GSAS offers master of arts (AM), master of science (SM), and master of engineering (ME) degrees in a select number of programs. In addition, some programs confer a master’s degree en route to the PhD (also known as a “continuing” master’s degree, or a master's in passing).
- Ordinarily, students may receive only one master’s degree from GSAS. In exceptional cases, a student may earn, with the degree-conferring program's approval, a second master’s degree if they have met the requirements for the degree and paid one year of full tuition.
- A master’s degree cannot be granted in an ad hoc subject.
- Master's degree students must meet all of the GSAS common requirements.
- Master’s students who are no longer taking courses but have unfulfilled academic requirements for the degree (e.g., language exams, papers, or coursework to complete), must register either in residence or in a non-resident status until all requirements are completed.
- Once degree requirements have been met, master’s candidates do not need to register for the term in which they submit their degree applications.
- PhD students may receive an en route master’s degree without paying additional tuition if they earned a GSAS degree as a master’s student or through the AB/AM or SB/SM program.
Master of Arts
Students studying toward a master of arts (AM) degree must be enrolled full-time, complete a minimum of eight courses (32 credits) at the level required by the department, and pay full tuition for one year.
- Some programs have additional course requirements.
Master of Science
Master of science (SM) candidates must complete eight courses (32 credits) and pay full tuition for one year.
- SM candidates are not expected to continue to the PhD.
- Part-time SM students must complete the degree in two years.
Master of Engineering
The master of engineering (ME) degree is a two-year program of advanced courses with research leading to a master’s thesis. ME candidates must complete 16 courses (64 credits), including 8 research-oriented courses at the 300-level, complete a thesis, and pay full tuition for two years.
- ME candidates are not expected to continue to the PhD.
Credit toward Other Degrees
At the discretion of the program, courses completed to meet the requirement for a GSAS master’s degree may count toward the academic requirements for the PhD.
- Courses completed to meet the requirements for a GSAS master’s degree may not be used to meet the requirements for another Harvard degree.
- Courses completed to meet the requirements for another Harvard degree (i.e. not at GSAS) may not be used to meet the requirements for a degree at GSAS.
Earning a Master’s Degree in a Different Program
A PhD candidate in one department may petition another department to award them a master’s degree if that department:
(a) has approved a policy of awarding master’s degrees to students in other programs;
(b) has determined the requirements students must fulfill;
(c) certifies that the student has met the requirements; and
(d) has voted to support the student’s petition and application for degree.