graduate School does not recommend submission of more than one application. However, if you choose to submit multiple applications (up to a limit of two), the applications may not share any item. Each application must be unique, containing a separate Statement of Purpose for each program applied to as well as separate uploads to each application of transcripts, recommendations, and test scores. Online submission of the application is mandatory.
It is Graduate School policy that an individual may submit no more than three applications during the course of his or her academic career. Submission of additional applications may result in the withdrawal of the application. Application fees are not refundable.
Applying to a Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) Program
To apply to a Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) program, students must submit the GSAS online application by December 1, 2015. Admission is to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and registration is in one of the 12 life sciences PhD study areas within HILS.
Ordinarily, students apply to one HILS program, and we strongly recommend this targeted approach. While each program’s admission committee makes its admissions decisions independently, the committees also consider each candidate’s suitability in adjacent HILS programs as part of their evaluation process, and will transfer files accordingly. The GSAS Admission Office will notify you if this occurs.
For candidates who nonetheless wish to formally apply to more than one program, HILS will accommodate the submission of up to three applications to its member programs under a single $105 application fee. Applicants who wish to submit multiple applications must indicate their program choices on the online application form using the specific code numbers listed in the “Programs, Subjects, Degrees, and Requirements” section. Each application must be unique, containing a separate Statement of Purpose for each program applied to as well as separate uploads to each application of transcripts, recommendations, and test scores. Online submission of the application is mandatory.
If you formally apply to more than one HILS member program using the online application, follow the instructions online to “Apply to more than one program.”
Please note that it is the policy of the Graduate School that an individual may submit no more than three applications during the course of his or her academic career. This policy applies to multiple HILS applications, including those to DMS departments, whether or not they are submitted under a single admission fee. If you apply to two HILS PhD programs this admission cycle, for instance, you will be able to apply to just one Harvard PhD program in the future. If you apply to three HILS PhD programs this admission cycle, you will be unable to apply to any other Harvard PhD program in the future.
For further HILS application details and instructions, see the HILS Admission/Application website.
Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose native language is other than English and who do not hold the equivalent of a US Bachelor's degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction must submit scores from the Internet based test (IBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Box 899, Princeton, NJ 08541. When requesting official score reports, indicate the receiving institution as Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Code 3451. If an “Applicant’s Score Confirmation Report” is available, scan and upload a copy, attaching it to your online application. However, the official institutional score report sent by ETS to GSAS is still required. A minimum score of 80 on the Internet based test (IBT) on the TOEFL is required for consideration by the Graduate School; some individual departments may require a higher score. Applicants who took the TOEFL more than two years ago must repeat the test. No test other than the TOEFL IBT will be acceptable as proof of English proficiency. Additionally, GSAS will use students’ scores on the speaking section of the TOEFL IBT to determine the oral proficiency of admitted students. View the policy for additional information on this requirement. It is therefore highly recommended that applicants take the TOEFL IBT whenever possible.
Letters of Recommendation
Submit three letters of recommendation from faculty or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. The letters must be received by the appropriate deadline of December 1, 15, 2015, January 4, 2016. The Graduate School requires your recommenders use the online recommendation process. At least one letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student unless you have been out of school for more than five years. Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work. Indicate on the recommendation form whether you are waiving your right to see the letter of recommendation. Recommendation dossier services are not compatible with the online application process.
Graduate Record Examination
The Graduate School requires that applicants present scores of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Scores from either the computer-based or the traditional paper administration are acceptable. You must take the GRE in sufficient time for score reports to reach us by the application deadline. Many programs also require one of the GRE Subject Tests; requirements are noted in the list of “Programs, Subjects, Degrees, and Requirements.”
Make arrangements to register for the tests well before administration dates. Scores should be reported to Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Code 3451. For further information write: Graduate Record Examination, ETS, Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08541.
GRE scores are valid for five years only. Applicants who have not taken the GRE in the last five years and intend to submit scores should take the examinations again. If you have personal score reports available from tests taken within the last five years, scan, upload, and attach to your application. However, be sure also to have official institutional score reports sent directly from ETS; only official scores are acceptable.
The Graduate School requires that you upload a copy of your transcript from each college/university attended with your online application. An official transcript showing the conferral of the undergraduate degree is required to register in the Graduate School.
Foreign transcripts—records of all courses, seminars, and examinations, including grades, scores, grading scales, and conferrals of degrees—must be in English. If records are not available in English, original records must be uploaded with certified English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.
The Graduate School does not require applicants currently enrolled in a college or university to report their fall 2015 grades. Should you wish to report fall 2015 grades not reflected on the transcript you provided in your application you may do so using this the Fall 2015 Grade Report section of the application. After you have submitted your application you will be able to complete this section when your fall 2015 grades are available. Use your User Name and Password to log into your application to access this form after you have submitted the application. The Graduate School cannot guarantee that information submitted after the application deadline will be used in the evaluation of your application.
Students who are unsure of the U.S. equivalency of their degree(s) should consult a reputable credential evaluation service.
The University reserves the right to request additional academic documents.
Abstract of Courses
Although this form may duplicate information available on your transcript(s), it is essential that the admissions committee has available an orderly summary of your courses. The Division of Medical Sciences does not require that you complete this part of the application.
Applicants to Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) in the Division of Medical Sciences MUST complete the Abstract of Courses.
All applicants are strongly urged to upload a résumé or curriculum vitae with their completed application. Please see Program Details for additional requirements of your department.
Papers and Manuscripts
Follow instructions on the online application to upload a paper, manuscript, publication, or other materials in support of your application. Since the Graduate School cannot return these materials, applicants are urged to make and keep copies. All papers and manuscripts will be destroyed after admissions decisions are made.
If you have questions about your application, or if problems arise when completing it, you may call for assistance. We are unable to accept collect calls.
There are two telephone numbers available for your use: one for questions that pertain to your application for admission and all supporting documents, and another for questions that pertain to your application for financial aid. Please be sure to use the appropriate number for your question.
The telephone numbers and hours of operation as well as e-mail addresses are:
Questions on the application for admission:(617) 496-6100
(Please call between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.)
Questions on the application for financial aid: (617) 495-5396
(Please call between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.)
Questions for the Minority Recruitment and Student Programming Officer: (617) 495-5315
Please note: Harvard University is closed December 24, 2015, through January 3, 2016.
Please visit Intra-Faculty Transfers or Readmission for more information.