Applying

When does the application become available?

Applications become available in September.

What are the application deadlines?

Applications, including all application materials, 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. 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, if available, 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. If you have questions not answered on the GSAS website, you can contact the Office of Financial Aid at gsasfinaid@fas.harvard.edu.

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. Waivers are available to those for whom payment of the application fee would be financially challenging. Information about fee waivers can be found on the Completing Your Application page as well as in the application itself.

How can I apply for an application fee waiver?

GSAS is committed to ensuring that our application fee does not create a financial obstacle for prospective applicants. Waivers are available to those for whom payment of the application fee would be financially challenging. 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 completed, the application system will provide an immediate response regarding fee waiver eligibility.

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

Yes. The admissions committee cannot access your previous application or uploaded materials.

If I already hold a PhD or advanced doctoral degree, can I apply to a GSAS PhD program?

If you already hold a PhD or its equivalent or are an advanced doctoral candidate at another institution, you may apply to a PhD program only if it is in an unrelated field of study; however, preference for admissions and financial aid will be given to those who have not already had an opportunity to study for a doctoral degree at Harvard or elsewhere. You may also want to consider pursuing non-degree study through our Special Student or Visiting Fellow programs.

Can I apply or submit additional documentation after the deadline?

We do not accept applications or materials after the deadline has passed. All applications and uploaded materials must be submitted by the application deadline.

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 visa documentation should I submit?

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

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.

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.

 

Writing Sample

If my program of interest requires a writing sample, what are the requirements for format or length?

Please visit Degree Programs and navigate to your degree program of interest to determine if a writing sample is required. When preparing your writing sample, be sure to follow program requirements, which may include format, topic, or length.

 

Letters of Recommendation

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

Yes. Please note that letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline for the program to which you are applying.

How many letters of recommendation can be included in my application?

GSAS requires three letters of recommendation. You may ask additional recommenders to submit letters if you choose, although we cannot guarantee how the admissions committee will review additional letters.

 

Selecting a Degree Program

How many programs do you offer? What are they?

GSAS offers graduate degrees in 58 programs. 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, whom can I contact?

 If you still have questions after carefully reviewing your degree program of interest, reach out to the contact noted on the program’s page.

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?

In a few circumstances, it may be appropriate to submit multiple applications in the same year.* When deciding whether to apply to more than one degree program, remember that you may only submit a total of three applications to GSAS 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 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 subsequent applications. The earliest submitted application will be reviewed. 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. If you submit more than one application to a single degree program in the same year, the earliest submitted application will be reviewed and subsequent applications will be withdrawn. Application fees are not refundable.

Can I submit more than one application to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences?

No. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) is considered a single degree program. Please see the FAQ for “Can I apply to more than one degree program?” for more information.

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, regardless of whether you graduated or not.

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 the GPA on your GSAS application. 

When do I need to submit official transcripts?

Official transcripts are only required from those who have been admitted and accepted the offer of admission. We do not accept mailed or emailed transcripts during the application submission and review process. Any transcripts sent during this time will be discarded. Instructions for submission of official transcripts will be provided to admitted students after they have accepted the offer of admission.

 

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, 2016, for fall 2022 admission). TOEFL and IELTS Academic scores are valid for two years from test date (i.e. taken no earlier than September 1, 2020, for fall 2022 admission). Applicants must order scores and have them sent to GSAS 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 your degree program of interest for details.

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

Use ETS school code 3451 when requesting that your test scores be sent to GSAS. A department code is NOT required.

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

Use the IELTS Test Center E-Delivery service to send IELTS scores to Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Our address, 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.

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.

 

English Proficiency

Can I use my master’s degree from an English speaking institution to meet the English proficiency requirement?

No, a master’s degree is not accepted as proof of English proficiency.

If I have an undergraduate degree from a US institution, but English was not the primary language of instruction, do I need to prove English proficiency?

If you have an undergraduate degree from a US institution where English was not the primary language of instruction, but a portion of your program was conducted in English, you may petition for a waiver of the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Contact admiss@fas.harvard.edu for details.

 

After Application Submission

What is the status of my application and/or required materials?

You can log in to the GSAS Applicant Portal to check the status of your application. After the successful submission of the application, you can track the receipt of the required materials in the GSAS Applicant Portal. Green checkmarks will appear next to those items when they are received. To view the applicant portal, visit the GSAS Application Home Page and select your submitted application. Through the applicant portal, you can:

  • View the status of required materials (letters of recommendation, official test scores, etc.)
  • Complete required items on your checklist
  • Update your contact information
  • View the admissions decision, when available (normally by March 15)

When are admissions decisions made?

Applicants will be notified by email when a decision is available to view in the GSAS Applicant Portal, 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 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. Reach out to the contact for your program of interest 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?

Deferral requests 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.