The Graduate School tries to ensure that all students will have sufficient resources from Harvard or other sources to support them while they work toward their degrees. Awards include support for tuition, fees, and living expenses in the form of grants, loans, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and work-study jobs and are based on merit as well as need-related considerations. Approximately ninety-five percent of all graduate students receive financial support from Harvard or other sources.

The Financial Aid office staff provides information and counseling regarding costs and potential resources. Students are urged to consult the financial aid officer for their department.

Incoming students should follow instructions and, if appropriate, apply for financial aid by filing the Statement of Financial Resources included with the admissions application. Continuing students apply for aid by completing the GSAS financial aid application, due January 3, 2013.

First- and second-year students may receive grants to cover living expenses as well as tuition and fees. Ordinarily, students in the third and fourth years receive a fellowship that pays for tuition with living expense costs provided by teaching, research, or loans. Students must be making satisfactory progress, as defined by the academic department, to receive financial aid.


See Chapter XI, Director of Fellowships.


The GSAS considers teaching experience to be an integral part of graduate student education. Accordingly, teaching is a formal requirement in many GSAS departments and strongly encouraged in others. Specific departmental requirements are stated clearly in each department’s description in GSAS Programs of Study and in Chapter VI of the GSAS Handbook.

Teaching fellows (TFs) teach part-time as part of their training toward the PhD or, exceptionally, toward a master’s degree. Ordinarily, TFs must be registered as full-time resident students and be making satisfactory progress toward their degree. They are charged the appropriate resident tuition.

Graduate students are normally given the opportunity to teach at least sixteen “term fifths” during their degree programs. (A “fifth” is a fraction of time that represents twenty percent of a full-time teaching workload.) Ordinarily, a “fifth” is the equivalent of teaching one section in a lecture course. As a general rule, TFs should expect to spend roughly ten hours per week teaching, preparing and correcting class work, and advising students for every “fifth” assigned. Graduate student teaching is supervised and regularly evaluated by the faculty. The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning also offers valuable teacher training.

PhD candidates in the Humanities and Social Sciences ordinarily do not teach until their third (G3) year. A second-year student may request permission to teach by sending a request to the Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid that describes the academic basis for an exception and is accompanied by the endorsement of his or her advisor. Second-year students in the Humanities and Social Sciences should not commit to a teaching appointment without prior approval. Ordinarily, a second-year student will be limited to 1/5 teaching per term or 2/5 in one term with no teaching in the other term of the academic year. Second-year students in the Natural Sciences should refer to their program’s teaching policy and consult their primary advisor to confirm their eligibility to accept a teaching position. First-year graduate students are not ordinarily eligible for appointments as teaching fellows. Exceptions to this rule may be granted to students who are certified as proficient in English and registered in certain natural science departments that have traditionally used TFs in their first year of graduate study.

After the second year, graduate students who have not completed their academic residence requirements (a minimum of two years of full-time study in residence) and who have not passed their departmental PhD qualifying examinations may hold up to a maximum of a 2/5 time teaching fellowship. Graduate students who have completed both their academic residence requirements and passed their departmental PhD qualifying examinations may hold up to a maximum of a 6/5 time teaching fellowship for the academic year. No graduate student may hold more than a 4/5 time appointment in any one term. Graduate students teaching more than 6/5 during the academic year must register to be on Leave of Absence rather than In Residence.

The 2013–2014 teaching fellow stipend for students who have completed their academic residence requirements is $5,050 for each “term fifth.” For students in the first two years of graduate study, the 2013-14 teaching fellow stipend is $4,460 for each “term fifth.”

Each department has its own procedures for appointing teaching fellows, but all are expected to post their available positions each year. Students apply for consideration by submitting a written request to the appropriate department officer, course head, or, in the case of General Education courses, the administrative director of the Program in General Education.

Since 2007 GSAS requires that, prior to serving as teaching fellows, all incoming PhD students who are non-native speakers of English and who have earned their undergraduate degrees from non-English-speaking institutions must demonstrate oral English language proficiency based on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (iBT) speaking score. If the student has not met the English language requirement based on the TOEFL score, the student must take English coursework approved by GSAS. For more information on this requirement, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the GSAS Student Affairs Office (617-495-1816).

In addition, all international students should be aware that immigration regulations limit their employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session. Under the regulations, this limitation also applies to teaching fellowships and research assistantships. Therefore, international students’ teaching cannot exceed .57 time during each term. International students should consult with their financial aid officers for further information.

Finally, graduate students who receive a PhD Dissertation Completion Fellowship are expected to focus entirely on their dissertations. This means they may not accept teaching fellowships, nor may they take on any kind of employment. For details on completion fellowship awards, and for other useful resources, please see the GSAS website.


Students considering outside employment are invited to discuss their plans with a financial aid officer. Because any change in resources may affect eligibility, all students receiving financial aid are required to inform their financial aid officer before under-taking any employment. To maintain full-time student status during the academic years, employment is limited to twenty hours per week. If a student is considering more than twenty hours per week, the student should consult with his/her financial aid officer.

Students from other countries, or their spouses, entering the United States on temporary non-immigrant visas should fully understand the regulations concerning permissible employment under those visas. Before making plans for employment in the United States, they should consult with the Harvard International Office, 864 Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, on eligibility for such employment. Visit the HIO website.


Prize Office

The awarding of prizes at Harvard can be traced back to Edward Hopkins, a London merchant who came to America in 1637. His bequest continues to provide prizes for “Hopefull youth in the way of Learning … for the publick Service of the Country in future times.”

Today, more than 200 different prizes are awarded each year in recognition of academic excellence, achievement in a particular field, or outstanding individual qualities. The Bowdoin Prizes, established by the bequest of Governor James Bowdoin, AB 1745, are among many noteworthy prizes for which students submit essays, theses, or other scholarly works.

Prize descriptions, eligibility requirements, and lists of past winners may be found at the Prize Office website. Further information is available from the Prize Office on the ground floor of University Hall (617-495-4780 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Information on all athletic prizes may be obtained from the Department of Athletics.

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