full print


Application Instructions and Information (2)

Read more: Application Instructions and Information (2)

Academic Requirements (2)

Academic Requirements

Applicants who wish to pursue a degree at the Graduate School must hold the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree (BA or BS) from an institution of recognized standing.

Applicants from institutions outside of the US; applicants must hold the equivalent of  US bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) from institutions of recognized standing (either a three or four year undergraduate degree).

Students who are unsure of the US equivalency of their degree(s) should consult a reputable credential evaluation service.

Students who do not wish to pursue a degree may apply for admission as Special Students or Visiting Fellows.

English Language Program 2014 Calendar

The English Language Program begins Sunday, July 27 and ends Thursday, August 21, 2014.

You can arrive as early as Friday, July 25, and you should have moved in to your room in the residence hall by Saturday, July 26.

ELP 2014 calendar


English Language Program 2014 Syllabus

1.    Programmatic Overview

Students address academic goals, and the concept of integration applies throughout the curriculum as students work to achieve comprehensive mastery of the English language. The classes use liberal arts academic texts as the impetus for learner-centered, content-based instruction.
Students “learn more than one thing at a time” in their group and individual work: they write while reading; they make notes while listening; they speak while monitoring; and so forth.  More importantly, they use these opportunities to achieve linguistic equilibrium and apply it to their writing and discussion assignments in academically astute ways.  We recognize that although writing and discussion skills are obvious measures of student success, it is the acquisition of outstanding reading and comprehension skills that underpins them and ensures their emergence. Hence, we expose students to a wide variety of reading material and train them to use these materials efficiently.
We also strive to balance the appreciation of the academic skills that students have developed in their home countries with mastery of American academic mores. Since we are particularly concerned to advise students about the issue of plagiarism, we require students to access the link to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources: http://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do and to mark and inwardly digest it: thus, they will be clear about the constraints on documenting sources and resorting to others for assistance, and encouraged to go beyond memorization and rote to use language creatively.
We expand upon these procedures by using examples of fictional and professional writing from print and other media for analysis, comment, and emulation, and instructors craft classroom activities that develop:
•    the ability to read critically and analytically -- so students can discuss how an author treats different problems, how different authors address the same problem (in different media), and how topics may have ephemeral or enduring importance;
•    familiarity with the scientific method -- when students practice data collection, hypothesis formation and analysis, and examination of ensuing implications;
•    the ability to interpret and make reasonable conclusions about language presented in different formats -- when students analyze statistical tables, graphs, or formulae;
•    the ability to synthesize sources and contribute to a debate arguments that are fluent, cohesive, persuasive, and adequately supported – when students practice the process method in preparing written and oral presentations;
•    knowledge of the roles of languages in culture – when students are presented with examples of variation and change in the social and syntactic use of English, and of the norms for oral and written comprehensibility;
•    historical awareness – when research broadens students’ perspectives on human endeavor and on the institutions and traditions of the world.

2.    Learner Training

The program begins with a session of learner training that involves explaining to students the academic focus on consultation, negotiation, demonstration, and practice, as well as their need to set challenging linguistic goals; monitor their own progress toward these goals; and modify these goals and procedures as needed during the session.
Instructors consciously initiate a relationship of mutual responsibility that permits everyone in the classroom to:
•    contribute their particular talents to the work of the group;
•    use all of the designated texts to provide the framework for developing the goals of the class;
•    receive "direct teaching" - explanation by an instructor of a linguistic point - as opposed to "teacher-fronted" classes;
•    define the forms that feedback will take and how it is shared by instructors and students to promote active monitoring of the language behavior in the classroom and appropriately comment upon it;
•    emphasize effective communication, eliminating editorial error-correction and unhelpful interruptions;
•    make conscious links between what is happening in the classroom and in the world encompassing the classroom;
•    participate in establishing the ground rules -- agreeing on how students will request clarification from other students and the instructor and avoid a range of disruptive behaviors.

