Dear GSAS Students,

Today, GSAS is launching an Emergency Support Initiative, four targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Support Initiative includes:

  • Lost-Time Funding
  • Emergency Summer Research Awards
  • GSAS Visiting Fellow Status Opportunities
  • Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowship Appointments

Lost-Time Funding
Students will be able to apply for up to a year of additional funding to make up for time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students currently on dissertation completion fellowships whose completion has been delayed will be prioritized, followed by those on research fellowships during March 2020.

Emergency Summer Research Awards
Students whose summer 2020 research plans will be disrupted may apply for awards to help them advance their progress toward the degree.

GSAS Visiting Fellow Status
GSAS will allow students graduating in May and November 2020, who do not have a job lined up or whose employment was delayed, to apply for a GSAS visiting fellow appointment for up to a one-year term. These recent alumni would:

  • 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 waived and access to Harvard’s health insurance plan at the student rate.
  • Be able to continue searching for jobs while retaining a Harvard affiliation, including their Harvard email address.

Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowships Appointments
The GSAS Center for Fellowships, Writing, and Communicating Ideas is actively supporting students in maintaining progress on their dissertations and in improving their fellowship applications. To expand this work, over the next two years GSAS will create ten one-year postdoctoral writing and fellowships appointments, 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.

This initial phase is made possible thanks to the flexibility of an anonymous GSAS graduate, who allowed their generous gift to be redirected to fund the Initiative. We are tremendously grateful for their desire to support our students.

GSAS is currently creating mechanisms to collect applications for these four opportunities, which we anticipate will be available next week. You will receive an email with more details once the application process is live.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, GSAS has heard directly from students and their advocates, including faculty and directors of graduate studies, about the many ways this public health emergency is affecting PhD students. We first focused on personal safety and emergency needs while we worked with our University partners to evaluate additional categories of need to determine this next phase of support. In the coming weeks, we will continue working with our University partners to augment and expand this program.

We understand that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time, and I thank you for your patience as we undertook this important work. As more opportunities for support come online, I will be in touch.

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

GSAS Emergency Support Initiative