Emergency Policy Amendments

As a result of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, GSAS is evaluating and amending certain policies. Below is a list of policies amended to date (you can find more information on each policy page).

  • An adjustment of one year can be made to the department G-year for GSAS students whose academic progress has been impacted by COVID-19. These changes must be emailed by your department administrator or DGS to the Office of Student Affairs. G-Year adjustments are not accompanied by additional funding, but are aimed at providing students more time to meet academic deadlines/milestones, by delaying them one year, such as [Amended May 18, 2020]: 

    • In dept X "general exams should be taken at the end of the third year.” A student in Registrar G4 (cumulative-time), who has been adjusted to a Departmental G3, will have approximately one extra year to complete their general exams.

    • In dept Y, students "must submit their prospectus by the end of their G4 year.” A student in Registrar G5 (cumulative-time), who has been adjusted to a Departmental G4, will have approximately one extra year to submit their prospectus. 

  • GSAS is launching an Emergency Support Initiative, four targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: Lost-Time Funding, Emergency Summer Research Awards, GSAS Visiting Fellow Status Opportunities, Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowship Appointments. [Amended May 1, 2020]

  • Electronic signatures from committee members are acceptable on the dissertation completion certificate (DAC). Students who cannot include a completed DAC when submitting their dissertation may instead submit an email or letter of approval/acknowledgement from their program's chair, dissertation committee chair, or director of graduate studies. This email or letter will need to be placed before the title page of the online dissertation submission made through ETDs @ Harvard by the degree calendar deadline. Once students or programs are able to complete a dissertation completion certificate, the form should also be emailed to enrollment@fas.harvard.edu, for the Registrar's Office record. [Amended April 27, 2020]

    • Letter of approval sample template: In lieu of all dissertation committee members’ signatures, I [NAME, ROLE], appointed by the [DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM], confirm that the Dissertation Committee has examined a dissertation titled [TITLE], presented by [STUDENT NAME], a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy for May 2020 degree conferral, and hereby certify that it is worthy of acceptance as of [DATE].
  • For spring 2020 only, all GSAS students enrolled in any course at the University will be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” basis. This includes students who are taking courses at other Harvard Schools. [Amended April 10, 2020] 

    • A clear notation of SEM/UEM will be included on all transcripts for the spring 2020 term to indicate that courses were graded SEM/UEM due to extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • All cases where students have already chosen the SAT/UNSAT option will have that grade option converted to the SEM/UEM basis.

    • The equivalent of a B- or greater is considered SEM.

    • Students who are not making satisfactory progress based on GPA at the end of Spring 2020 will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

  • For summer 2020, Harvard Summer School is waiving tuition for GSAS students interested in studying a language. This tuition waiver is applicable for one course. Applications should be submitted through CARAT by May 1, 2020. Contact the Fellowships Office with questions. [Amended April 6, 2020]
  • The deadline for GSAS students to drop a course has been extended to Monday, April 13, 2020. Students can drop a course via my.Harvard self-service through April 13. After April 13, students can submit a petition to withdraw to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs for review. [Amended March 26, 2020]
  • An adjustment of one year can be made to the department G-year for GSAS students whose academic progress has been impacted by COVID-19. These changes must be emailed by your department administrator or DGS to the Office of Student Affairs. [Amended March 26, 2020]
  • At this time, changing enrollment status to traveling scholar is not necessary, and applications for spring 2020 will only be considered and processed in particular circumstances. Leaves of absence will be considered on a case by case basis. [Amended March 26, 2020]