3.     Proficiency Profiles and Goals

The Harvard University English Language Placement Test (HELP Test) is an in-house instrument that is used to make the first cut in establishing IEL classes on the basis of a listening comprehension test, error identification and vocabulary components, and a reading comprehension test.  Subsequent to this test, students will write a timed essay and engage in oral diagnostic exercises to finalize their class assignments.
GSAS students typically score at Levels C, D and E on the HELP.  Students completing a Level C course are not normally deemed ready to begin graduate work in English, and often those at higher levels still need additional instruction and guidance beyond the ELP. IEL provides official reports on each student's proficiency at the end of the course, in addition to recommendations for further English Language instruction in ensuing terms.
In 2014, IEL plans to assign the following instructors to address the needs that students at the following respective levels present:

Level C  - Sara Gramley, M. A.

1. obtain the gist of controlled authentic texts and track their development;
2. discover and interpret issues in a variety of texts, and incorporate personal background
knowledge in oral and written responses to them;
3. argue an opinion clearly and cohesively;
4. employ the process writing skills needed to produce a five-paragraph essay;
5. use techniques for incorporating secondary sources;
6. express personal needs for structural accuracy in production;
7. recognize irregularities and complexities of English as an international language in its
written and spoken forms;
8. apply culturally appropriate strategies for classroom activities.
Level D – Gulşat Aygen, Ph.D

1. understand the main ideas and most details in authentic materials on a variety of topics;
2. analyze the development of a given text and recognize contradictory positions;
3. synthesize generalizations and abstractions;
4. use authentic materials as a springboard for oral and written production;
5. employ standard techniques for incorporating multiple secondary sources;
6. utilize a variety of stylistic structures and demonstrate mastery of the conventions of
Standard English;
7. understand the explicit and implied messages of authentic communication;
8. understand idiomatic language;
9. apply culturally appropriate strategies for maintaining classroom interactions.

Level E – Stephanie Mikelis, ABD

1. interpret and respond critically to complex authentic materials;
2. independently use the process approach to writing;
3. use a variety of stylistic and rhetorical strategies effectively and appropriately;
4. evaluate and respond to the  explicit and implied messages of authentic communication;
5. use contextualized idiomatic expressions;
6. identify and fill specific linguistic gaps based on personal experience and goals;
7. comply with prevailing conversational norms in a variety of professional settings.

4.      Procedures:

After completing the HELP Test, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday July 27 in the Science Center, students will do a 30-minute writing sample. On Monday July 28, students will meet at 2 p.m. in the Common Room of Dudley House where the instructors will conduct a variety of diagnostic exercises to fully establish class membership in three groups. Learner Training, using the reading assignment for the next day's lecture, will take up the rest of this first workshop.
The calendar outlines the meeting times and the nature of the other classes and events that comprise the ELP program.

•    About the Author by John Colapinto, ISBN 9780060932176
•    The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, ISBN 978030727826
•    A World of Ideas: Essential Readings for College Writers  (9th edition), Ed. Lee A Jacobus,  ISBN 9781457604362
•    Rules for Writers (7th edition) by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, ISBN 9780312647360  

IEL will also provide:
•    the ELP Orientation Brochure containing the apparatus for using the Common Reading and Listening related to the theme for Summer 2014, “The Human Race: Currents and Encounters”
•         1493 by Charles C. Mann, ISBN 9780307278241
•    The New Yorker, May 26, 2014 issue

•    a coursepack of readings assigned for the lectures by Harvard faculty;
•    Site Visits to the Harvard Peabody Museum; the JFK Library and Museum; the Peabody Essex Museum; and a Duck Tour.

Students should invest in a college edition of a monolingual English dictionary that affords access to sophisticated academic vocabulary, as well as a college edition of a Thesaurus to guide their precise use of the language in many contexts.

Admissions Inquiry

Thank you for your interest in the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Our admissions season for 2011-12 has passed.

The admissions inquiry form will be available soon.

Harvard in Western Washington

Read more: Harvard in Western Washington

Newly Admitted

A Welcome to Our Newly Admitted Students

We warmly welcome you to the select group of scholars admitted to Harvard University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Should you accept our offer of admission, your fellow students will be some of the brightest and most creative of your generation, arriving from every continent and from more than 100 nations to form an exciting, congenial academic community where new perspectives are continually embraced. Membership in such a distinguished cohort is an enduring pleasure. We believe you can make no better choice for your graduate studies than Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Steps to Respond to Offer of Admission

  1. Go to the online application page.
  2. Login using the username and password you created when you filled out your application. (If you forgot your username of password click the link "Forgot your User Name or Password?”)
  3. Click the link “Your application decision is now available online,” which will display your decision letter.
  4. In the body of that letter, click the link “electronic reply form.”
  5. Fill out the reply form and click “Proceed to submission.”

