Admissions & Financial Aid

Applying to the Ph.D. in Education

The information below refers to the application process for the Ph.D. in Education. All Ph.D. applicants must apply through the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

For additional, up-to-date information about the Ph.D. application process, please see the GSAS Application Instructions and Information and the HGSE How to Apply pages.

How do I access the application for the Ph.D. in Education?

You must apply using the GSAS online application for admission.

What should I discuss in my Statement of Purpose?

In your statement, please describe your reasons and motivations for pursuing a graduate degree in your chosen program of study at Harvard. What experiences led you to your research ambitions? Concisely state your past work in your intended field of study and in related fields. Briefly indicate your career objectives.

The statement should be no more than 1,000 words.

Who can be my recommenders?

Ph.D. applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation from faculty or others qualified to evaluate the applicant’s potential for graduate study. 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.

All recommendations must be submitted using the online application system.

How do I submit my transcripts?

GSAS requires that you upload a copy of your transcript with your online application. In addition, GSAS requires that one hard copy official university/college transcript from each university/college attended—bearing the seal of the institution and signature of the registrar or appropriate official—must be submitted in support of your application. Make sure your official hardcopy transcript is sent to the correct Office of Admissions address (see below). An official transcript showing the conferral of the undergraduate degree is required to register in GSAS. 

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 submitted with certified English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records. Irreplaceable foreign documents will be returned if accompanied by a self-addressed, postage-paid, envelope large enough to hold the documents.

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

GSAS reserves the right to request additional academic documents.

Please send your official, original, hardcopy transcripts here:

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University
Office of Admissions
P.O. Box 9129
Cambridge, MA 02238-9129

Transcripts sent via courier or express mail service should be addressed to:

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Harvard University
Office of Admissions
Holyoke Center, 3rd Floor
1350 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Is the GRE a required part of the application?

All Ph.D. applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test.

GRE scores are valid for five years only. Ph.D. applicants who have not taken the GRE in the last five years and intend to submit scores should take the examinations again.

Is the TOEFL a required part of the application?

If your native language is not English and you do not hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction, you must submit official scores from the internet-based test (iBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Ph.D. applicants who took the TOEFL more than two years ago must repeat the test.

What is the institutional code for the GRE and TOEFL?

The Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' institution code for the GRE and TOEFL is 3451.

If I have previously applied to a program at HGSE, do I have to resubmit all documents when applying to the Ph.D. in Education?

Applicants who have previously applied to HGSE and are now applying for the Ph.D. in Education through the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) must resubmit all documents when applying.

Applicants who applied to GSAS within the past year and are now applying to the Ph.D. should review the GSAS reapplication procedure.

Does GSAS accept transfer credits?

After completion of one term in a Ph.D. program in the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), students who have done graduate work elsewhere may petition their departments for a maximum of one year’s academic credit. Departments will generally give credit for courses equivalent to those offered by Harvard. No financial credit toward tuition is given.

Academic and financial credit may be granted for graduate-level courses taken as a Special Student in GSAS. A maximum of eight half-courses may be used for credit toward the Ph.D. After completion of one term in GSAS, students may petition their department for academic and financial credit for courses taken as a Special Student.

Admissions Office

111 Longfellow Hall
13 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-3414
Fax: 617-496-3577
Email Admissions

Financial Aid Office

061 Longfellow Hall
13 Appian Way
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-3416
Fax: 617-496-0840
Email Financial Aid

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