GSAS Welcomes with Border

 

We are delighted that you will be joining GSAS this fall! Below are helpful tips and resources designed to help you transition to graduate student life.

Before You Arrive

Accept Your Offer of Admission

You must officially accept your offer of admission by logging in to the GSAS application portal as a returning user.

You will receive an email with instructions on how to get your Harvard ID number (HUID) and claim your HarvardKey, the primary credential that you will use to access Harvard resources as a student.

If you do not receive an email within 7 to 10 days of accepting your offer of admission, email gsas_apphelp@fas.harvard.edu.

Once you have your HarvardKey, log in to Engage to find your GSAS community. Join student groups, RSVP to events, and explore social and learning opportunities

Enroll at GSAS

Registration for incoming students is a two-step process. First, visit my.harvard.edu and log in with your HarvardKey before August 17, 2020, to check in. Instructions can be found by visiting the FAS Registrar’s Office and selecting the GSAS registration tab. Then, follow instructions at my.harvard to enroll in your courses from August 17 to August 26, 2020. The first day of classes is September 2, 2020. 

In order to receive your first stipend check, you will receive an email from the Harvard University Student Financial Services office over the summer with instructions on how to either sign up for direct deposit (students with US bank accounts) or set up a wire transfer via Western Union Global Pay (students without US bank accounts). 

To expedite receiving your ID card, submit your ID photo ahead of time so that your card will be ready for pickup.

HOLDS

See GSAS Policies for more information on holds.

  • Financial Hold indicates that you have unpaid fees on your term bill which must be paid in full before you can register. Contact your Financial Aid Officer with questions.
  • Admissions Hold indicates that you need to complete a requirement in your checklist on the GSAS application portal.
  • Medical Hold indicates that you have not submitted the paperwork supplied in your Immunization packet.

Health Coverage and Immunizations

Through the Harvard University Student Health Program, Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) offers comprehensive medical, mental health, and prescription benefits to students.

HUHS requires that students provide their immunization history prior to registration. Email HUHS Medical Records or call 617-495-2055 with any questions about the immunization requirements.

Register with the Accessible Education Office

The Accessible Education Office (AEO) serves students with disabilities to ensure equity, inclusion, and access. AEO works in partnership with students, faculty, and staff to develop and implement accessibility plans based on individualized assessments of student needs. AEO provides accommodations for coursework, housing, dining, transportation, and other aspects of student life, as appropriate. Though access to the Harvard campus is limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AEO remains open virtually and staff are happy to connect via phone or video call. The office is committed to supporting students with disabilities in accessing online learning environments. Learn more on the AEO website.

Purchase Your Discounted Transit Pass

Students can purchase discounted MBTA bus, link, and commuter rail passes at a 50 percent discount. Order your pass online.

International Students

Before you move to the United States, visit the Harvard International Office (HIO) for information about services and support for international students, including visa and tax information. The HIO has also prepared a helpful new student guide to ease your transition to Harvard.

FAQ about Fall 2020

I have accepted Harvard's offer of admission. Will I be allowed to matriculate in the fall?

Yes, incoming GSAS students will be allowed to matriculate for fall 2020. International students will be subject to any visa or travel restrictions put in place by the US government or their local government: Please see the email sent on August 4, 2020, for more information. The Harvard International Office is available to assist with questions and concerns.

Can I defer admission to fall 2021? Or to the spring 2021?

If you are interested in deferring your admission, you must submit a written request for deferral to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. GSAS will forward the request to your program of interest, which will give it every consideration. Ordinarily, matriculating in spring term is not permitted. Should circumstances warrant a change to our current policies at a future point, all incoming students will receive notification from the GSAS Office of Admissions.

I am an international student having trouble obtaining a visa. Will I be able to obtain a visa to come to GSAS in the fall?

Please see the email sent on August 4, 2020, for information specific to incoming international students. The Harvard International Office is available to assist with questions and concerns.

Can I be reimbursed for travel expenses I already paid?