Welcoming Events


We invite you to attend an Orientation for Newly Admitted Students on Friday, March 27, 2015.

Among the highlights of events that open are fall term:

  • Orientation, on August 27, 2015 — An official welcome from Harvard's president and senior deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, followed by lunch in Harvard Yard and an afternoon resource fair at Dudley House, GSAS's one-of-a-kind graduate student center.
  • Discover Dudley, on August 28, 2015 — an open house and party at Dudley House.


Get To Know GSAS


  • Check out our news site to learn about student life and professional development at GSAS.
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.




April 15, 2015 Reply to offer of admission due (please refer to your letter of admission)
April 15, 2015 Reply to offer of financial aid due
April 22, 2015 Priority deadline to enter GSAS housing lottery
date to come Deadline to notify Accessible Education Office of special needs
May 15, 2015 Deadline to submit Financial Certification for Students Who Are Not U.S. Citizens Form
June 15, 2015 Medical forms due to Harvard University Health Services
August 1, 2015 Fall tuition payment due

Important Information for Prospective GSAS Students


Attention, International Students


Sources of Academic, Personal, and Professional Support at GSAS and Harvard

Application Instructions and Information

Read more: Application Instructions and Information

Dean's Welcome Letter

Read more: Dean's Welcome Letter

Admissions Overview

Read more: Admissions Overview

Academic Requirements

Academic Requirements

Applicants who wish to pursue a degree at the Graduate School must hold the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree (BA or BS) from an institution of recognized standing.

Applicants from institutions outside of the US; applicants must hold the equivalent of  US bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) from institutions of recognized standing (either a three or four year undergraduate degree).

Students who are unsure of the US equivalency of their degree(s) should consult a reputable credential evaluation service.

Students who do not wish to pursue a degree may apply for admission as Special Students or Visiting Fellows.

Admissions Checklist

Application Checklist and Answers to Most Commonly Asked Questions

The following information is most frequently overlooked by prospective students when filling out their applications. In order to process your application as quickly as possible, we suggest that you use this as a checklist submitting your online application. If you would like more detailed information, please refer to the appropriate section of the website.

Application Deadline and Fee Information

View the deadlines on the Application Instructions and Deadlines page.

The application fee is $105. Do not send the fee separately. The online application fee must be paid by credit card. The application fee is not refundable.

Supplemental Data Form

We request that all applications complete the Supplemental Data Form. Fill out this form as accurately as you can. Complete the entire form (where applicable, use 00's). The Supplemental Data Form is accessed once you have submitted your online application. The link will appear on the 'Submission Complete' page. 

Current and former GSAS students should direct questions to the financial aid office directly at 617-495-5396 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE General test is required by all departments. The GRE code for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is 3451. Some programs allow the GMAT to substitute, see Program Details. The GMAT code for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is HRL-X8-30. Be sure to take the GRE Subject test if it is required by the department to which you are applying. You should take the GRE or GMAT in sufficient time for your score report to arrive by the application deadline.

Minority Students

The GSAS actively encourages applications from qualified students from ethnic groups historically underrepresented in graduate schools. These groups include Native Americans, Black/African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Mexican Americans. Contact the Office of Diversity and Minority Affairs (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to receive information on the application process, financial aid, and minority graduate student life.

Applicants Submitting More Than One Application

  1. It is Graduate School policy that an individual may submit only one application per program.
  2. It is Graduate School policy that an individual may submit no more than three applications during the course of his or her academic careeer.

Each application must have its own uploaded transcripts, recommendations, financial data, test scores, etc. All supplemental materials must be uploaded and attached to your application. An application fee must accompany each application (unless you are applying to a program particiating in HILS See: applying to a Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) program)


The Graduate School requires that you submit your application online, and that your recommenders submit letters of recommendation online. Upload your statement of purpose, transcripts, and additional academic information in the Writing Sample and Additional Academic Materials section of the application. 


