2013–2014

ACADEMIC INFORMATION

REGISTRAR’S OFFICE

Hours: Monday – Friday, 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The registrar is Michael Burke. Academic records for all students in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences are maintained in the Registrar’s Office. In addition, the Registrar’s Office oversees registration, examinations, and classroom schedules. Requests for transcripts of students’ academic records or statements certifying their registration in the Graduate School may be requested online.

The Registrar’s Office places the appropriate tuition charges on students’ term bills, and also handles petitions to add or drop a course, to schedule a make-up examination, and to apply for academic credit for work done elsewhere. Registration through the Tuition Assistance Program is handled by this office; for more information, please visit the website. This office is responsible for the listing of all prior degrees on a student’s GSAS transcript. Degree applications and PhD dissertations are submitted online to the Registrar’s Office.

Additional information about the Registrar’s services may be found online. The Registrar’s Office is wheelchair accessible.

TRANSCRIPTS AND STATEMENTS

Transcripts, letters of certification, and degree and enrollment verifications can be requested online at transcript.fas.harvard.edu.

Courses dropped by the ninth Tuesday of a term (the last day to drop a course) do not appear on a student’s record, but those from which a student is permitted to withdraw after that date do appear, with the notation WD in place of a grade.

All current courses will be dropped automatically for students who withdraw from the Graduate School before the drop deadline. If a student withdraws from the Graduate School after the deadline, current courses will remain on the transcript with a WD designation. The last working day prior to the first day of the examination period is the final day by which a student may withdraw and receive the notation WD in place of a grade.

Once a final degree is awarded, no change can be made in a transcript.

Transcripts can be ordered online through the Registrar’s website.

REGISTRATION CATEGORIES

All degree candidates must register continuously in one of the following registration categories until receipt of the degree:

Resident student: Students in the Boston area engaged primarily in degree work register in this category.

Traveling scholar: Students outside the Boston area engaged primarily in degree work register as traveling scholars by filing an application for non-resident status (see below).

Leave of absence: Degree candidates whose time will be devoted primarily to other than degree work register on leave of absence by filing an application for non-resident status (see below).

Studying at another Harvard school: Degree candidates registered in another Harvard school register in GSAS by filing an application for non-resident status.

The academic year (2013–2014) is divided into two registration periods: fall term, August 28–January 26; and spring term, January 27–August 26. Students who take Summer School courses register separately in the Summer School and pay the Summer School fees.

RESIDENT STUDENTS

Full-time resident degree candidates must register for four half-courses or the equivalent in TIME for each term. Ordinarily, students are not permitted to register for a fifth unit of TIME. Degree candidates may register for up to six half-courses in each term without payment of additional tuition. Additional courses are charged at the per-course rate.

Students may register for 100/1000-level or 200/2000-level courses, which are letter-graded courses of instruction, or for 300/3000-level courses, which may be individual courses of reading and research, graduate seminars, or direction of the dissertation. Courses at the 300/3000 level are graded only SAT or UNS.

At the discretion of departments, students may register for TIME as a means of indicating that appropriate independent work is replacing numbered courses. TIME is undertaken with a faculty advisor who must sign the study card. One unit of TIME is the equivalent of one half-course. TIME may serve to indicate that a student is engaged in full-time study even though the total of numbered courses enrolled for is fewer than four. Units of TIME are ungraded.

The guidelines for determining the three types of TIME are as follows: TIME-C, for course-related work; TIME-R, for research-related work; and TIME-T, for teaching fellow-related work. Students may register for TIME-C when independent work is being undertaken that is not specifically indicated in a numbered course. TIME-R may be used to indicate that research work is being undertaken that is not directly related to the student’s dissertation work (i.e., additional laboratory research for a faculty member). TIME-T may be used to indicate that a student has received a teaching appointment and is engaged in teaching a course. As it is inappropriate for graduate students to receive credit for the same work for which they are financially compensated, TIME-T should be used and not the course being taught.

A graduate student may register for courses, such as language courses, in the group labeled “Primarily for Undergraduates,” provided the student’s department approves such registration. Normally these courses may not be counted toward the minimum course requirements for a higher degree. The undergraduate pass-fail option is not open to graduate students. However, with the permission of the instructor, GSAS degree candidates may enroll in designated language courses on a SAT/UNS basis. See the Academic Calendar for the deadline to request this status. GSAS degree candidates who wish to enroll in one of the designated language courses on a SAT/UNS basis must file a petition with the Registrar’s Office. Language courses taken on a SAT/UNS basis may not be counted toward the minimum course requirements for a higher degree.

If a student’s program includes a half-course extending throughout the academic year (a so-called half course), the student must register for at least four additional half-courses in each term in order to maintain full-time status.

The same is true if a student is cross-registered in another faculty for a course with quarter-course credit only: the student must register for at least four additional half-courses.

Simultaneous Course Enrollment

Students ordinarily may not enroll in courses that meet at the same time or overlapping times. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that there is no overlap in the meeting times of his or her courses. Exceptions to this rule may be granted only by the Registrar and are rarely granted. Graduate students requesting exemption to this rule must file a petition with the Registrar’s Office. The petition must include the reason for the simultaneous enrollment and an explanation of how the work will be completed for both courses.

Students may audit courses with the permission of the instructors concerned. However, auditors may not take course examinations or receive course grades; audited courses do not appear on students’ transcripts.

Part-Time Students

A degree candidate may, under certain circumstances, petition the department and the GSAS Student Affairs Office for permission to work as a part-time student. These circumstances should represent changes that have occurred since initial enrollment. Part-time students are charged at the per-course rate (see Chapter IV). Students at the reduced or facilities tuition rate ordinarily do not consider part-time status. The tuition requirements are described in Chapter VIII. Usually, Harvard grants will be reduced to reflect part-time status.

Applications for part-time study are available from the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center or can be downloaded from the Web. Completed applications are due in that office by the date indicated in the Academic Calendar Chapter I). Separate applications must be filed for each academic year. On the application students should indicate the reasons that part-time status is sought and the number of courses for which they wish to register each term. Part-time study ordinarily is approved for the following reasons:

  1. having to care for small children at home;
  2. personal ill health;
  3. severe illness of other family members;
  4. extreme financial strain in cases in which the student has dependents.

 

In addition, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has provision for a limited number of students who are admitted to the Master of Science (SM) program to study on a part-time basis.

For information on health coverage for part-time students, please read Chapter XIII: Part-Time Students.

Foreign nationals with student visas who are not permanent residents of the United States may only register for part-time study if they are in their last term and have three or fewer courses remaining to complete their program. International students must have their part-time petitions signed by the Harvard International office.

