GSAS uses a tiered tuition structure which reduces tuition over time as students progress through their degree programs. The GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid publishes Financing Graduate Study, which is designed to familiarize students with the various forms of available financial support. It includes guides to help with multi-year planning and an overview of important financial aid policies and procedures.
Funding for PhD Students
Standard Funding Package
Harvard guarantees full financial support to PhD students—including tuition, health fees, and basic living expenses—for five years (typically the first four years of study and the completion year). This multi-year funding package includes a combination of tuition grants, stipends, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and other academic appointments. In addition, GSAS students are particularly successful in securing grants, fellowships, and other sources of external funding as part of their professional development.
The standard funding package includes:
- Grant toward tuition and fees—paid in full for years 1 through 4, plus the dissertation completion year
- Living expense stipend during years 1 and 2
- A combination of stipend, teaching fellowships, and/or research assistantships during years 3 and 4
- If noted in your Notice of Financial Support, summer research funding following the first four academic years from GSAS or faculty grants
- Up to $2,500 of support for professional development (students entering in 2015 or later)
- Stipend and/or research support during the completion year.
In some programs, the timing and structure of living expense support may vary from this pattern. For example, students in the sciences typically receive funding until they complete their degrees.
Special Note Concerning US Income Taxes
Any grant or stipend amount awarded in excess of tuition, required fees, books, and supplies is subject to federal income tax, as is any funding contingent upon providing service to the University (for example, teaching fellowships or research assistantships). Income taxes are not ordinarily withheld from stipend payments; be sure to incorporate this tax obligation into your financial planning. The US Internal Revenue Service maintains a useful interactive tax planning tool that may help.
Funding for Master’s Students
Because master’s programs are not fully funded, prospective students should be prepared to contribute significantly towards their educational expenses. A limited amount of grant support and research funding is available from GSAS master's programs. In addition, students have access to loans and employment opportunities, as detailed in the following section.
Other Sources of Funding
Federal and private student loans are available to those who meet lender eligibility requirements. The Federal Perkins Loan, the Ford Federal Direct Student Loan, and the Federal Direct PLUS Loan are available to US citizens and permanent residents who demonstrate unmet need towards meeting the cost of attending graduate school.
For those unable to utilize the federal loan programs, Harvard University has compiled information about private loan programs available for both US citizens and international students.
Harvard University extends a special welcome to those students who are veterans of the US armed forces. Students who are eligible for veteran and military benefits should procure a Certificate of Eligibility from the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Once the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid has received your Certificate of Eligibility and Notice of Student Enrollment forms, we will work with the VA to activate your educational benefits.
Dudley House Fellows
Dudley House fellows organize intellectual, cultural, athletic, and social activities at Dudley House, the graduate student center. Fellows work closely with the faculty deans, house administrator, GSAS administrators, and each other to engender a sense of community and enrich graduate student life.
Fellows receive up to 10 meals per week in the Dudley House dining hall, guaranteed housing in a GSAS residence hall if they wish to live in one, and a $3,000 stipend. Assistant fellows may receive a small stipend as compensation. Applications for Dudley fellow positions are available in January for the following academic year. For additional information, e-mail Susan Zawalich, Dudley House administrator, or call 617-495-2255.
Some courses use graders to help evaluate student work, including exams and weekly problem sets. A grader is paid at an appropriate fraction of a TF salary. The Harvard College Office of Undergraduate Education approves grading appointments.
Part-Time Teaching outside Harvard
Graduate students interested in locating part-time teaching opportunities outside Harvard should consult with their department chair, advisor, or staff at the Office of Career Services or the Student Employment Office.
Proctoring for Exams and at Fall Term Registration
Graduate students interested in proctoring should e-mail the Office of the Registrar or call 617-495-1542. Proctoring opportunities are also available at Harvard Law School; contact Michelle Pessinis at the Harvard Law School Registrar’s Office for more information (617-495-1707).
The Harvard Extension School
The Harvard Extension School hires a small number of graduate students as support teaching staff. Consult the course catalog for information on courses offered. Individual faculty members are responsible for recruiting and supervising support staff. For additional information regarding eligible courses, e-mail Mark Lax or call 617-495-4867.
Harvard Divinity School Summer Language Program
Positions for teaching assistants in Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, or Spanish translation may be available through the Harvard Divinity School’s Summer Language Program. For information, e-mail Karin Grundler-Whitacre, director of the HDS Summer Language Program, or call the Office for Faculty and Academic Affairs at 617-384-6598.
Several departments, especially those engaged in government-funded research projects, employ students as research assistants. Graduate students interested in such employment should contact their departments.
Resident Positions: Resident Advisors, Freshman Proctors, and House Tutors
Resident advisors (RAs) are 16 graduate student members of the GSAS Office of Student Affairs team who live on each floor of the four GSAS residence halls. RAs help students adjust to the Harvard community, aid in emergency situations, and serve as liaisons with the GSAS administration. Applicants must be degree candidates in good academic standing and must have lived for at least one term in a GSAS residence hall. Compensation includes a free room and a weekday lunch and dinner meal contract at Dudley House.
Applications for RA positions are available in January for the upcoming academic year. For information, e-mail Ashley Skipwith, director of residential life, or call 617-495-5060.
Freshman proctors provide guidance for first-year students in all aspects of their exploration of Harvard. They live in the freshman dormitories and are members of the College staff with whom first-year students have the most contact. The proctor application deadline is rolling; however priority is given to candidates who apply by early January.
Resident tutors are members of the undergraduate Houses and play a vital role in the residential and educational life of undergraduates. The priority deadline to apply to be a resident tutor is typically the last day in January. Houses also appoint several nonresident tutors, who usually receive some meals and an opportunity to participate in House life in exchange for various duties.
The GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid assume earnings of $10,830 in-kind compensation for ten-month resident tutorships and an additional $850 for the summer.
For those students with unmet financial need, part-time employment may be an attractive opportunity to help defray costs. The Harvard University Student Employment Office maintains listings of opening both on- or off-campus.
GSAS participates in the Federal Work-Study program, a program available to eligible US citizens and permanent residents that subsidizes the wages of students working in non-profit settings. The program enables employers to fill part-time positions at reduced cost, thereby increasing employment prospects for federal work-study participants. Students apply for federal work-study via the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid; once eligibility has been established, students may begin the search for an appropriate job opportunity.