Please check with your travel provider is see if it possible for you to obtain a refund or credit for future travel. If you have incurred nonrefundable costs and your academic program offered to reimburse your expenses, please contact the program for further instructions.

Because of delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, official documentation, including transcripts and test scores, for my application is delayed. Does this mean I cannot enroll at GSAS?

We realize that the COVID-19 pandemic will have multiple effects on accepted students’ academic and personal lives, including access to required documentation. Due to these extraordinary circumstances, GSAS will be flexible with documentation deadlines and other requirements, and extensions will be granted, where appropriate. If you experience a delay with required information, please reach out to gsas_apphelp@fas.harvard.edu for instructions.

My current academic institution will be issuing pass/fail grades. Will a passing grade be sufficient for guaranteeing matriculation to GSAS?

We realize that the COVID-19 pandemic will have multiple effects on accepted students’ academic and personal lives, including changes in grading policies at many institutions. Due to these extraordinary circumstances, GSAS will be flexible regarding COVID-related situations at other institutions that are beyond the students’ control. Please contact gsas_apphelp@fas.harvard.edu with questions.

I am a new PhD student. Will my initial stipend payments be delayed?

No. Please refer to the message sent on June 9, 2020, from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, which specifically addresses this topic.

I am planning to move to the Boston/Cambridge area. How can I find housing?

We encourage students needing housing to explore information on sublets and other apartments through Harvard University Housing (HUH), in addition to local community resources.

I was admitted for the fall, but my current school closed for the spring semester and I was not able to finish my undergraduate degree in time. What are my options?

If you have not been able to complete your undergraduate degree program before the start of the fall semester, contact your admitting graduate degree program to discuss your options.

I am concerned that my official transcripts will not arrive to GSAS in time in order to register and complete my matriculation. How is GSAS advising new students impacted by the disruptions?

Please refer to the email message sent to you on July 27, 2020, for specific guidance regarding official transcripts and the extended deadline. If you have any questions, please contact gsas_apphelp@fas.harvard.edu.

Traveling to Harvard

GSAS has several campuses in the Boston area. The main campus is in Harvard Square, Cambridge. To get to the main campus:

Fly

Flights arrive at Boston’s Logan Airport. From the airport, you can take public transit (the “T”), a taxi, or a ride share to Harvard’s Cambridge, Allston, or Longwood campus. More information about planning your trip to and from Logan Airport is available on the MassPort website.

Rail

Trains arrive at Back Bay Station, North Station, or South Station. From there, take a taxi, ride sharing service, or the T (visit mbta.com for schedules, maps, and rider tools).

Intercity Bus

Most long distance buses arrive at the South Station Bus Terminal. From there, take a taxi or ride sharing service or follow the signs for the MBTA station and take the Red Line inbound toward Alewife. Take the train to the Harvard Square stop (visit mbta.com for schedules, maps, and rider tools).

Car

If traveling by car, please note that street parking is very limited in Harvard Square, though parking garages do provide off-street parking for a fee. Current students can apply for a parking permit through the Harvard Transportation and Parking Office

Professional Communication Program

DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION PROGRAM FOR NEW INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS WILL NOT BE OFFERED IN AUGUST 2020. THE PROGRAM WILL RESUME IN 2021.

The Professional Communication Program for New International Scholars, a collaboration between the GSAS Office of Student Affairs and the Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, introduces incoming international graduate students to life at Harvard and to the United States and helps them activate their English language skills in preparation for beginning their graduate programs. This intensive program provides opportunities for non-native English speakers to develop professional communication skills, to explore campus and classroom culture at Harvard, and to foster connections and build community across disciplines. During the program, international graduate students live free-of-charge in the GSAS residence halls, where they build close relationships with fellow program participants, create lasting friendships, and start to feel at home at Harvard.

There is no tuition charge. Students are responsible for living expenses only.

Students should discuss participating in the program with their graduate program or email studaff@fas.harvard.edu for more information.

The PCP is aligned with the GSAS Oral English Language Requirement and is designed to feed directly into the Bok Center’s Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars.  

