Applications become available in September and are submitted through the GSAS Applicant Portal. Admission is for the fall term only. Please note all supporting materials and required components must be submitted electronically as part of the application. GSAS does not accept any mailed materials.

Deadlines vary by graduate program and are noted on graduate program pages. All materials must be submitted by the deadline. GSAS may request additional academic documents, as needed.

Applications are reviewed by the admissions committee based in the program you applied to.

Please note all supporting materials and required components become the property of GSAS. No materials will be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies.

Application Fee

The application fee is $105 payable by credit card. GSAS is committed to ensuring that our fee does not create a financial obstacle. Applicants can determine eligibility for a fee waiver by completing a series of questions in the Application Fee section of the application. Once these questions have been answered, the application system will provide an immediate response regarding fee waiver eligibility. The application fee is non-refundable.

Application Components and Requirements

Frequently-Asked Questions

How many times can I apply to GSAS?

You may only apply to GSAS three times. Submitting additional applications may result in withdrawal of the application. Application fees are not refundable. Please note that applications to programs affiliated with the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences count toward this limit. See admissions policies for more information.

How can I apply for financial aid?

Consideration for financial aid, if available, is part of the application for admission. Information about funding your degree can be found on the Financial Support section of the GSAS website.

If I applied to GSAS in a previous year, do I need to complete a new application?

Yes. You must submit a new application, application fee, updated letters of recommendation, as well as uploads of transcripts and supporting documents.

Where can I upload a note/document/information for the selection committee?

You may upload a document in the Additional Materials section of the application.

I want to apply to more than one program. How can I start my second application?

Once you have created your first application, select “Home” in the application navigation panel. At the bottom of “Your Applications,” you will find a link to “Start New Application.”

If I already hold a PhD, advanced doctoral degree, or am an advanced doctoral student at another institution, can I apply to a GSAS PhD program?

You may apply to a program in an unrelated field of study, however, preference for admissions and financial aid will be given to those who have not yet pursued a doctoral degree at Harvard or elsewhere. You may also consider non-degree study through our Special Student or Visiting Fellow programs.

What visa documentation should I submit?

Visa documentation is not required at the time of application. Information about visa requirements will be provided to admitted students.

Will GSAS consider my application if I have been charged with or incarcerated for a crime?

The GSAS application does not ask prospective students to disclose if they have been convicted of a crime. Program admissions committees review all applicants in a comprehensive way, considering their past educational attainments and the contributions they can make to the academic community and to their field of study. Applicants will not be denied admission based on their disclosure of conviction and should not be discouraged from applying.

Are alternate payment methods accepted for the application fee?

Application fees can only be paid with a credit card (debit cards may not be used). GSAS does not accept any other method of payment.

Does GSAS offer joint degree programs with other Schools at Harvard?

GSAS offers opportunities to pursue multiple degrees with other Harvard Schools. Visit combined degrees for more information.


Accommodations for applicants impacted by extenuating circumstances

We realize that the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, recent natural disasters, and other extenuating circumstances may have significant impacts on applicants’ academic and personal lives, including the ability to provide all required application materials prior to our stated deadlines. We understand that these impacts may extend to recommenders and offices at institutions previously attended.

If any of these conditions apply to you, we encourage you to apply, even if required materials are missing. Our application form includes a section for you to let us know about any of your materials that may be unavailable. This information will be shared with the appropriate admissions committee and your admissions decision will be based on the materials available at the time of review.

Please note that even though the online application system may indicate that your application is incomplete, it will still be reviewed by the appropriate admissions committee. If your application is incomplete and you are denied admission, GSAS will not count it toward our lifetime limit of three total applications that an individual may submit.

Consent regarding Sensitive Personal Data

Certain kinds of personal data are regarded by some laws as sensitive and deserving of special protection (“Sensitive Personal Data”). For example, in Europe, Sensitive Personal Data can include personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership; genetic or biometric data; data concerning health; data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation; and personal data relating to criminal convictions and offenses.

During the application process, you and others, such as recommenders, may provide the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at Harvard University with certain kinds of personal data about you that is regarded as Sensitive Personal Data. By submitting an application, you consent to Harvard’s processing of Sensitive Personal Data about you in order to evaluate your application for admission and your eligibility for financial aid, if applicable. Sensitive Personal Data about you also may be processed for other purposes permitted by applicable law.

Additional EEA Privacy Disclosures provides further information about how GSAS uses personal data of individuals in Europe in the admissions process.

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