Categories of Admission
Categories of Admission
Regular Degree Programs in GSAS
Degrees offered in the Graduate School include the PhD, AM, ME, SM, and MFS. Most degree candidates are enrolled for full-time study; enrollment begins in the fall term. Although some departments may award the master’s degree in the course of doctoral study, most admit only candidates who intend to proceed to the PhD. Note that there are some exceptions; certain programs award AM degrees. Check specific departments for particular requirements.
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Programs
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), a School within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), offers doctoral and master’s degree programs that lie at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences (from biology to physics), and technology. Particular areas of academic focus include applied mathematics, applied physics, bioengineering, computer science, electrical engineering, environmental sciences and engineering, mechanical engineering and material sciences, and computational science and engineering. SEAS offers graduate degrees in applied mathematics, applied physics, computer science, computational sciences and engineering (masters only), and engineering sciences. Students earning a degree in engineering sciences can specialize in one of the following areas: bioengineering, electrical engineering, environmental sciences and engineering, or mechanical engineering.
Graduate Study in the Integrated Life Sciences Program at Harvard (HILS)
The Harvard Integrated Life Sciences Program allows Harvard to facilitate a rapid response to the world's evolving scientific landscape. As our existing programs in the life sciences continue to reflect the latest technology and knowledge, HILS has introduced new interdisciplinary programs in chemical biology and systems biology. HILS integrates 14 graduate programs across four Harvard faculties: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Dental School, the Medical School, and the School of Public Health.
The program exists to enable the best and most appropriate training for each student and to encourage flexibility in their education and training. Individual programs within HILS have their own admissions, curriculum, and advising process.
For more information, see www.gsas.harvard.edu/hils.
Ad Hoc Programs
Applicants who wish to earn a degree in a subject not offered by any existing department within the Graduate School, or in a field that bridges the subject matter of two or more departments, must first be admitted to an existing department and program. At the end of one year of study, a student may request the dean to appoint an ad hoc committee to administer a special PhD program.
The MD-PhD Program is a joint degree program for students who plan careers in biomedical research and academic medicine. The program, sponsored primarily by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through its national Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), provides fellowship support for selected and highly qualified students. Virtually all students who enter the program have had intensive research experiences prior to matriculation. The MD and PhD degrees are obtained in an average of seven years and are conferred by the awarding Faculties upon completion of requirements for both degrees.
Applicants to the MD-PhD Program must apply to the Harvard Medical School (HMS) via the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) by October 15, 2013. AMCAS applicants will then be mailed instructions for completing the online HMS application by November 16, 2013. The HMS application will include a supplemental MD-PhD section. A separate application for the PhD must be submitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the second year of the MD program.
To apply, please contact: AMCAS, Section for Student Services, 2450 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037-1126, (202) 828-0600, www.aamc.org.
For more information about the MDPhD Program, call (617) 432-0991 or visit the Web site at www.hms.harvard.edu/md_phd.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has established a coordinated degree program with the Law School which leads to a JD and PhD. JD/PhD students have enrolled in PhD programs in the Economics, Government, History, and Health Policy departments of GSAS, and other GSAS departments are also participating in the program. For more information, see the JD/PhD Program Summary.
Harvard/MIT Program in Health Science and Technology Medical Engineering/Medical Physics (MEMP)
The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Department of Biophysics participate in the HST MEMP program. Applicants simultaneously apply to the HST MEMP program and to one of these participating departments by indicating the appropriate program number and name on the first page of the GSAS application.
Your interest in MEMP should be clearly described in the Statement of Purpose and on the Supplemental Application form if applying to SEAS. All application materials to both GSAS and HST must be submitted prior to the application deadline of December 16.
This program is open only to Harvard College seniors with advanced standing. AB-AM/AB-SM applicants should submit the application to the Graduate School Office of Admissions and Financial Aid in the fall of their junior year.
Enrollment in Other Harvard Professional Schools
It is possible to pursue a degree in areas such as business, law, or medicine at Harvard professional schools along with a program leading to the AM or PhD in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Students must apply independently for admission to both graduate schools; admission requirements of each school must be met separately. If admitted to both schools, a student should then consult the appropriate department in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the appropriate faculty member in the other graduate or professional school about how to proceed. Normally, students may not be concurrently enrolled in residence at two Harvard schools.
Students currently enrolled in another Harvard graduate or professional school should consult the appropriate department in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences before filing an application. If the department agrees that the course of study is appropriate, the student should submit an application for admission to GSAS.
Special Student Status
Part-time or short-term study under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is open to students who hold the bachelor’s degree, have a sound reason for not wishing to enter a degree program, and can present evidence of qualification for admission at the graduate level. Special Student status is ordinarily limited to two terms, with extensions sometimes possible. Students may study full-time or parttime and may take up to four half-courses per term. US immigration regulations require that all foreign nationals holding Harvard-sponsored F-1 visas be registered full-time, for four half-courses each term. Admission as a Special Student implies no commitment regarding admission to any other part of the University. Harvard grants are not available to Special Students. Degree applicants who have been denied admission may not apply as Special Students for the same academic year.
The application deadline for the fall term and/or academic year is March 1. Those interested in spring term admission should apply by October 1.
Visiting Fellow Status
Transfer of Credit
After completion of one term in a PhD program in the Graduate School, students who have done graduate work elsewhere may petition their departments for a maximum of one year’s academic credit. Departments will generally give credit for courses equivalent to those offered by Harvard. No financial credit toward tuition is given.
Academic and financial credit may be granted for graduate-level courses taken as a Special Student in the Graduate School. A maximum of eight half-courses may be used for credit toward the PhD. Ordinarily, only four half-courses may be used for a master’s degree. After completion of one term in the Graduate School, students may petition their department for academic and financial credit for courses taken as a Special Student.
Application materials are kept on file for one year. Applicants who filed more than one year ago should follow regular application instructions.
Applicants who applied last year must file a new application and financial forms, pay the full application fee, submit at least one new letter of recommendation from someone who has not written previously, and submit transcripts covering any academic work undertaken since the time of last application. It is the policy of the Graduate School that prior applications and supporting materials will be considered along with new application materials. The Graduate School does not retain writing samples sent with prior applications. If the department to which you are applying requires a writing sample, you will need to send a new one with your reapplication.
The Graduate School will not accept more than three applications from any individual during the course of his or her academic career.
Students who previously registered in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) long enough to have paid at least one installment of tuition, who then were not registered for a full term or longer, and who wish to return to the same GSAS program, should apply for readmission. Applications for Readmission are available to download here.
Those who have completed all course requirements, research, etc. and are returning only to defend their dissertations and receive PhDs should fill out the Readmission for Degree application here.
Printed and completed applications should be turned in to the Dean’s Office, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center 350. NO MATERIALS SHOULD BE SENT TO THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE.
Requests for deferred admission will be considered by a department only after an offer of admission has been made and accepted. Offers of financial assistance cannot be deferred.
If an applicant’s request for deferral is granted, the applicant may not apply to any other department within GSAS or to any other graduate school.