NON-RESIDENT STUDENTS

There are three categories in which students may register with non-resident status: Traveling Scholar status, for students outside the Boston area who are engaged primarily in their degree work; Leave of Absence status, for degree candidates whose time will be devoted primarily to activities other than degree work; and GSAS degree candidates who are registered and studying at another Harvard school. Any student who is teaching more than three-fifths averaged over the year must be a teaching assistant instead of a teaching fellow, and must register on leave of absence rather than in residence.

Applying for Non-resident Status

Non-resident students register by filing applications for non-resident status with their departments; forms are available in the Dean’s Office, in most departments, and on the Non-Resident web page. Students may apply for non-resident status for a term or an academic year, but separate applications must be filed for each academic year. Applications must be approved by the student’s advisor, the departmental director of graduate studies, and the Dean’s Office. International students must obtain approval from the Harvard International office. Applications for non-resident status are due in department offices by July 1 for the fall term or academic year, and by December 2 for the spring term. After those dates the late registration fees apply. The student will be charged $50 plus $5 for each week that the application is late.

Applications will not be approved if a student has an outstanding term bill or is delinquent in repayment of a Harvard loan. When a student’s application is held up for such reasons, the date the bill is paid may be taken as the date of registration, with late fees charged accordingly. Any student who is not registered or has not been approved for non-resident status by September 12 in the fall or February 27 in the spring will have his or her tuition and health insurance fees removed from his or her term bill. See the Timeline of Non-Resident Process for details.

Students applying for non-resident status may request to delay payment of the required full or reduced tuition, and instead pay the active file fee or the facilities fee, ordinarily for a total of no more than two years prior to completion of the tuition requirements (see Chapter VIII). Students delaying payment of tuition should be aware that the required tuition, at the rates current at the time of payment, must be paid prior to the receipt of the degree (see Chapter VIII).

Once an application for non-resident status has been approved, there is a $30 processing fee if a student requests a change in tuition/fee charges.

Non-residency Fees

Degree candidates on leave of absence in the Boston area ordinarily are charged the facilities fee, rather than the active file fee, and retain resident privileges. If a student does not need access to Harvard facilities, faculty, or services for the period of leave, the student may request to be charged the active file fee. Degree candidates who are full-time Harvard employees and on leave of absence with GSAS are ordinarily charged the active file fee.

Non-resident students must pay the facilities fee during their final term in which they submit their dissertation.

Any student charged full or reduced tuition, or the facilities fee, is entitled to have a resident student identification card and to use University facilities. All non-resident students, irrespective of the fees paid, will continue to have email access. See Chapter VIII, Tuition and Fees.

Use of the Libraries

All registered students or students on leave paying the facilities fee receive unlimited library privileges and access to the HOLLIS catalog and library e-resources. Traveling scholars paying the active file fee will have access to HOLLIS catalog and library e-resources. Students on leave who pay the active file fee do not have library privileges or access to e-resources.

Any Harvard student on leave may apply for alumni privileges that include six days of Widener stack access within a twelve-month period from the date of application, unlimited use of all the reading rooms in Widener Library (including the ability to have books retrieved from the Widener stacks to the Phillips Reading Room), and access to Lamont Library, Cabot Library, Chemistry Library, Fine Arts Library, Harvard-Yenching Library, Loeb Music Library, Physics Library, and Tozzer Library. As a courtesy, six books may be checked out from Widener Library. Access to e-resources is always available at the terminals within the Harvard libraries.

If more access is needed, the student may purchase a Special Borrower card. Fees are as follows:

  • 3 mos @ $75.00
  • 6 mos @ $125.00
  • 1 year @ $200.00

 

Traveling scholars may receive a formal letter of introduction, the “Dazzler,” from the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center. This letter may be helpful in obtaining access to libraries, archives, and resources. (See www.gsas.harvard.edu.)

Restrictions

For information on HUSHP coverage for non-resident students, please read Chapter XIII: Non-Resident Students.

Immigration regulations require F-1 or J-1 visa holders to maintain full-time enrolled status while in the United States. F-1 or J-1 students who are considering applying for leave of absence or traveling scholar status must speak to an advisor in the Harvard International office, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center 864, 617-495-2789, and must obtain a signature of approval on the non-resident application, before submitting an application form.

Ordinarily, a student will not be granted non-resident status during his/her first year in the Graduate School and will be granted a leave of absence for only one year prior to the successful completion of general examinations. Only in unusual circumstances will an extension be considered. If a student has non-resident status for more than two years, the Dean’s Office will contact the department or committee to discuss the student’s situation.

Traveling scholars are expected to maintain contact with their advisors on a regular basis, and inform the advisors of their progress.

The registrar’s calculation of Graduate-year (G-year) does not stop while the student is non-resident. The department’s G-year clock may be stopped for up to one year for medically documented severe illness (documentation to be submitted to the Accessible Education Office), childbirth or other major, family-related interruptions, or for entering a PhD program from a GSAS AM program. An adjustment to the department G-year will be made for all the years that a student is on active service in the US military or is fully engaged in another Harvard School as an official participant in the MD-PhD or JD/PhD coordinated program. Students may take a leave of absence for such reasons after informing their advisor and departments and obtaining the approval of the Dean’s Office.

GSAS students who are registered in another Harvard school should not register in residence simultaneously in GSAS; rather, they should file an application for non-resident status with GSAS. Ordinarily, no GSAS fees are charged and scheduled tuition is delayed for terms in which a student is registered in residence at another Harvard School (see Chapter VIII). To receive a PhD degree from the Graduate School, these students will be responsible for paying two years of full tuition and two years of reduced tuition to GSAS unless the PhD degree is completed in fewer than four years from initial registration. The student’s year of graduate study is calculated from the first date of registration in GSAS and will include those terms for which the student is registered at another Harvard school. These students are responsible for GSAS tuition requirements outlined in Chapter VIII.

Repayment of educational loans cannot be deferred by students registered on leave of absence unless the students are simultaneously registered in another school. Harvard grants toward tuition usually are not available for students on leave of absence.

Students Leaving in Mid-Term: Students planning to depart on leave or travel midway through a term should register for the term either in residence or as a non-resident student paying the facilities fee. Those registered in residence should then apply for non-resident status for the remainder of the term, stating on the application when they plan to leave. Their charges can be adjusted as follows: Students leaving on or before November 5 in the fall or March 25 in the spring will be charged one-half the facilities fee for the term. Students leaving after November 5 in the fall or March 25 in the spring will be charged the full facilities fee for the term. Students should confirm the impact this will have on their health insurance coverage. Read Chapter XIII for details about the Student Health Program.

