During the 2022-2023 academic year, GSAS celebrates an extraordinary milestone—150 years as a graduate school.


1872 marked the first year of new requirements for graduate study at Harvard University, creating what was then known as the Graduate Department and enrolling 28 students. Over the past 150 years, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, as it came to be known, has grown to include nearly 5,000 students studying in 57 graduate programs across the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Our students forge connections with every Harvard School whether they are studying toward a master’s degree or PhD, engaging in the JD/PhD program with Harvard Law School, or serving as a graduate student fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. Our alumni have quite literally changed the world through their creation of new knowledge, in the process winning Nobel Prizes, MacArthur “genius” Fellowships, Pulitzers, and many other awards and accolades.

During this special year, GSAS is celebrating the inquiry, innovation, and impact of our alumni and students across the disciplines and throughout the world. We will tell stories and host events that spotlight their exceptional achievements. You can follow the celebration and find out how to participate on the GSAS website. And be sure to share your own story online by using the hashtag #HarvardGSAS150 or by emailing gsascomms@fas.harvard.edu.

When the Graduate Department was first proposed to the College Faculty in 1872, many opposed its creation on the grounds that it would harm the education of undergraduates by siphoning off much needed funding. Harvard President Charles Eliot disagreed. “It will strengthen the College,” he said, and indeed, graduate students have strengthened the University in multiple ways over 150 years: They are the lifeblood of Harvard’s knowledge ecosystem, generating novel ideas and advancing innovative research while connecting with undergraduates and faculty alike. Please join us in celebrating the past, present, and future of GSAS.

During the sesquicentennial celebration, GSAS is hosting events that will celebrate the inquiry, innovation, and impact of not only our first 150 years but also the contributions being made by our extraordinary students.Read more
"This University recognizes no real antagonism between literature and science, and consents to no such narrow alternatives as mathematics or classics, science or metaphysics. We would have them all, and at their best." At his inauguration in 1869, Harvard’s new president Charles William Eliot...Read more
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