Applying

When does the application become available?

Applications become available in September.

What are the application deadlines?

Applications, including all supporting documents, are due in early December, mid-December, and early January. Check your degree program of interest for the relevant deadline.

Do you offer spring admissions?

Offers of admissions are made for the fall only.

How many times can I apply to GSAS?

An individual may submit up to three applications during the course of their academic career, but only two applications in a single year. Applications to HILS affiliated programs count toward the limit of three. The submission of additional applications may result in the withdrawal of the application. Application fees are not refundable.

How can I apply for financial aid?

Consideration for financial aid is part of the application for admission. Information about funding your degree can be found on the Funding and Aid section of the GSAS website.

How much is the application fee?

The non-refundable application fee is $105, payable by credit card only. GSAS is committed to ensuring that our application fee does not create a financial obstacle for prospective applicants. Application fee waivers are available to those for whom payment of the application fee would be financially challenging. Instructions for requesting a fee waiver can be found on the Completing Your Application page as well as in the application itself.

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

Yes. The selection committee will not be able to access your previous application and support materials.

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.

 

Completing the Application

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

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

If the program I am applying to requires a writing sample, are there any requirements for the format or length?

Please visit Degree Programs and navigate to your degree program of interest to determine if the program requires a writing sample. When preparing your writing sample, be sure to follow program requirements, which may include type size, paragraph style, and word count. Unless noted, you may only upload one writing sample limited to 20 pages.

Can I submit my application before my recommenders submit their letters?

Yes, but letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline for the program to which you are applying.

Can I apply or submit additional documentation after the deadline?

Application deadlines are strictly enforced. Applications and supporting documentation must be received by the appropriate deadline. Supporting documentation received after the deadline may not be considered.

Do I have to pay with a credit card?

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.

What should I submit for visa requirements?

Visa documentation is not required during the application process. Information about visa requirements will be forwarded to successful applicants after admissions decisions have been made.

Selecting a Program

How many different programs do you offer? What are they?

GSAS offers graduate degrees in 58 programs. While most programs restrict admission to PhD candidates, some offer terminal master’s degrees. Refer to Degree Programs for details.

What is the difference between a degree program and an area of study?

GSAS offers PhD and master's degrees in specific degree programs. Within those programs, a student may concentrate in an area of study. For example, PhD students in Population Health Sciences may select an area of study in Environmental Health, Epidemiology, etc.

I have a question about a specific program, who can I contact?

Reach out to the contact noted by your program of interest.

Can I enroll in one or two courses, rather than a degree program?

While all degree programs are full-time, GSAS provides options for non-degree study through our Special Student and Visiting Fellow programs.

 

Applying to more than one program or school

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.

Can I apply to more than one degree program?

There are a few situations where it may be appropriate to submit multiple applications in the same year.* You may only submit up to three applications during your academic career.

  • Applying to HILS-affiliated programs — please refer to the HILS application instructions for more information.
  • Applying to two subject areas in the Division of Medical Sciences — please email the Division of Medical Sciences at dms@hms.harvard.edu for more information.
  • Applying to two separate degree programs — each application must be unique, containing a separate statement of purpose, transcripts, recommendations, and test scores; each application also requires a separate application fee.

*In all other circumstances, submission of more than one application to a single degree program in the same year will result in the withdrawal of the second application; application fees are not refundable.

If the degree program I am interested in offers multiple areas of study, can I apply to each area of study?

No.  With the exception of the Division of Medical Sciences, you may not apply to a degree program more than once in a single year by noting a different area of study in each 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.”

 

Transcripts

Do I need to upload a transcript for a school from which I did not receive a degree or have not yet graduated?

Yes, you must include a transcript for every school you have attended.

What if my school does not issue transcripts?

If your university’s registrar does not issue transcripts, you must request from them an official, original document or letter that lists all courses taken, including currently enrolled classes, credits received, grades received and if you have graduated, the name of the degree conferred and the date of the conferral.

What if my grades are pass/fail or based on a non-traditional scale?

Grades and GPA should be reported in the same format as they are reported on your transcript. If your transcript does not include a GPA, you are not required to include it on your GSAS application. 

 

Standardized Tests

How long are GRE, TOEFL, and IELTS scores valid?

GRE scores are valid for five years from the test date (i.e. taken no earlier than September 1, 2015, for fall 2021 admission). TOEFL and IELTS Academic scores are valid for two years from test date (i.e. taken no earlier than September 1, 2019, for fall 2021 admission). Applicants must order scores and have them sent to the GSAS ETS school code 3451 before the scores expire.

Do you require a minimum GRE score?

GSAS does not state minimum, average, or required GRE scores, and not all GSAS programs require the GRE. To determine your degree program’s requirements, please refer to Degree Programs.

Do you require a minimum TOEFL/IELTS score?

Applicants must receive a minimum score of 80 for the TOEFL, and it is not common for applicants to be admitted with TOEFL scores below 90. The minimum IELTS Academic score is 6.5. Some programs may require higher scores; refer to Degree Programs for details.

What is the GSAS ETS code for the GRE and the TOEFL?

When requesting that your scores use GSAS ETS school code 3451. A department code is NOT required.

What contact information should I use to send my IELTS scores to GSAS?

Designate Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as a recipient of your test results. Our address, for the record only, to identify us in the IELTS system, is 1350 Massachusetts Ave. Smith Campus Center 350, Cambridge, MA 02138. Paper test report forms will not be accepted at this address.

Can I report the best score in each subject /category from different GREs?

You must list each test date separately in the application, and the official test score report for each reported test date must be sent to ETS code 3451. The selection committee will review all official test score reports that are received from the testing service.

Do you accept TOEFL MyBest score reports?

No. You must list each test date separately in the application, and the official test score report for each reported test date must be sent to ETS code 3451.

 

After Submission

What is the status of my application?

You can log in to the application system to check on the status of your application. After the successful submission of the application, you can track the receipt of the required materials on your GSAS Applicant Portal. Green checkmarks will appear next to those items when they are received.

When are admissions decisions made?

Applicants will be notified by email when a decision is available, normally by March 15.

How can I change my email/phone/address after the application has been submitted?

To change profile information log into your GSAS Applicant Portal and then click on Account Tools in the upper right corner.

Are interviews part of the application process?

Some but not all of GSAS’s 58 graduate programs offer interviews. Please review the information provided by your program of interest. Reach out to the program contact with questions.

Can I transfer credit for work done at other graduate schools?

Students may be eligible to receive credit for graduate work they completed at other Harvard Schools or institutions. Students must complete at least one full term of satisfactory work at GSAS before applying for credit. No guarantee is given that applications will be granted.

Can I defer my admission offer?

Requests for deferred admission will be considered by a program only after an offer of admission has been made and accepted. If a deferral is granted, the applicant may not apply to any other program within GSAS or to any other graduate school.

Can an offer of admission be rescinded?

By accepting the offer of admission, students join a community ideally characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change, and they thereby agree to abide by the GSAS Codes of Conduct noted in GSAS Policies. For example, academic dishonesty, sexual and racial harassment, the use of physical violence, or lying to an officer of the University are violations of the principles on which the University is founded and may result in disciplinary action.

If an admitted candidate has made misleading, incomplete, or inaccurate statements, submitted false material in connection with the application, or has been found to have engaged in academic or personal conduct that is inconsistent with the preceding paragraph, Harvard University will take appropriate action, which could include rescinding an offer of admission or revoking a degree. Newly admitted candidates are expected to inform the Office of Admissions of any past or present conduct that is inconsistent with these standards.