Students Returning to Resident Study in Mid-Term

Non-resident students who paid the active file fee but want to return between registration dates will remain non-resident but may recover their resident student identification card and regain access to all University facilities. All ID cards will be kept in the ID card office after registration day. Once a student has met his or her obligations, they may go to the Harvard Campus Service Center, 8th floor of Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, and pick up the ID card there. On or before November 5 in the fall or March 25 in the spring, a returning student must pay the full facilities fee for that term. After November 5 or March 25, the returning student pays one-half the facilities fee. In either case, the fees for the Harvard University Student Health Program (HUSHP) will be applied to the student’s term bill. Please read Chapter XIII for details about the Student Health Program.

Students Returning to Resident Study in Spring Term: (see Registration for Resident Students, Chapter V.)

WITHDRAWAL

A degree candidate who does not intend to register for a term should file a withdrawal notice with the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center. The date the student signs his/her withdrawal notice will in most cases be the effective date of the student’s withdrawal.

Students withdrawing in the middle of a term should see Chapter VIII.

Students who withdraw from the Graduate School and are later readmitted to the same PhD program are charged the active file fee for the intervening terms during which they were not registered.

If a student does not formally withdraw, but fails to register by September 14 in the fall or February 27 in the spring, tuition and fees will be removed from the term bill. If the student continues in a non-registered status, the student’s degree candidacy will be lapsed. Such students must apply for readmission to the Graduate School in order to register again. The student will be charged a $250 lapse-of-candidacy fee as well as the back active file fees if readmitted (as above).

Upon the recommendation of a department, the dean may advise a student that registration in the forthcoming term is not permitted and that degree candidacy is terminated (see Chapter VII).

DEPARTMENTAL WITHDRAWAL NOTICE

Ordinarily graduate students who have not met satisfactory progress requirements or who have not maintained contact with their departments for more than two terms are subject to being withdrawn from the program at the discretion of the department. The department will make a reasonable effort to contact the student to determine the steps necessary to obtain satisfactory progress. If the effort to make contact is unsuccessful or if the student continues to not make satisfactory progress, the student will then be withdrawn. Department withdrawal forms are available in the Student Affairs office, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, 617-495-1814. Students who are withdrawn by the department and would like to apply for readmission should consult the section on readmission in this chapter.

INVOLUNTARY LEAVES OF ABSENCE

The administrative dean of GSAS may place a student on involuntary leave of absence for the following reasons:

1. Medical circumstances: (a) The student poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the student or others or has seriously disrupted others in the student’s residential community or academic environment; and (b) the student’s behavior or threatening state is determined to be the result of a medical condition, or the student refuses to cooperate with efforts deemed necessary by the University Health Services to evaluate the cause of the student’s behavior or threatening state. In some circumstances, the level of care and accommodation may exceed the resources or appropriate staffing capabilities of a university or may be beyond the standard of care that a university health service can be expected to provide or monitor, in which case continued enrollment may constitute a serious disruption of the residential community or the academic environment, justifying an involuntary leave of absence.

2. Alleged criminal behavior: The student has been arrested on allegations of serious criminal behavior, or has been formally charged by law enforcement authorities with such behavior.

3. Risk to the community: The student has allegedly violated a disciplinary rule of GSAS and the administrative dean concludes that the student poses a significant risk to the safety or educational environment of the community.

Prior to placing a student on involuntary leave of absence, the administrative dean will consult with the dean for student affairs, with other officers of the University (for example, with the office of the director of Harvard University Health Services in the case of leave for medical reasons) or with the Administrative Board.

Students will be notified in writing of the decision to place them on involuntary leave of absence. The student may ask the dean, in writing or in person, to reconsider the decision. If the decision remains unchanged, the student may petition the Administrative Board.

Placement on involuntary leave of absence is not disciplinary, and a student who wishes to take a voluntary leave of absence rather than being placed on involuntary leave of absence will ordinarily be allowed to do so. Transcripts and other external reports will not distinguish between voluntary and involuntary leave of absence. However, an incident that gives rise to an involuntary leave of absence may subsequently result in disciplinary action.

A student who has been placed on involuntary leave of absence is subject to the same rules that apply to a student granted a voluntary leave of absence. Any student on a leave of absence must remain away from Harvard if so instructed by the administrative dean or the Administrative Board.

A student who has been placed on involuntary leave of absence and who subsequently petitions to return to GSAS will be required to demonstrate to the Administrative Board that the circumstances that led to the placement on leave of absence have been satisfactorily addressed. Any disciplinary matter must be resolved before a student on leave of absence will be allowed to return. If the leave was for medical reasons, evidence for the student’s readiness to return will include consultation with Harvard University Health Services so that the Health Services may advise the Board whether the medical condition that resulted in the behavior or threatening state is under control through treatment or no longer exists.

The decision whether to allow a student to return to GSAS rests with the Administrative Board.

READMISSION

Students who previously registered in GSAS long enough to have paid some tuition, who then were not registered for a full term or longer, and who wish to return to their same program in the Graduate School, should apply for readmission through the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center.

For application deadlines, see the readmission website. Students should check with their financial aid officer about financial aid. Applications must be supported by two new letters of recommendation, as well as by transcripts of any formal academic training taken since leaving the Graduate School. Readmission students should contact the original department to which they are applying to determine what additional supporting documentation should be submitted with their application. Consideration is given to the record of each applicant, the length of absence, the activities undertaken during the absence, and the number of student places available in the department. The student will need an advisor and where relevant a dissertation committee. The student will need to provide evidence of ability to pay tuition during the enrolled terms. A plan of study should be submitted to the department. Readmission, if approved, may be conditional, requiring performance of specific tasks at a specific standard, either prior to or following readmission. There is no application fee for applying for readmission. The Graduate School will not accept more than three applications for readmission from any individual during the course of his or her academic career.

Any student who was required to withdraw from the Graduate School (for any reason other than a G10 withdrawal) ordinarily may not submit an application for readmission until two academic terms have passed. If a student withdrew and needs to be readmitted in order to receive his or her degree, that student should complete a readmission for degree application and submit it with a letter from his or her advisor indicating that the student is ready to defend the dissertation.

Readmission applications can be downloaded from the website or are available in the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center.

FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR READMISSION

Students readmitted to the Graduate School, whether to the same degree program in which they were formerly enrolled or to a different one, receive financial credit for tuition paid when they were previously registered.

Students readmitted to the same PhD program in which they were formerly enrolled are charged the active file fee, at the rate current when readmission is approved, for the intervening terms since their last registration, with a maximum charge of $1,000. Students who failed to register for a term, without formally withdrawing from the Graduate School, are also charged a lapse-of-candidacy fee of $250. These fees, as well as any other indebtedness to the University or overdue loan payments, must be paid before readmission can be completed.

