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GSAS Emergency Support Initiative

Dear GSAS PhD Students,

Today, GSAS is launching the next phase of the Emergency Support Initiative, designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This phase of the ESI includes financial support to forward academic progress and post-graduation opportunities.

Financial Support to Forward Academic Progress

PhD students who have faced severe disruption in their academic studies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for small grants that will enable them to forward their academic progress. If awarded, students may receive research awards, grants toward tuition and health fees, or other academic support. Preference will be given to those who are able to demonstrate that the funding will enable them to move significantly closer to finishing their degree.

I am grateful to my University colleagues for working with GSAS to help fund this next phase of the ESI.

To apply, visit Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on May 11, 2021.

Please email the GSAS Office of Academic Programs at with questions.

Post-Graduation Opportunities

GSAS has extended the visiting fellowship opportunity to students graduating in May and November 2021 who have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The appointment may extend until May 2022. As a GSAS visiting fellow, graduates:

  • remain members of the Harvard community, with access to libraries and other Harvard resources so that they may continue their research independently
  • have visiting fellow tuition paid for by a GSAS tuition scholarship
  • may access Harvard’s health insurance plan and pay for coverage at the student rate
  • are able to continue a job search while retaining a Harvard affiliation, including their Harvard email address. 

As was the case last year, the Fellowships & Writing Center is creating one-year postdoctoral fellowships, to which graduating Harvard PhDs may apply. This will provide opportunities for new graduates while helping current students advance their scholarship and enhance their ability to secure outside funding.

To learn more and apply, visit

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, GSAS has distributed to date more than $4 million to students, funded by donations and unrestricted funding. We have also been able to provide other opportunities through support and advocacy. We deliberately rolled out the ESI in phases so that we could direct these limited funds toward the greatest need at crucial times. Looking ahead to the fall, I am hopeful that we will all be on better footing and that students will be engaging deeply in their research once again.

With all best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics

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