The English Language Program (ELP) is a residential, cultural immersion program offered every summer for incoming international graduate students. Run by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), ELP will give you an introduction to life at Harvard and help you activate your English language skills. The program incorporates professional communication, an introduction to the cultural features of the American classroom, and community-building activities, with the ultimate goal of preparation for success in the Harvard academic and social environment.  
Through the program you will:

  • Build an awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses in English
  • Learn strategies you can use as you develop your professional communication skills
  • Gain familiarity with all the resources available to you as a GSAS student
  • Create lasting friendships and begin to feel at home here at Harvard

ELP is aligned with the GSAS Oral English Language Requirement and is designed to feed directly into the Bok Center’s Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars.  


ELP instructors lead core classes of 12-15 students every morning, and in the afternoon students participate in program-wide activities. 
The morning classes offer a student-centered learning environment in which to activate your English language skills, focusing on speaking, listening, reading and writing. You’ll practice these skills by engaging with academic materials across the disciplines, exploring current events of interest, and reflecting on issues related to cross-cultural communication. Class time is largely spent on discussion, student presentations, and feedback. You are expected to be an active participant in your learning community by being prepared for class, contributing meaningfully to discussions, and providing constructive feedback to classmates.
In the afternoons and on Saturdays, you will participate in program-wide workshops, site visits, lectures and visits to key Harvard offices in order to learn more about your new environment and to practice the skills you are building in an authentic context.
Take a look at a sample calendar from last year’s program to get an idea of how your day will be structured!


ELP instructors are experts in English as a Second Language, as well as professional and intercultural communication for international graduate students.
Our instructors in 2016 are from Harvard University, Princeton University, and Boston University.


When does ELP take place? When should I arrive?
The English Language Program is held immediately before the start of the fall academic term. For the 2016-17 academic year, the program will take place August 1st through August 18th.  Students should plan to arrive Saturday, July 30 and should not arrive later than Sunday, July 31.

How much does the English Language Program cost?
ELP is tuition free, and the Graduate School provides some lunches during the program. The Graduate School will also put a $200 credit on your Harvard ID that will allow you to buy meals on campus. You should budget accordingly and be prepared to cover any additional living expenses that will arise during the program.

Who will be in the program with me?
The program will be made up of students like you, GSAS first year students who have not had much experience studying in the US.  GSAS students come from more than 50 different countries, and our program participants represent a wide variety of geographic backgrounds. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet current GSAS students, undergraduates and faculty members.

Where will I live? Will I have roommates?
The Graduate School provides housing (a single room) at no cost to you in the GSAS Residence Halls. You will not have roommates, but you will get to know other ELP students well during the program.

Where will I live after the end of the program and before the beginning of the academic term?
Students living in GSAS Residential Halls may remain in the Residence Halls during this time. Students living elsewhere or off-campus should arrange for housing during this period before the academic term begins.
Will I have health insurance?
Yes, you will have health coverage under the Harvard University Student Health Program provided by Harvard University Health Services and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts Student Health Insurance Plan.

Do I need to do anything different to receive my visa documents to arrange my arrival in the United States?
No. You should have already received information about financial certification for applying for your visa from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

My question isn’t on this list!
If you have additional questions about the program, you can contact Christina Tucker in the Office of Student Affairs at 617-495-1814, or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..