Students applying to re-enter the Graduate School in a program different from the one in which they were formerly enrolled are not charged the back active file fees. However, they must pay any outstanding University bills or overdue loan payments before they can be readmitted.

PROGRAMS OFFERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH OTHER FACULTIES

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences formally cooperates with other faculties and schools in several degree programs leading to a PhD, which is awarded by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Such PhD programs currently include: Business Economics and Organizational Behavior with the Business School; Political Economy and Government, Social Policy, and Public Policy with the Harvard Kennedy School; Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning with the School of Design; the Study of Religion with the Divinity School; the several medical sciences (DMS), Chemical Biology, and Systems Biology with the Medical School; Biophysics, Physics, Applied Physics, and Engineering with the Medical School and the Division of Health Sciences and Technology, MIT; Health Policy with the Medical School, the School of Public Health, the Harvard Kennedy School, the Business School and the Law School; Biological Sciences in Public Health and Biostatistics with the School of Public Health; and Biological Sciences in Dental Medicine with the School of Dental Medicine; and for the PhD in Education with the School of Education. (See Chapter VI for departmental requirements).

Students in such collaborative programs are PhD candidates, and as such are subject to the rules and regulations of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

MD-PhD SIMULTANEOUS DEGREE PROGRAM

A simultaneous degree program is one in which the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has agreed to integrate its PhD program with a professional degree program so that students pursue both degrees at the same time. Currently, the only such program is the MD-PhD program, in cooperation with the Harvard Medical School.

Students in the MD-PhD program should register as noted in the “Registration in Two Harvard Schools” section. This program is offered to students in the natural sciences and on a limited basis to students in the social sciences. Students applying for the MD-PhD Program in the social sciences need to make separate applications to HMS and to the GSAS PhD program of their choice. For information of the MD-PhD program contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . An adjustment will be made in the departmental G-year for the years a GSAS student is enrolled in the Medical School.

HARVARD INTEGRATED LIFE SCIENCES (HILS) PROGRAM

Harvard Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) is a federation of Harvard life sciences PhD programs, departments, and subject areas that facilitates cross-disciplinary academic and research collaboration, supports student mobility, and encourages extracurricular participation by its student, faculty, and staff members.

HILS brings together faculty and students from twelve PhD programs across four Harvard faculties: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the School of Dental Medicine, the Medical School, and the School of Public Health. This structure allows the examination of—and provides research opportunities in—emerging interdisciplinary areas of investigation in the life sciences. HILS oversees and supports programs and subject areas leading to the PhD in:

  • biological sciences in dental medicine
  • biophysics
  • chemistry and chemical biology
  • molecular and cellular biology
  • organismic and evolutionary biology
  • virology

 

These academic areas represent the depth and breadth of current thinking in the life sciences. Please visit each program’s website for further details. Additional information about HILS can also be found on the HILS website.

JD/PHD COORDINATED PROGRAM

Program Summary

Students completing the Coordinated Program receive a JD from Harvard Law School and a PhD from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Coordinated JD/PhD Program is available to all students who have the support of a GSAS advisor and who apply to and are admitted to both schools as discussed further below. Students who wish to explore the coordinated program are encouraged to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , director of special academic programs at the Law School, or Patrick O’Brien, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at GSAS.

Prospective students must apply to and be separately admitted to both the Law School and a GSAS PhD program before participating in the Coordinated JD/PhD Program. Students may apply to both schools during the same admissions year, or may apply to the second school while enrolled at the first. In order to participate in the Coordinated Program, current Law School students must apply and be admitted to GSAS during the 1L or 2L year. Similarly, current GSAS students must apply and be admitted to the Law School during the G1, G2, or G3 year, in order to be eligible for the Coordinated Program.

Once a student has been admitted to both programs, he or she completes a plan of study, which must be approved by the student’s GSAS advisor and Law School advisor or Law School Professor Matthew Stephenson. Submission of this plan of study to GSAS and the Law School confirms enrollment in the coordinated program, assuming the student has met the eligibility requirement discussed above. Students will be registered in only one school during any given term. Students admitted to the coordinated program are required to spend five terms in residence at the Law School, rather than the traditional six terms, and to pay five terms of Law School tuition. Once the Law School 1L year is completed, students in the coordinated program may take a semester at GSAS, completing courses or dissertation writing pre-approved by the Law School, and equivalent to at least ten Law School credits in lieu of the sixth Law School semester generally required of JD students. Students will be eligible for Law School financial aid during the five terms in which they are enrolled and pay tuition there. Additional JD/PhD funding for law school tuition and fees not otherwise covered by need-based aid may be awarded on a competitive basis to eligible JD/PhD students. Students will be eligible for GSAS funding during the terms they are enrolled in GSAS, following the standard pattern of funding for students in the social sciences and the humanities. An adjustment will be made in the departmental G-year for the years a GSAS student is enrolled in the Law School. For more information about the coordinated program, please see the online Law School JD/PhD description or GSAS JD/PhD description.

REGISTRATION IN TWO HARVARD SCHOOLS

No student registered in GSAS shall at the same time be registered in any school or college either of Harvard University or of any other institution. GSAS students may not be simultaneously enrolled in two PhD programs at Harvard or elsewhere. Nor may a student be enrolled in more than one degree program within GSAS. Students ordinarily may receive the PhD degree from only one program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. If the student at the time of admission has plans to enroll in another program, those plans should be discussed with the department or committee before the student accepts the offer of admission.

GSAS students enrolled in two Harvard degree programs should not register simultaneously in residence in the two faculties. When registered in another Harvard school, a GSAS degree candidate should file an application for non-resident status with GSAS (see Chapter V, Non-Resident Students). Ordinarily, no GSAS fees are charged for terms in which a student is registered in residence in another Harvard school. Students may defer the payment of GSAS tuition, but they are responsible for meeting GSAS academic and tuition requirements before they receive their degree (see Chapter VIII). GSAS students who wish to take a course in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences while their primary registration is in another Harvard school should do so by cross-registering back into FAS. The registrar’s calculation of Graduate-year (G-year) does not stop while the student is non-resident in GSAS and attending another Harvard school. The student’s year of graduate study is calculated from the first date of registration in GSAS and will include those terms for which the student is registered at another Harvard school.

CREDIT FOR GRADUATE WORK DONE ELSEWHERE

A PhD student who has completed at least one full term of satisfactory work in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may file an application at the Registrar’s Office requesting that work done in a graduate program elsewhere be counted toward the academic residence requirement. No more than the equivalent of eight half-courses may be so counted for the PhD. An application for academic credit for work done elsewhere must contain a list of the courses, with grades, for which the student is seeking credit, and must be approved by the student’s department. In order for credit to be granted, official transcripts showing the courses for which credit is sought must be submitted to the registrar, unless they are already on file with the Graduate School. No guarantee is given in advance that such an application will be granted. Applications are available in the student’s department.

