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Student Handbook

Student Handbook: Academic Programs and Affiliations

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

The Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree is HGSE’s initial research-based doctoral offering. Consistent with the purpose of doctoral study, the capstone of the Ed.D. Program is conducting original research on an important question within the field of education that culminates in a dissertation. The final Ed.D. cohort enrolled in fall 2013; HGSE now offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Education, as described below. Further detail about program-specific requirements and policies can be found on the program website and in relevant sections of this handbook.

Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.)

In the fall of 2014, HGSE transitioned from offering a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree to offering a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education degree. The Ph.D. in Education is an interdisciplinary, joint degree offered in collaboration with Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and replaced the Ed.D. to better signal our program’s research emphasis and to strengthen ties with academic departments across the university. The Ph.D. also culminates with a dissertation rooted in original research. Further detail about program-specific requirements and policies can be found on the program website, in relevant sections of this handbook, and in the GSAS Student Handbook.

Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.)

The Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) is a three year, full-time, practice-based program including core coursework, elective coursework, and a third-year residency with one of the program’s partner organizations. The degree culminates with a capstone documenting the student’s leadership of and contributions to a strategic project within the organization. Further detail about program-specific requirements and policies can be found on the program website and in relevant sections of this handbook.

Master of Education (Ed.M.)

The Master of Education (Ed.M.) is a yearlong, intensive program for students who wish to study a particular field in education, acquire a general theoretical background for understanding past and future field experiences, or develop skills for use in professional work in education. A thesis or comprehensive exam is not required. Further detail about program-specific requirements and policies can be found on individual program Hub pages and in relevant sections of this handbook.

Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in Counseling

The Prevention Science and Practice (PSP) and the Human Development and Education (HDE) master’s programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to offer a two-year curricular sequence leading to initial licensure in school counseling. Further detail about program-specific requirements and policies can be found on the program websites.

Harvard Teacher Fellows (HTF)

Harvard Teacher Fellows (HTF) offers an innovative pathway into teaching for Harvard College students committed to careers serving communities most in need of high-quality instruction. The licensure-granting program was established in response to the urgent need for exemplary teachers and the high level of interest in education among Harvard students. HTF prepares excellent secondary English, history, math, and science teachers through subject-specific training, intensive fieldwork, and personalized coaching and support.

Further detail about program-specific requirements and policies can be found on the program website and in relevant sections of this handbook.

Non-degree Study

The Harvard Graduate School of Education offers students the opportunity to take graduate-level courses without formally pursuing an HGSE degree. To be eligible for non-degree study, students must fall into one of the categories below. Some of these categories allow students to enroll in courses and receive academic credit; others allow students to do research or audit courses. It is the responsibility of all non-degree students to meet registration deadlines (see the Academic Calendar). Non-degree students are ineligible for financial aid, health insurance, housing, or office space.

Students should note that professors reserve the right to limit courses to degree-seeking students if it is determined that the enrollment of non-degree students is counter-productive to the goals of the course. This right is not limited to courses designated as “limited enrollment.” HGSE also reserves the right to terminate the registration, and/or to disallow any future registration, of any HGSE non-degree student who, in the judgment of the school, receives an unsatisfactory grade or whose behavior in any way interferes with the academic or other operations of the university.

For information about obtaining credit toward an HGSE degree program for courses taken as a non-degree student, see Credit for Prior Course Work.

Harvard Employees

The Harvard Graduate School of Education allows individuals who are Harvard University employees to enroll in HGSE courses and pay for their HGSE tuition by using the Tuition Assistance Plan (TAP). For more information on Harvard-wide TAP policies.

Harvard Graduate School of Education Alumni

HGSE degree holders may enroll for credit in one course (or its equivalent in credits) per semester by registering during the designated period for HGSE non-degree registration and filing an enrollment form by the course enrollment deadline. No application is necessary, but degree holders are expected to pay for the course, at the current one-course tuition rate, upon receipt of the student bill.

Professional Education at HGSE

The Harvard Graduate School of Education has numerous opportunities for educators to expand their skills. Onsite and online, the programs are designed for teachers, principals, administrators, and policymakers. For information about these professional development opportunities, please visit Professional Education.

Visiting Fellows

A select number of visiting fellows may be admitted for a period of enrollment of three months to one year. This option is available for advanced doctoral students at other universities who are conducting relevant research and who have appropriate funding (for instance, from a grant or fellowship). Each visiting fellow must be sponsored by an HGSE faculty member and must be approved by the associate dean for faculty affairs.

Special Student in Education (SSE)

Applicants who wish to study without the constraints of a formal degree program may apply to be a Special Student in Education (SSE). Individuals applying for SSE status fall into one of three categories: faculty from institutions other than Harvard wishing to take courses for credit; advanced doctoral students from Harvard or other institutions conducting relevant research; or professional educators seeking to enhance current work. A limited number of applicants are admitted in this category each year. Course enrollment is on a space-available basis and is limited to HGSE courses only. Once admitted, a student’s official enrollment in a course is subject to the approval of the instructor. SSE students are not eligible for HGSE funding, housing, office space, health insurance or other degree student resources or services. 

Voucher Holders 

The Harvard Graduate School of Education issues tuition vouchers to teachers and other practitioners who supervise HGSE students in a variety of educational settings. These vouchers can be used to cover basic tuition requirements for degree and non-degree students. With certain limitations, they also may be used to cover basic tuition requirements in any faculty allowing HGSE cross-registration or in the Division of Continuing Education. HGSE course enrollment is on a space-available basis for voucher holders. A voucher holder’s official enrollment in a course is subject to the approval of the instructor. Please note the following voucher policies: 

  • Voucher holders are allowed to redeem only one voucher per semester. 
  • Vouchers must be redeemed before the designated expiration date.
  • Voucher holders are not eligible for HGSE funding, housing, office space, health insurance or other degree student resources or services.