Apply to GSAS


Categories of Admission

Read more: Categories of Admission

Costs: Tuition and Fees

Read more: Costs: Tuition and Fees

Degree Programs


English Language Program

ELP Summer 2014


  • Intensive four-week language program focusing on American culture

  • No cost to participants

  • Guaranteed housing in a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Residence Hall

  • Opportunities to meet fellow students and GSAS faculty



Description of Program

Housing & Food

Health Insurance



A Word from Past Participants...



How long does the program last?

The program begins Sunday, July 27 and ends Thursday, August 21, 2014.

When can I move into my room?

You can arrive as early as Friday, July 25, and you should have moved in to your room in the residence hall by Saturday, July 26.

I can't come to the first couple of weeks of the program. May I arrive late?

No. You must be able to attend the full four-week program.

My department expects me to work in a lab and/or do lab rotations in July and August. How can I do that and attend the program?

Participating departments have recognized the long-term educational benefits of this program and will allow students to devote the necessary time and attention to the program.

Description of Program

What will I learn in the program?

The program will provide an excellent opportunity to improve your English skills before courses begin. It will also provide an introduction to American culture, and is especially designed for those students without much previous extensive exposure to the United States.

In addition, it will address issues related to being a student and a teacher in the American classroom - academic expectations, cultural norms, etc.  This preparation will be particularly helpful if you are scheduled to teach early in your program.

I have already had a lot of English classes. How will this one help me?

This program is designed to emphasize the use of English in a variety of situations, ranging from the academic to day-to-day conversation. The course will also highlight the four skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

How many hours a day will I attend classes?

Classes will be from 9 a.m. until 12 noon and again from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. There will also be homework expected of you in the evenings.

Will there be time to take care of important tasks such as apartment hunting?

While classwork will be intensive, time has been built in for students to take care of important tasks outside of the classroom.

How many students will attend the program?

We expect that there will be approximately 45 - 50 students in the program, with 15 students per section.

Who will the other students in the program be?

The others in the program will be like you, students enrolled in GSAS PhD programs who have not had much direct exposure to American culture or the English language and who wish to get an early start on their studies at Harvard. GSAS enrolls students from more than 50 different countries, so we expect the participants to have a wide variety of geographic backgrounds.

Who will teach the course?

Instructors from the Harvard Institute for English Language Programs (IEL) will staff the program. These instructors all have strong academic backgrounds. The curriculum for the course has been developed by the IEL, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and a GSAS advisory committee of faculty and students.

Whom else might I meet during the program?

You will have the opportunity to meet and hear from continuing GSAS students, both international and American, as well as undergraduate students, and Harvard faculty members.

Will this program help me to prepare for the GSAS English language requirement?

For those students who have not met the GSAS language requirement, the ELP summer classes will serve as a foundation for additional courses taken in the future. GSAS requires all PhD students entering GSAS whose native language is not English to demonstrate a level of oral proficiency in the English language sufficient to participate successfully in all the various activities that comprise a graduate education. Oral proficiency will be determined by scores on the Speaking section of the TOEFL IBT exam. Students who have not met the GSAS Oral English Language Requirement will be required to take an Institute of English Language (IEL) course or a Bok Center course sometime during their first or second year.

Why was I chosen for this program?

GSAS asked departments to recommend students whom they believed could most benefit from an early introduction to American culture and English language practice.

Whom can I contact if I have any questions about the program?

You can call Elizabeth Pomerantz at 617-495-1814 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. She can also be reached via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Housing & Food

Where will I live during the program?

We have made arrangements to house all the program participants in a GSAS residence hall.

How much will housing cost me?

Housing in the GSAS residence hall for the four-week program is free.

Will I have a roommate?

No. All the rooms are singles. There is a shared, single-sex bathroom, a lounge, and a kitchen on each floor.

What if I will be living off-campus or in Harvard-affiliated housing? Can I still live there and attend the program?
Yes. Students are not required to live in the GSAS residence hall during the program. However, GSAS will only pay for accommodations in a GSAS residence hall.

My spouse/family is planning on accompanying me to Harvard. Can they live in a residence hall during the program?

Unfortunately, we are only able to house program participants in a GSAS residence hall.

I intend to live in a GSAS residence hall during the academic year. Will I be able to move into the room I'll be living in during the academic year when I arrive in late July?

Probably not. The program participants will be housed together in Child Hall and it is unlikely that you will have the same room in the academic year that you will live in during the summer.