Only courses taken in a Harvard AB-AM or AB-SM program, in Harvard Summer School, as a Special Student in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, or FAS courses taken as an employee under the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) may be counted toward the minimum academic residence requirements for a master’s degree.

Academic and financial credit for courses taken as a FAS Special Student or FAS courses taken as a Harvard employee prior to admission to a degree program may be granted for a maximum of four half-courses toward a one-year master’s and eight half-courses toward a two-year master’s or the PhD degree. Applications for academic and financial credit must be approved by the student’s department and should then be filed with the Registrar’s Office.

HARVARD SUMMER SCHOOL
51 Brattle Street
617-495-4024
www.summer.harvard.edu

The Harvard Summer School offers semester-long courses during a seven-week session. Students enrolled in the graduate school may, with the approval of their departments, take Summer School courses for academic credit toward a higher degree. A separate application must be made and tuition paid to the Summer School. Tuition paid to the Summer School does not count toward the minimum financial requirements for graduate degrees. GSAS doctoral students may apply for a Harvard Summer School Tuition Waiver. For details, go to the GSAS fellowship website, Harvard Fellowships.

GSAS students may obtain academic credit toward a higher degree for work done in the Summer School. The student must file an application at the Registrar’s Office, Application for Academic Credit for Work Done Elsewhere, requesting that the work be counted toward the higher degree. Courses taken at the Harvard Summer School following a student’s registration in GSAS will be listed on the student’s GSAS transcript. Summer School courses taken prior to registration in GSAS will not be listed, but a notation that credit was granted for courses taken at the Summer School will appear on the transcript.

Although no academic credit is granted for them, courses offered by the Institute for English Language Programs (IEL) can be useful to international students. For information about IEL Programs, visit www.iel.harvard.edu. Students should inquire at the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center for more details.

Complete Summer School information is available at www.summer.harvard.edu or 51 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, 617-495-4024.

HARVARD EXTENSION SCHOOL
51 Brattle Street
617-495-4024
www.summer.harvard.edu

The Harvard Extension School offers reasonably priced evening courses for students who are unable to take full-time academic programs. Extension School courses may not be counted toward higher degrees granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, but only toward the Extension School undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate programs. However, some graduate students find these courses useful in preparing for language examinations or to fill other educational needs. Harvard Extension School courses are not part of Harvard cross-registration. GSAS students interested in taking these courses must register and pay full tuition.

In particular, international students may find courses offered by the IEL useful. For information about IEL, visit www.iel.harvard.edu. Students should inquire at the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center for more details.

Complete Extension School information is available at www.extension.harvard.edu or 51 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, 617-495-4024.

REGISTRATION FOR RESIDENT STUDENTS

Resident students are expected to register online at the beginning of each term by the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar (Chapter I). (Special Students should contact the Special Students and Visiting Fellows office for possible variations.) Online registration is available at the my.harvard.edu portal. Students must satisfy any holds placed on their registration prior to the registration deadline. The late registration fee is $50.00 during the first week and increases by $5 for each additional week. Students who know in advance that their academic work will delay their return to Cambridge more than three weeks past registration should file an application for non-resident status by the July 1 deadline. Non-resident students can retain resident student privileges as indicated earlier in this chapter.

A student registering late for a term is charged tuition from the beginning of the term.

All international students registering in the Graduate School for the first time, or reregistering after an absence of one or more terms, must report to the Harvard International office, Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, eighth floor, before registration. Upon presentation of their passport and entry permit, or other evidence of immigration status, they will receive a clearance for registration.

Student identification cards are available at orientation/DudleyFest. Students should note that use of a Harvard ID card is limited to the person to whom it is issued. The loan or any other unauthorized use of the card will render the rightful bearer liable to disciplinary action. If an ID card is lost, there is a replacement fee of $25 for each replacement.

Students must file a study card each term by the date indicated in the Academic Calendar (see Chapter I). Study cards may be filed at the Registrar’s Office prior to the day on which they are due in Dudley House, Lehman Hall. If a student registers late, the study card is due within five working days of registration. The study card must list at least four half-courses or the equivalent in TIME, unless an application for part-time study has been approved. Instructions explaining the process of obtaining signatures on the study card are provided with the study cards. Students should contact their departments or the Registrar’s Office to determine which signatures are required. The fine for late filing of study cards is $40 per week or part of a week late. Any study card filed after the prescribed date must bear the instructor’s signature for each course listed. Degree candidates may register for up to six half-courses in each term without payment of additional tuition. Additional courses are charged at the per course rate.

The seventh Monday of a term is the last day students may register for courses; after that date they may register for TIME only.

Resident students who will continue in residence for the spring term must register online by the date indicated in the Academic Calendar (see Chapter I) and file a study card by the designated date. Students must have paid all outstanding University bills, including spring term tuition, in order to be allowed to register.

Students who had non-resident status for the fall term but are returning for the spring must register online by the day indicated in the Academic Calendar, and then file a study card by the designated date. Late fees apply as in the fall.

At the time of registration, Voter Registration Affidavit forms will be available for those students who wish to register to vote in Massachusetts. Students may also obtain information on voter registration online.

CROSS-REGISTRATION INTO COURSES OFFERED BY OTHER FACULTIES

Through cross-registration, GSAS students may take courses given by other Harvard faculties (except for the Harvard Extension School and the Harvard Summer School), and courses given by the Episcopal Divinity School, the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Brown University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Special Students should contact the Special Students office for possible variations.)

The following limitations govern courses taken for academic credit by cross-registration:

  1. They usually may not represent more than one-half the student’s total program of study in any term.
  2. They must be of an advanced nature, i.e., equivalent to this faculty’s courses “For Undergraduates and Graduates” or “Primarily for Graduates.” In the case of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they cannot be graduate courses of reading and research.
  3. Students may not cross-register for courses so crowded that the additional enrollment by cross-registration would create an undue burden on the instructors.
  4. The courses must cover subjects not available under this faculty.
  5. They must not constitute a program that is alien to the program in which the student is formally registered.

 

All GSAS students who cross-register at another school must complete the online cross-registration petition.

Please refer to the Cross-Registration website for all cross-registration dates, deadlines, and forms.

Please note that some schools have additional short terms for some courses. Confirm the credit value of the course at the web site linked above.