The PCP is generously supported by the Fan family: John Fan, PhD ’72, Stephanie Fan, and Melina Fan, PhD ’04. See photos from a celebration of the program at Loeb House.

First Weeks at Harvard University

Incoming students are invited to GSAS Welcomes 2020, an online orientation program for new students that focuses on life at Harvard, resources for students, and more. Students are encouraged to complete the course by the beginning of classes, Wednesday, September 2, 2020.

While we are looking forward to welcoming you in the fall, please know that ensuring the safety of students and staff is of paramount importance. GSAS staff have re-imagined our GSAS Welcomes events to help you feel connected to the GSAS community from wherever you may be in the world. These virtual events, held Friday, August 28, 2020, will include:

  • Student Involvement Fair: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (EDT): At the Student Involvement Fair, you will meet student leaders and learn about the GSAS student groups that can help you continue to pursue your interests outside the classroom, lab, or library.
  • International Community Conversations: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (EDT): Through International Community Conversations, international students will connect with continuing GSAS students to discuss the graduate student experience, life at Harvard and in the United States, and more.

The GSAS Student Center will also host an Open House Party on Friday, September 4, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. EDT, a virtual event led by the GSAS Student Center fellows for incoming students to learn about GSAS Student Center.

Academic or Personal Support

No matter what kind of support you need during your time at Harvard, the GSAS Office of Student Services is here to help. To schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with Danielle Farrell, director of student services, students can drop by room B-2, located in the basement of the GSAS Student Center, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., reach out by phone (617-495-5005) or email (stuserv@fas.harvard.edu), or book an appointment online. Danielle and the Office are here to assist and support students however we can!

Financial Aid and Support

Get to know your Financial Aid Officer who can help you help you plan financially for the term of your degree program. 

Tuition Grant

Tuition grants for eligible students cover GSAS tuition, the Student Health Fee, and the Student Health Insurance Plan. Grants do not cover dependent health or dental care.

Stipend Payment

University Student Financial Services has developed contingency plans to ensure that we are able to provide stipends to students who find that they need to attend classes remotely, with the exception of those students who are residing in nations subject to US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) economic sanctions. Students will receive an email from the Harvard University Student Financial Services office over the summer with instructions on how to either sign up for direct deposit (students with US bank accounts) or set up a wire transfer via Western Union Global Pay (students without US bank accounts).

Loans

Your Financial Aid Officer can help with questions about loans.

MBTA Pass

GSAS students can purchase an MBTA pass at a 50 percent discount.

For International Students

When you arrive at Harvard, you should report to the Harvard International Office (HIO) with your passport and visa documentation. HIO staff will walk you through a brief registration process and provide information to help orient you to the area.

English Language Help

If you would like to strengthen your English, check out the resources at the Academic Resource Center and The Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. 

Fellowships for First Year Graduate Students

There are a number of fellowships specific to first year and second year graduate students with deadlines in October or November. GSAS provides resources and workshops on fellowship opportunities.

The GSAS Student Center

The GSAS Student Center in Lehman Hall is the center of GSAS student life. The Center has a cafeteria, a library, game room, study spaces, computer lab, coffee house, and several administrative offices serving graduate students. 

Student Groups and Events

Discover your GSAS community! Engage allows you to connect with student groups, find events, and explore social and learning opportunities.

Harvard Language

Here at Harvard, we shorten names and use a lot of acronyms. Learn some at Harvard Speak.