What about food?

Some lunches will be provided during the program. In addition, you will be given some financial credit on your Harvard identification card that will allow you to purchase meals at a campus restaurant. Evening and weekend meals will not be covered. However, the residence hall where you will be living is equipped with kitchens for your use.

Health Insurance

Will I be covered by health insurance?

Yes. You will receive full coverage under the Harvard University Health Services, as well as by Blue Cross/Blue Shield medical insurance from the day you arrive at Harvard.


Do I need to do anything different about my visa?

No. You should have already received from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid information about financial certification for applying for your visa.


How much will the program cost me?

Tuition for the program is paid for by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Housing in a GSAS residence hall and some meals will also be provided free of charge. Program participants will need to provide for the rest of their meals plus other living expenses such as clothing, telephone calls, and entertainment.

I'm in the natural sciences and I expect to receive a stipend from my department. Will it start at the end of July?

Those students in the natural sciences who are due stipends will receive them on orientation/registration day for ELP at the end of July.


A Word from Past Participants...

"The English Language Program to me was much more than just a language program. It's a cultural immersion, a great opportunity to make new friends (especially with those newcomers to the United States just like me), and above all, an excellent form of entertainment."
Student in Division of Medical Sciences, China.

"When I was trying to decide on joining the program, my biggest concern was its timing. Joining it meant having to come to Cambridge a month earlier than everybody. It sounded bad from back home, but once I was here I knew that it was really worth it."
Student in Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Turkey.

"When we came here in August we were all foreigners willing to integrate and make friends. Meeting every day with colleagues from the ELP provided an opportunity to socialize and make real friends. Later, during the regular term we didn't have enough time to do it and most new relationships were rather superficial, while the old friends from ELP are still in touch!"
Student in Earth and Planetary Sciences, Poland.

"I would never have gotten used to life here, both in Boston and Harvard, so quickly without taking the ELP. In this program you will learn a lot of things such as the language, American customs and culture and how to be a good Teaching Fellow."
Student in Chemistry, China.

"It was obvious, throughout the entire course, that a lot of time, resources and effort were invested in trying to establish something valuable. And it was a big success. It gave me a great opportunity to be here with a "clear mind"; to get to know Cambridge and Harvard, and to make new friends from various disciplines, before the academic year begins."
Student in Middle Eastern Studies, Israel.

"Studying successfully at Harvard is a challenging task. The ELP prepared us in an efficient way, not only by improving our language skills, but more importantly by providing us with information on American society and classroom culture. Furthermore, it was a unique opportunity to learn more about unrelated fields, from Archeology to Zoology."
Student in Division of Medical Sciences, Germany.

"ELP helped me to begin adjusting to a new culture, make friends from different departments, know where and who I can ask for help, and learn living skills in a new environment with a group of excellent students and teachers. It is a wonderful transition!"
Student in Division of Medical Sciences, China.

"Adjusting to a new place is not an easy task, especially in a foreign country. Studying at Harvard is challenging and it takes all your time. However, by the beginning of the fall term, I had already passed through the hardest stage of my adaptation. It was not as much about language as about another culture, even a different academic culture. It was also about making friends and becoming part of a very diverse and busy community. I am grateful to the ELP program for an informal and helpful environment that was created and maintained so that incoming students would organize their life here, feel a flavor of Boston and Cambridge, and learn what to expect from the graduate school and what the school would expect from them."
Student in Anthropology, Russia.

"ELP is a great chance to come to Boston and live in Cambridge in advance and get to know the city, the campus, the students and the life here. It also help shift my brain from vacation mode into school mode. I feel more prepared for the new semester and for graduate school."
Student in Division of Medical Sciences, China

"I took the ELP course in summer 2012 and totally enjoyed it. The course was indeed intensive in terms of workload, but it was a fun time making friends and polishing our English skills. In particular, I very much respected my section leader Mr. Morris, an excellent teacher dedicated to promoting appropriate usage of English. I strongly recommend this course to any incoming graduate student with an intermediate level of English with the firm belief that they will benefit a lot from it just like I did."
Student in Division of Medical Sciences, China

Harvard Integrated Life Sciences


Non-Degree Programs


Recruitment Schedule

Read more: Recruitment Schedule

Request an Application

Read more: Request an Application