Students taking courses outside the Faculty of Arts and Sciences by cross-registration are subject to all the rules and regulations of GSAS as well as those of the other school. It is the student’s responsibility to find out about the grading policy of other Harvard schools or other institutions. The students are graded according to the other school’s grading policy. Students should note that all courses listed in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Courses of Instruction must be taken through GSAS, and graded accordingly, even though they may also be listed in another school’s catalogue. Only courses not listed in the Courses of Instruction may be taken by cross-registration and graded according to the other school’s system.

Full-time GSAS students who cross-register in other schools must maintain the equivalent of at least four half-courses in each term (see this chapter, Resident Students). GSAS students who wish to change their programs after filing the cross-registration petition must file a petition to add or drop a course with the FAS Registrar, who will notify the other school. GSAS students must comply with GSAS deadlines for such things as adding and dropping courses and petitioning for extensions of time to complete incomplete grades, unless the other school’s deadlines are earlier. GSAS students should also confirm these deadlines with the Registrar at the other school. GSAS students who cross-register into full-year courses must file both fall and spring term cross-registration petitions.

Full-time students in the professional schools of Harvard University, and in the Episcopal Divinity School, the Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Brown University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology may take courses offered by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Students taking courses in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences may register for 100/1000-level or 200/2000-level courses, which are letter-graded courses of instruction, or for 300/ 3000-level courses, which may be individual courses of reading and research, graduate seminars, or direction of the dissertation. Courses at the 300/3000 level are graded only SAT or UNS. The option to enroll in designated language courses on a SAT/UNS basis is not open to cross-registered students.

Students in other schools taking courses in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences must comply with GSAS regulations concerning examinations, make-up examinations, and the completion of incomplete grades (see section, Grade and Examination Requirements, in this chapter). Students who wish to make a change in courses after the original cross-registration petition has been submitted should notify their own registrar, who will inform the FAS Registrar. All of the above must conform to GSAS deadlines, unless a student’s own school’s deadlines are earlier.

THE EXCHANGE SCHOLAR PROGRAM

The Exchange Scholar Program enables a PhD candidate to study at one of the other participating graduate schools for a limited period of time (usually no more than one academic year), so as to take advantage of particular educational opportunities not available on the home campus. The courses taken for credit and/or research conducted at the host institution will be listed on the student’s academic record at the home institution. Exchange scholars are generally accorded all the benefits available to the host institution’s resident graduate students, and receive a student identification card that permits access to libraries, laboratories, health services, and athletic facilities.

Harvard exchange scholars visiting elsewhere are charged the appropriate GSAS resident tuition. They retain eligibility for Harvard tuition and stipend grants. Harvard exchange scholars are charged the HUSHP fees, which will remain on their term bill unless these fees are waived.

GSAS exchange scholars and exchange scholars from other universities should read Chapter XIII: Exchange Scholars for information on health coverage and waiver information.

Exchange scholar agreements currently exist between the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and: University of California, Berkeley; Brown University; University of Chicago; Columbia University; Cornell University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Pennsylvania; Princeton University; Stanford University; and Yale University.

Exchange scholar applications are available from the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center and online. Applicants should describe what is to be studied, where, when, and with whom.

The application must be approved by the applicant’s academic advisor, department chair or director of graduate studies, and dean at the home institution. The application is then forwarded to the host institution for approval of the professors with whom work is to be done, the department chair or director of graduate studies, and the dean. Applications should be completed two months before the registration date of the host school. Students considering this status should inform their host department of their interest and if possible find an appropriate advisor in that department prior to submitting their application. Indicate on the application the host advisor’s name.

If an exchange scholar would like to participate in a program for more than two terms, the student should arrange to have his/her advisors at the host and home institutions write letters to Patrick O’Brien, GSAS assistant dean of student affairs, explaining the student’s activities at the host institution and why continuing at that institution would be in the student’s best academic interest. The student should also complete and submit a new exchange scholar application. Students who have an advisor recruited by the host institution should indicate on their initial application their planned length of stay.

CERTIFICATE IN TEACHING ENGLISH TO SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES

The job-market for graduates in several fields has become difficult at a time when classrooms across America are enrolling increasing numbers of non-native speakers of English. Moreover, the global importance of English in industry and commerce is fueling interest in education via the English language in all phases of education around the world.

These trends suggest that Harvard graduate students who are planning to become educators—whether in the USA or abroad, and at all levels of instruction—might enhance their career prospects and professional success by adequately preparing themselves to teach English as well as other subjects to non-native speakers. The course of study leading to the Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CITESOL) offers precisely such an opportunity free of charge to all PhD candidates in GSAS.

The CITESOL program, which is meant to be taken over the course of fifteen months, involves applied linguistics training and practice during the course of the PhD studies of GSAS students who have completed their general exams. Students in the program take four courses, including a practicum in teaching.

Students completing these requirements work with full-time IEL instructors in the subsequent Harvard Summer School session to acquire classroom experience in the context of an intensive ESOL program before receiving the Certificate at Commencement in the following spring.

Interested students should complete an application available from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and submit it along with a current c.v. and a letter of recommendation from their department by January 17, 2014.

Questions about the application process should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (617-495-2947) or the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (617-495-1814).

VARIATIONS IN PROGRAM

Changing Courses During Term

To change a course after the study card has been filed, a student must file a petition to change a course during the term with the registrar. (Special Students should file petitions at Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center 350.) There is a fee schedule listed in the Academic Calendar.

Students must obtain the instructor’s signature in order to add a course or TIME. The seventh Monday of a term is the last day a student may add a course; thereafter only TIME may be added. The ninth Tuesday of a term is the last day to drop a course. The instructor’s signature is not required to drop a course; however, unless the course being dropped is a fifth course, students must add another course or TIME in order to maintain registration at the four-course level. A course that is dropped by the deadline will not appear on a student’s record.

The ninth Tuesday of the spring term is the last day students may elect to divide a full course with half-course credit for the fall term and receive the mid-year grade as the fall-term grade. Petition forms are available in the Registrar’s Office; the instructor’s signature is required. Students may not divide with credit courses designated in Courses of Instruction as “indivisible.”

If a student wishes to postpone taking the spring-term half of an indivisible full course or an half course, that half may be “suspended,” with the instructor’s permission, by filing a petition to add or drop a course by the deadline for dropping a course in the spring. The student may then take the second half at a later time and petition to “combine” both halves of the course for one grade.

Students who wish to add or withdraw from a course after the deadlines for adding or dropping courses must file a petition with the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, available online. Such petitions ordinarily are approved only in cases of serious illness or emergency or other exceptional circumstances. There is a $50 fee for petitions filed and approved after the deadlines.