Advice from the GSAS Community

You Belong at Harvard

"Graduate students are by nature critical. Unleash your curiosity and turn down your inner critic." — Emma Dench, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

First, be confident that you do belong here. The imposter syndrome is surprisingly common, even among the elite group of students we bring into our programs, but our degree programs do a good job of evaluating applications, and you are here because you have earned it.” —James M. Hogle, PhD, Edward S. Harkness Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, former Faculty Dean of Dudley House

 “Relax. Everyone else also thinks that they don’t deserve to be here.” —Donal Cahill, PhD ’15

Research Process

Talk to others about your own work. They’ll be interested. It will stimulate them, motivate them, and give them new ideas. And I find that talking to someone in a completely unrelated field about my own work often helps me make progress.” —Anshul Kumar, PhD '18

"Don't just focus on classes: make sure you go to research seminars as much as possible." —Yueran Ma, PhD student in business economics

Experiencing Failure

Be prepared to experience failure. In many ways, graduate school at Harvard is an exercise in extremes: the most advanced course, taught by the most distinguished faculty, to a group of the most talented students, in preparation for solving the most challenging unmet research problems. Somewhere along the way, your aims are going to exceed your grasp and you will fail. This is a good thing. This is how you learn more about the problem you are studying and the currently, hopefully temporary, limits of your own abilities. In most cases, failure is a necessary prerequisite to success.” —Allen Aloise, PhD ’04, GSAS Dean for Administration and Finance

Take risks. It may mean that you fail sometimes, but that’s okay. You learn the most when you fail, and learning how to deal with failure is probably more important than learning how to deal with success.” —Sheila Thomas, PhD, GSAS Dean for Academic Programs and Diversity

Make Time for Yourself

"All work and no play actually make you less productive! Work-life balance is important and isn't something that magically happens; you have to work on it."—Sa-Kiera Hudson, PhD student in social psychology

"Look at the student groups and see which ones might fit your interests, and surround yourself with a community. Graduate school is hard enough as it is . . . if you don't have community surrounding you, it's going to be that much harder." — Alyssa Hernandez, GSAS Diversity Fellow and PhD student in organismic and evolutionary biology

Seeking Help

Do not be afraid to ask for help! This is completely cliché, but it’s still the most important piece of advice I have for incoming graduate students. Many student feel intimidated when coming to Harvard and think that by asking for help (of any kind), it somehow makes them unintelligent. I can guarantee that the only unintelligent think you are doing is NOT asking for help.” —Cammi Valdez, PhD ’14 

“Grad school is intense and demanding. It can get hard, but keep in mind that if you don't face some hardship and struggle, then you are not really learning. These difficulties will help you grow both academically and as a person. If you are facing a problem or you have some concerns, whether it is personal or academic, don't hesitate to reach out for help. There are plenty of resources for GSAS students and there are people who genuinely care about your welfare as a grad student.” —Ismail Ben Atitallah, PhD student in engineering and applied sciences 

“I advise new students to seek help when they need it. People at Harvard are more than happy to help or answer academic or personal questions.”—Sophie Gilmore, PhD student in visual and environmental studies 

Connecting with your Advisor

“A mentor relationship can be defined as going beyond just narrow academic advising; typically the mentor takes the whole person into account, conveying a sense of support and encouragement.”—Cynthia Verba, former GSAS Director of Fellowships

“One thing my advisor kept reminding me was that there's literally nothing that can prepare you for a PhD program at Harvard, and that was a comforting reminder. That advice allowed me to be a little more compassionate toward myself and just ride the waves of transition with grace.”—Avriel Epps, PhD student in education

Town Hall Q&A

GSAS held an incoming student town hall on July 8, 2020. Below is a curated list of questions raised in advance of and during the event.

Academics and Cohort Building

Are there any minima of course completion in the first semester as lab work cannot be started?

Course requirements are set by the individual graduate programs. Please be in touch with your program, who will help you navigate if and how course requirements can be adapted.

If I cross-list for a course at Tufts or MIT, for example, will I be expected learn remotely or in person?

Students who cross-register at other institutions should comply with the requirements set by that institution and the course instructor.

How will international students manage the time differences for online courses?

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Registrar’s Office will provide instructors with student locations, so they will be able to determine times that work for all students. They will also know before classes start if they need to run sections in different time zones so that they can accommodate teaching fellows and students in a more meaningful way. Course heads have been asked to schedule courses so that students can participate between 7:30 a.m. and 10:15 p.m. in students’ local time. Please note that courses conducted at other Harvard Schools may have different policies; contact the appropriate registrar’s office for details.

