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Visiting Fellows

Visiting fellows are full-time research students.

Visiting fellows are considered full-time research students at the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Harvard Griffin GSAS), with access to Harvard University’s libraries and facilities. They may only affiliate with one department or program based on their academic interests. 

While they do not take courses for academic credit, they may audit courses with the approval of the instructor and seek faculty guidance as they conduct independent research. They may also audit courses at Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, and Harvard Law School (Harvard Business School charges auditors a cross-registration materials fee) with instructor permission. They may also audit courses at MIT and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University with permission from the course’s instructor. Please note that visiting fellows are normally not permitted to audit basic skills courses such as beginning languages or computer science.

Visiting fellows may submit a new application to extend their program. Extension is not automatic; reapplications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please note that office and laboratory space are extremely limited, however, you may request a study carrel at Widener Library. Please note any special laboratory requirements in your application and discuss whether space is available with your affiliated department.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must hold a doctorate, have equivalent professional experience, or be advanced doctoral candidates who have completed all required coursework. 

To be considered for visiting fellow status, you should note in your application the name of at least one faculty member with whom you intend to work and reference any communication with faculty members or academic departments. While visiting fellows are occasionally invited by departments or research centers to participate in seminars or other organized activities, they are expected to conduct independent research full-time. You must formally register as a student each term of attendance and follow the academic calendar.

Before applying, you must select one department to affiliate with based on your academic interests. 

Reduced Tuition is charged and cannot be waived or reduced. Visiting fellows are not eligible for institutional financial aid. Visiting students are typically either self-funded, by home country or home university scholarships, by third-party scholarships, or a mix.

For information about tuition and fees, see the Cost of Attendance section.


  • Admission cannot be deferred.
  • Visiting fellows are restricted from participating in a select group of departmental offerings.
  • Individuals denied admission to a degree program at Harvard Griffin GSAS cannot apply as a visiting fellow for the same academic year.
  • Visiting fellows may not apply to a degree-seeking program.
  • Faculty members from other universities may not apply to be a visiting fellow. Contact your academic department of interest to inquire about their visiting scholar policy.
  • Visiting fellows are based at Harvard Griffin GSAS and are part of the visiting students program. Those interested in studying at another Harvard School should reach out to that School’s admissions office directly.
  • Visiting fellows cannot benefit from Harvard-administered financial aid programs and do not qualify for Federal Student Aid.
  • Reduced tuition is charged and cannot be waived or reduced.


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?