If a petition to withdraw from a course after the drop deadline is approved, the course will appear on the student’s record with the notation WD in place of a grade, indicating that the student withdrew from the course. Students may petition to withdraw from a course through the last working day before the first day of the examination period.

Change of Subject

Each degree candidate is admitted to work toward a specific degree in a specific discipline under a specific department. A student who wishes to work toward a degree at the same level in a different subject within the department to which he or she was admitted should file an application for change of subject with the registrar.

Transfer to a Different Degree or Department

To change degree or to transfer to a different department or committee, a degree candidate should complete a GSAS online application.

Courses completed for a master’s degree in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences may count toward academic requirements for the PhD at the discretion of the department.

A student who transfers from a GSAS master’s degree program to a PhD program receives financial credit toward the PhD tuition requirements. A student transferring from one GSAS PhD program to another also receives financial credit for tuition previously paid. Graduate students are permitted to apply only three times as a transfer/ readmit student to other programs and only twice during one admissions season.

GRADE AND EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS

THE GRADING SYSTEM

Letter Grades

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences uses the following letter grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, E. The grade of E is a failing grade.

Non-letter Grades

ABS      Students who miss a regularly scheduled mid-year or final examination, arranged by the Office of the Registrar during the mid-year or final examination period, are given a failing grade of ABS, which will be changed only if the student is granted and takes a make-up examination. The grade of ABS should not be assigned to students who miss an examination administered by the course. (See Examination Requirements below.)

EXC      Graduate students may be excused from a final examination or other course assignment by their division, department, or committee chairs on the basis of having passed departmental examinations or other requirements. At the written request of a chair, the registrar records the grade of EXC (Excused). If students elect to take the final examination and complete the course, they receive a letter grade.

INC      A graduate student who receives a grade of INC (Incomplete), which is granted only at the discretion of the instructor, must complete the work of the incomplete course before the end of the term following that in which the course was taken, even if the student’s registration status during that term is leave of absence, unless she or he is given an earlier deadline by the instructor. If the work is not submitted by that time, the INC becomes a permanent grade, unless the student has petitioned successfully for an extension. Petition forms may be obtained from the registrar, the Dean’s Office in Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, or on the GSAS website; the fee for each approved petition is $15. Students should discuss the completion date with the instructor. A petition should not be submitted until the student knows that the work will be completed by the agreed upon date. Petitions must be approved by the instructor, the director of graduate studies, and the student affairs office. Petitions ordinarily are granted only in cases involving serious illness or other unforeseen events beyond the control of the student. Extensions, when granted, ordinarily will not exceed one additional term. INC grades incurred in cross-registered courses in another school are subject to GSAS rules and deadlines unless the other school’s deadlines are earlier. Extensions must be approved both by GSAS and by the other school. Incomplete grades cannot be changed once a final degree has been awarded.

SAT/UNS      For graduate students, Satisfactory indicates that the course was passed with distinction (B- or above). The grade of SAT/UNS is used in graduate courses of Reading and Research (300-level courses) which must be graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. SAT/UNS is also an option for GSAS degree candidates in some foreign language courses. Permission of the course head is required to take language courses on a SAT/UNS basis. These courses may not be counted toward the minimum course requirements for a higher degree. See the academic calendar for relevant deadlines.

GRADE REQUIREMENTS

The minimum standard for satisfactory work in the Graduate School is a B average in each academic year. A grade of C or INC is offset by a grade of A, and a D by two A’s; no account is taken of plus or minus. Grades of E or an unexcused ABS are failing. A grade of UNS is unsatisfactory. A course in which a student receives an E or a permanent INC or ABS may be retaken for credit at a later time, in which case both grades will appear on the student’s transcript. The pass/fail grading option is not available to graduate students. In many departments, students are expected to maintain an average well above the GSAS minimum (see Degree Requirements, Chapter VI).

Until September 2003, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences used a 15-point scale for averaging its letter grades: A=15, A-=14, B+=12, B=11, B-=10, C+=8, C=7, C-=6, D+=4, D=3, D-=2. E, ABS, and UNS = 0. B average is numerically represented by 11.

Beginning in September 2003, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences replaced the 15-point scale for averaging its letter grades with a 4-point scale: A=4.00, A-=3.67, B+ =3.33, B=3.00, B-=2.67, C+=2.33, C=2.00, C-=1.67, D+=1.33, D=1.00, D-=0.67, E, ABS, and UNS=0. The grade-point average will continue to be the numerical average of all grades.

EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS

To obtain credit in a course for which there is a regularly scheduled final examination, or both a mid-year and a final examination arranged by the office of the Registrar, a student must take such examinations unless previously excused by the department (see Non-letter Grades, above). A student absent from a final examination because of illness must fill out a petition for a make-up examination at the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) within twenty-four hours of the beginning of the examination. In an emergency, if the student is unable to go to HUHS, or is being treated elsewhere, the petition may be requested from the Registrar’s Office; in this case, the student must also file a letter from a physician certifying the date and nature of the illness. Students who are unable to take an examination at the scheduled time due to a documented condition should contact the Accessible Education Office as soon as the need is apparent to discuss make-up examination accommodations and procedures.

Students who must be absent for reasons other than illness, such as a death in the family or a reason of similar gravity, should obtain a make-up petition from the Registrar’s Office. All make-up petitions must be filed with the Exams Office within one week of the end of the examination period. Students who do not take the regularly scheduled final examination in a course receive a grade of ABS (Absent), unless excused by their department (see Non-letter Grades, above). A grade of ABS is permanent on a student’s record if a make-up petition is not filed or not granted, or if the make-up examination is not attended. Make-up examinations are given in February for fall term final examinations and in September for spring term final examinations.

Students who, for sufficient reason, cannot be in Cambridge at the time of a final or make-up examination may petition to take the examination in another place. In absentia petitions and information are available at the Registrar’s Office. Completed petitions must be filed thirty days before the regularly scheduled examination date.

STORM AND EMERGENCY CONDITIONS

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences rarely cancels classes. However, faculty and section leaders who need to commute should not put themselves in danger during serious storms, and may choose to cancel their individual classes. Students may find the following information helpful:

  • Graduate students who decide that they cannot make it to class should consult the course materials for instructions on informing the course’s instructional staff of planned absences from class. If such procedures have not been provided, then the student should inform the instructor or the teaching fellow of the planned absence by email or by telephone.
  • Students may find instructions in the course materials that indicate how the instructional staff would inform students of the cancellation of a class or section meeting. For example, many courses inform students of the cancellation via an announcement posted at the course’s home page on the Web, via an email to the class attendees, or by leaving a message on the voice mail system of a centralized departmental telephone. FAS offices and academic departments will be open depending on staff availability and whether there are critical functions in progress. Call the central number for that office before going there.