Will rotations take place in-person? How much access will incoming students have to labs?

Please contact your graduate program directly for information.

Has a plan been developed for how students will find thesis advisors and conduct thesis research remotely?

Each graduate program has a unique method for matching students with advisors, establishing dissertation committees, and engaging in academic advising. Contact your graduate program for more information.

Will cohort building be completely remote?

GSAS is working with graduate programs to ensure plans are underway regarding cohort building for the fall. Your program will be in touch with more information.

Will plans be developed to provide a campus experience for one-year, terminal master’s degree programs?

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which GSAS is a part, has determined that all course instruction will be delivered remotely for the 2020–2021 academic year. Please check with your graduate program for specific guidance. Students in graduate programs based in other Harvard Schools will be governed by the decisions outlined by those individual Schools.

Is there a chance the styles of classes will change at some point during the fall semester (e.g. between online-only and in-person)?

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which GSAS is a part, has determined that all course instruction will be delivered remotely for the 2020–2021 academic year. Please check with your graduate program for specific guidance. Students in graduate programs based in other Harvard Schools will be governed by the decisions outlined by those individual Schools.

Will decisions about remote instruction apply to the spring semester as well?

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which GSAS is a part, has determined that all course instruction will be delivered remotely for the 2020–2021 academic year. Please check with your graduate program for specific guidance. Students in graduate programs based in other Harvard Schools will be governed by the decisions outlined by those individual Schools.

I would like to complete a required oral communication skills course in person and not remotely. Can I receive an extension to a later time?

It is recommended that you complete the oral communication skills course as currently scheduled.

Admissions, Deferrals, Registration

Since the GSAS offices are currently closed, should I mail in my transcript now or should I wait until office reopens?

GSAS is encouraging students to forward official electronic transcripts, if available. If not, GSAS is accepting postal and courier deliveries, however, transcript processing is delayed due to limited campus access. While we ask that incoming students make every effort to meet our published transcript deadline on July 31, 2020, we will extend that deadline to the end of the fall semester registration period, if needed. Students who are not able to submit their final transcripts until after the registration period should contact the Office of Admissions to inquire about a further extension.

I'm an international student who is finishing a master’s degree at another university. Can I take a leave of absence from my current institution and start my PhD at Harvard, essentially double enrolling?

Please contact admiss@fas.harvard.edu for further assistance.

Will flexibility regarding deferment for master’s students be extended if students prefer to wait for a return to normalcy? Would it be possible to push the start date of my program to next fall?

Deferral policies are determined by the graduate programs. Please check in with your program to determine whether your request can be accommodated.

Why is tuition not being reduced for master’s programs when students will not be receiving the full experience and the University is spending less?

Tuition amounts are determined by the University’s senior governing board and will remain at the levels previously announced. We are committed to providing a rigorous, high-quality educational experience during the 2020-2021 academic year, and our faculty and staff are developing ways to enhance student engagement and networking beyond the classroom.

When is the deferral deadline?

The Office of Admissions will accept deferral requests through late August, however, final decisions about deferrals are made at the program level. Please contact your program for guidance.

For students living off-campus, will an immunization form be required in order to register for classes?

If your program is remote for the fall semester, you do not need to comply with normal immunization requirements and your health services record will be updated to reflect that immunizations are not required for the fall term. If your patient portal currently shows non-compliance, please note that updates to student records will be made by the end of July.

When does fall course registration open? Is this the same date for remote/international students?

The academic calendar lists the fall course registration date, which is the same for all students. Please contact your program administrator with questions.

Financial Support and Taxes

I have been awarded a fellowship from an external foundation. Will this change my financial support package?

Please review the GSAS External Award policy and contact your financial aid officer to discuss your personal situation.

How will stipends and coverage for tuition and health fees work? Should students create a bank account in Boston?

