Application Requirements

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Please verify that your application is complete, with all applicable documents, before submitting it to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. See below for the components needed to complete your application:

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Letters of Recommendation
  3. Transcripts
  4.  Recommended Coursework
  5. GRE Scores
  6. English Proficiency / TOEFL Scores
  7. Application Fee 

** Please be advised: An individual may submit up to three applications during the course of his or her academic career. Submission of additional applications may result in the withdrawal of the application. Application fees are not refundable.

1.  Online Application Form

The Online Application Form includes biographical and academic information, an abstract of all courses, and a statement of purpose. Although the abstract of courses may duplicate information available on your transcript(s), it is essential that the admissions committee receive this orderly summary of your courses.

 

2.  Letters of Recommendation 

Submit a minimum of three letters of recommendation from professors or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. All recommendation letters should be uploaded on or before the application deadline. The Graduate School requires your recommenders to use the online recommendation process.  At least one letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student unless you have been out of school for more than five years.  Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work. Indicate on the recommendation form whether you are waiving your right to see the letter of recommendation.  Please note that your letters must be received by the application deadline in order for your application to be evaluated by the Admissions Committee.

 

3.  Transcripts

The Graduate School requires that you upload a copy of your transcript from each college/university attended with your online application. An official transcript showing the conferral of the undergraduate degree is required to register in the Graduate School.

Foreign transcripts—records of all courses, seminars, and examinations, including grades, scores, grading scales, and conferrals of degrees—must be in English.  If records are not available in English, original records must be uploaded with certified English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records. 

Students who are unsure of the U.S. equivalency of their degree(s) should consult a reputable credential evaluation service.

The University reserves the right to request additional academic documents.

 

4. Recommended Coursework

Entering students should have a record of introductory courses in chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics.  While the following courses should not be regarded as prerequisites for admission to graduate study, most admitted students have completed these courses as undergraduates:

  • Biology (at least one general course in biology and two terms of biology at a more advanced level)
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Physics (a general course)
  • Mathematics (a basic knowledge of differential and integral calculus). Competence in elementary programming is also desirable.
  • Laboratory in Biology, Biochemistry, or Instrumental Analysis. 

 

5.  GRE Scores

All applicants must present scores of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Scores from either the computer-based or the traditional paper administration are acceptable.  Applicants must take the GRE in sufficient time for score reports to reach the Admissions Office by the application deadline.  If, at the time of application, only self-reported or unofficial scores are available, please include these scores on your application form.  An official score report must be sent directly from ETS (see below).

When requesting GRE score reports, please indicate the receiving institution as:

  • Harvard University,
  • Graduate Division, Arts and Sciences, code 3451. 
  • No department code is required.

For further information contact the ETS directly at (609) 771-7670.  GRE scores are valid for five years only.  Applicants who have not taken the GRE in the last five years and intend to submit scores should take the examinations again.  The GRE Subject test is optional; if you choose to take a subject test, common subject areas include Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry.

 

6.  English Proficiency / TOEFL Scores

 

Applicants whose native language is other than English and who do not hold the equivalent of a US Bachelor degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction must submit scores from the Internet-based Test (IBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

When requesting official score reports, indicate the receiving institution as:

  • Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Code 3451.

If an “Applicant’s Score Confirmation Report” is available, scan and upload a copy, attaching it to the online application.  However, the official institutional score report sent by ETS to the Graduate School (Code 3451) is still required.  A score of 80 on the TOEFL IBT is the minimum accepted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. A score of 100 or higher is strongly recommended for consideration.

Applicants who took the TOEFL more than two years before the current application deadline must repeat the test.  No test other than the TOEFL IBT will be acceptable as proof of English proficiency.  Additionally, GSAS will use students’ scores on the speaking section of the TOEFL IBT to determine the oral proficiency of admitted students.

Applicants holding a master's degree from an English-language university and whose undergraduate degree is from a non-English-language university are required to provide scores for the TOEFL IBT.  This requirement cannot be waived.   For more information, please visit the TOEFL website or call the Educational Testing Service at (609) 771-7100. 

 

7. Application Fee ($105)

This fee must be paid via credit card.  Your application will not be processed until payment is submitted and received by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  Students who qualify for an application fee waiver should request a Fee Waiver Request directly from the Graduate School by emailing minrec@fas.harvard.edu well in advance of the application deadline.  Please note you must begin an online application before requesting a fee waiver.  It is possible to begin an application, save it, and then complete it at a later date.