Final examinations and make-up examinations are never cancelled and students should report to their examination rooms on time.

On the very rare occasion when FAS cancels classes, an announcement will be posted at emergency.harvard.edu and the University website (my.harvard.edu).

PRIVACY AND DIRECTORY INFORMATION

Harvard policy protects the privacy of students. Generally, only directory information is available. Directory information includes a student’s full name, reported date of birth, dates of attendance, digitized image (note that although Harvard classifies photos and images as directory information, these are rarely released to parties outside the University without the student’s permission), local address and telephone number, email address, undergraduate college, hometown or city at time of application for admission, and dates of degrees received or expected with field and department of study, University prizes, fellowships, and similar honors awarded.

A student may choose not to allow the release of his or her directory information, in which case the Registrar’s Office will omit all the information listed above from records containing directory information. However, the student must inform the Registrar’s Office, in writing, of that decision. Students should be aware of the possible consequences of withholding directory information, such as missed mailings, messages, and announcements, non-verification of enrollment or degree status, and non-inclusion in the Harvard Commencement booklet. All other educational records are routinely available only to University officers and staff with a legitimate need for access. Exceptions to this firm policy, such as those in connection with judicial proceedings, are very limited and are permitted only when authorized by law and by Harvard policy.

ACCESS TO STUDENT RECORDS

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (“FERPA”) is a federal law that gives students certain rights with respect to their education records.

Education Records

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences (FAS), which includes both Harvard College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, routinely maintains records for its students that describe and document their work and progress. These education records generally include records such as permanent and local addresses, admissions records, enrollment status, course grades, reports and evaluations, completion of requirements and progress toward the degree, records of disciplinary actions, letters of recommendation, and other correspondence with or concerning the student.

Access

To be useful, students’ records must be accurate and complete. The officials who maintain them are those in charge of the functions reflected in the records and the offices where the records are kept. These ordinarily include the Registrar of FAS, as well as certain officers of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard College, and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, including, for example, the divisional deans, the chairs of academic departments and/or concentration committees, the director of admissions, the dean of freshmen, the Allston Burr resident deans, and the head tutors or directors of undergraduate studies, the GSAS dean of admissions and financial aid, and the GSAS dean for student affairs. All students have access to their own education records and may contribute to them if they feel there is need for clarification. Students wishing access to their education records should contact the FAS Registrar’s Office or the GSAS Office of Student Affairs. Ordinarily, students are asked to submit a written request that identifies the specific record or records he/she wishes to inspect. Access will be given within 45 days from the receipt of the request. When a record contains information about more than one student, the student requesting access may inspect and review only the portion of the record relating to him or her. Students also are not permitted to view letters and statements of recommendation to which they waived their right of access, or that were placed in their file before January 1, 1975.

The Graduate School’s policy is that letters of recommendation for admission are to be used only for the purpose for which they were intended. Exceptions to this policy may be made only upon written request of the student and receipt of the written permission of the recommender. Students who are applying for fellowships and prizes may consider establishing a dossier with the Office of Career Services.

Students should direct any questions they have about the accuracy of records to the person in charge of the office where the records are kept. If questions still remain, the matter may be referred to the Associate Registrar for Enrollment Services in the FAS Registrar’s Office. Should it be necessary, a hearing may be held to resolve challenges concerning the accuracy of records in those cases where informal discussions have not satisfactorily settled the raised questions.

Directory Information

The Faculty of Arts & Sciences regards the following information as directory information, that is, information that, under FERPA, can be made available to the general public: full name, reported date of birth, dates of attendance, concentration, class year, digitized image (please note that while Harvard classifies photos and images as directory information, these are rarely released to parties outside the University without the student’s permission), local or campus residence address and telephone number, university email address, secondary school (for college students), undergraduate college (for GSAS students), hometown or city at the time the application for admission was filed by the student, original class at time of matriculation, degree candidate status, date of graduation (actual or expected), degree(s) received with field of concentration and level of honors granted (if any), department of study, University prizes, fellowships, and similar honors awarded, and, in certain cases, students’ and parents’ or guardians’ home addresses and telephone numbers. For Harvard College, directory information also includes: House affiliation, and height and weight of members of athletic teams. Please note that Harvard University’s definition of directory information, found here, may include elements in addition to those used by FAS, and that requests for directory information received at the University level thus may result in disclosure of such additional elements.

Students may direct FAS not to disclose their directory information, usually known as putting in place a “FERPA Block.” To do so, a student must inform the FAS Registrar’s Office in person, and sign a form requesting that the information be blocked. Students should be aware of the possible consequences of putting in place a FERPA Block, such as missed mailings, messages, and announcements, non-verification of enrollment or degree status, and non-inclusion in the Harvard Commencement booklet. Students who have previously chosen to put in place a FERPA Block may decide to reverse this decision, also by informing the FAS Registrar’s Office in writing.

Other Disclosures permitted under FERPA

In addition to permitting the disclosure of directory information, as set forth above, FERPA permits disclosure of educational records without a student’s knowledge or consent under certain circumstances. For example, disclosure is permitted to Harvard officials with a legitimate educational interest in the records, meaning that the person needs the information in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibilities, including instructional, supervisory, advisory, administrative, academic or research, staff support or other duties. “Harvard officials” include: faculty; administrators; clerical employees; professional employees; Harvard University Health Services staff members; Harvard University Police Department officers; agents of the University, such as independent contractors performing functions on behalf of FAS or the University; members of Harvard’s governing boards; and students serving on an official FAS, College, GSAS or University committee, or assisting another Harvard official in performing his or her tasks. A student’s education record also may be shared with parties outside the University under certain conditions, including, for example, in situations involving a health and safety emergency. In addition, the FAS Registrar’s Office will forward a student’s education records to other agencies or institutions that have requested the records and in which the student seeks or intends to enroll or is already enrolled so long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.

If either Harvard College or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences finds that a student has committed a disciplinary violation involving a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, then FAS also may, if legally permitted and appropriate in the judgment of Harvard College or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, disclose certain information about the disciplinary case. The disclosure may include the student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanction imposed.

Student Rights under FERPA

As set forth above, under both Harvard policy and FERPA, students and former students may inspect and review certain of their education records that are maintained by Harvard. They also have the right to: exercise limited control over other people’s access to their education records; seek to correct their education records if they believe them to be inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of their FERPA rights; file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they believe Harvard has not complied with the requirements of FERPA; and be fully informed of their rights under FERPA. Complaints regarding alleged violation of rights of students under FERPA may be submitted in writing within 180 days to the Family Policy Compliance Office, US Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-5920.

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