Please refer to your Notice of Financial Support (if one was included in your offer of admission) to review information about stipends and grants for tuition and fees. If you have access to a US bank account, you should follow the instructions sent by Harvard University Student Financial Services (SFS) on how to sign up for direct deposit. If you do not have access to a US bank account, SFS will send you instructions on how to sign up for Western Union GlobalPay.

Will my Notice of Financial Support remain the same regardless of where I live?

The Notice of Financial Support will not change, regardless of where a student is living. Students who do not have access to a US bank account may be required to sign up for the Western Union GlobalPay wire transfer, which may be impacted by currency conversion and bank fees.

How will taxes work on stipends if we are living outside of the US for the first year?

Taxes will be deducted from stipends based on your country’s tax treaties.

Will a half-month stipend be distributed on August 15?

Half-month stipends apply to Division of Medical Sciences (DMS) students only. This year, Student Financial Services (SFS) will disburse funds to students on August 1, 2020. Students should have received an email from SFS with instructions for setting up direct deposit.

Health Insurance

Can you explain the Harvard University Health Insurance waiver for international students who live in countries with better health insurance than the US?

Please contact HUHS member services with questions.

When does insurance coverage begin for incoming students?

Insurance coverage begins on August 1, 2020. Please visit the HUSHP website for more details.

Housing

What kind of housing support will you offer students who were not able to secure rooms in the residence halls or through Harvard University Housing?

If University and public health guidelines allow, the GSAS residence halls will make more rooms available mid-semester or for the spring term. Harvard University Housing also provides information on off-campus housing.

Are there benefits for students choosing to relocate to the Boston area, such as access to libraries, health services, printing/photocopy, etc.?

Harvard Library announced its commitment to being the best digital library possible and it has continued to improve, update, and expand digital access to the library catalog. The library has also been working on their smart restart for research initiative, which includes details about the Library’s plans. For other Harvard resources, access policies are driven by public health guidance.

Does Harvard University Housing provide short term lease options, such as month to month?

Harvard University Housing (HUH) does not provide short term lease options, but students may terminate their lease with HUH up to December 31, 2020, with no fee or penalty.

I’m not sure whether to move to the Cambridge/Boston area. Is there a way to secure a spot for Harvard University Housing and cancel the application if plans change?

Yes, you can cancel your application with HUH at any time through the end of the calendar year. You can also terminate your lease up until December 31, 2020, with no fee or penalty.

Is it possible the GSAS residence halls will recommend or require students to move out of their room before May 2021 should the situation worsen?

If it is determined by the University and public health experts that it is not safe for students to continue living in the residence halls, it is possible that students will be required to vacate prior to the end of our contract in May 2021. We would only require this if necessary for the health and safety of all residents and our community.

If the spring semester is in-person, will the housing lottery reopen?

If University and public health guidelines allow, the GSAS residence halls will make more rooms available mid-semester or for the spring term. Please note that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, of which GSAS is a part, has determined that all course instruction will be delivered remotely for the 2020–2021 academic year. Please check with your graduate program for specific guidance. Students in graduate programs based in other Harvard Schools will be governed by the decisions outlined by those individual Schools.

Can housing properties be viewed prior to selecting a unit?

GSAS has made available a photo gallery of rooms and spaces in the residence halls, including 360 views. For Harvard University Housing, you can view available units online.

Does it make sense for an international student to submit a housing application given we most likely won't be able to study on campus this fall?

For both the GSAS residence halls and Harvard University Housing, you can submit an application and withdraw it later.

I have signed a lease with Harvard University Housing. What happens if I return to my original country?

Harvard University Housing (HUH) will accommodate a lease termination with no fee or penalty up to December 31, 2020.

Immigration, Travel, Quarantine

How can I obtain my i20?

Please email admiss@fas.harvard.edu with questions concerning the status of your student visa documents.

My lab rotations will begin on time in September. As an international student, what should I do if I am unable to secure a visa by then?

Please contact your graduate program for information.

Do Canadian students face the same immigration restrictions as non-Canadian internationals?

Please contact the Harvard International Office (HIO) for guidance.

How will incoming international students unable to enter the US receive their stipends?

Incoming international students will receive their stipends via the Western Union GlobalPay service and will receive an email with instructions on how to sign up for this service on or around each monthly stipend disbursement date.

Will incoming international students be eligible to work remotely and be paid for on-campus jobs?

Students will be eligible to work remotely; hiring departments will work with the University’s global support staff to set up a mechanism for compensating students outside of the US.

Are there any updates around the resumption of international travel?

Harvard’s current travel policy is based on health concerns for the Harvard community and to ensure that Harvard is part of a solution to keep the pandemic under control around the world. For that reason, we comply with the CDC and State Department guidance preventing or prohibiting international travel. This policy applies to faculty, staff, and students, and it is in place through the end of the summer at a minimum.

A University-wide committee is considering when international travel could be allowed, with guidance on fall travel policy available by the end of July at the earliest.

I am coming from Asia; do I need self-quarantine when I arrive?

Students arriving from outside of Massachusetts are required to comply with Massachusetts guidelines concerning self-quarantine. Students who need to quarantine should arrange to do so in the housing that they have secured.

Miscellaneous

Are there plans to have in-person graduation?

We are currently planning for in-person graduation, however, these plans may change depending on the trajectory of the pandemic.

In the absence of physical Harvard student ID cards, will the University issue alternative forms of ID for incoming students to use while off-campus?

If you require a physical student ID card, please contact ID Services to inquire about the policy and process.

The new HGSU-UAW contract states that student workers are guaranteed access to a desk. I am a TF and an RA; how do I gain access to a desk at HSPH?

Please direct any questions concerning the conditions of your employment as a student worker to your employing supervisor. In accordance with the policies established by the University’s agreement with the HGSU-UAW, the supervisor will provide reasonable access to desk space to carry out the assigned duties, or the supervisor will work with their local administrative units to determine such space.

International Stipend and Tax Information

Stipends 

Harvard University has partnered with Western Union Global Pay to send stipend payments to international students who do not have access to a US bank account during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Stipends will be automatically set up with Western Union for students who meet the following criteria: 

  1. Are not US citizens or permanent residents; 
  2. Have not signed up for direct deposit with a US bank account; and 
  3. Do not have a current US address listed as their Physical Address in the my.Harvard student registration system.

Things to note if you will be paid via Western Union wire transfer: 

  • Watch your inbox for an email from Western Union within 10 days of the stipend pay date (typically sooner).  
  • Once you have set up your banking information with Western Union, you can expect the funds to be sent to your bank within three business days.   
  • Western Union will send a second confirmation email once the transaction has been processed. 
  • You only need to provide banking information once; subsequent payments will be processed using the same bank account. 
  • Since your Student Account will be used to send your stipend to Western Union, you will see these monthly actions reflected on your account as:  
    • Credit displayed as "Payroll Deduction — Int'l" 
    • Debit displayed as " Refund — Stipend via WU” 
  • Your net stipend amount may be impacted by currency conversion and bank fees. The conversion rate will be based on the rate in effect on the day that Western Union initiates the payment to you. Your bank may also charge a fee for the transaction. You may request reimbursement of these fees from GSAS; details will be made available later in the fall. 
  • When reviewing your pay records in the University’s Peoplesoft human resources management system, you will see: 
    • "Pay Amount" of $0
    • "After-Tax Deductions" information which indicates "Stipend out of Ctry Deduction" in the amount of the net stipend disbursement

Taxes 

Typically, international student stipends are taxed based on their country’s tax treaty with the US. Students who have already received stipend payments may have noticed that taxes were assessed based on this policy. Harvard is reviewing US policies to determine if changes will be made regarding taxation of international student stipends this fall. We will be in touch as soon as we have information to share.

GLACIER Tax Compliance System 

You may have recently received an email from Harvard about the GLACIER tax compliance system. International students who will not be in the US in the fall do not need to enter information into GLACIER at this time; international students coming into the US at this time will need to enter their information into GLACIER prior to arrival.