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Student Handbook

Student Handbook: HGSE Supports

Office of Student Affairs 

The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) supports student success by providing a variety of services, programs, and activities.  Some of the programs and services OSA offers and supports includes: 

  • Orientation
  • Student Events 
  • Diversity & Inclusion 
  • Student Support Services 
  • Academic Coaching 
  • Access and Accommodations  
  • Sexual & Gender-Based Harassment 
  • Commencement 

More information about our supports and services can be found at: 

Accommodations: Process and Supports 

Our community is guided by principles of inclusivity. Harvard Graduate School of Education is committed to making all courses and related programs available to all students. As part of this mission, we welcome and provide assistance to qualified students with documented disabilities; students with physical impairments (e.g., limited mobility, sensory loss, chronic illness) and/or with learning and cognitive or emotional disabilities. 

To request accommodations, students with disabilities must contact Student Support Services prior to the start of classes (as is possible) to discuss specific needs and possible plans, fill out the Disability Identification Form, present current medical documentation, and, if warranted, to arrange for appropriate services. Specific accommodations cannot be arranged through members of the faculty; all accommodations must be coordinated through Student Support Services. Once a student has been deemed eligible to receive accommodations, they are responsible for discussing these with individual faculty members for appropriate implementation. In some cases, a conference among the student, the faculty member, and Student Support Services may be necessary for optimal support. It is important that all parties engage in this work with the understanding that, according to federal educational laws, accommodations are provided in order to ensure access to the curriculum and learning opportunities consistent with the program and degree requirements; accommodations are not meant in any way to alter or modify the program or degree requirements. 


Primary Responsibilities 

Student Support Services 

Discusses needs with student; reviews and assesses eligibility for accommodations; determines appropriate supports and conveys/verifies the nature of the accommodations to faculty as needed 

Faculty Program Directors/Co-Chairs and Concentration Co-Chairs 

May identify need for student support and refer student to the Office of Student Affairs/Access and Disability Services 

Teaching Faculty and Teaching Fellows 

Review course level performance and report any integrity concerns to the Degree Programs Office 

Office of Student Affairs 

Provide counseling and support related to academic progress and integrity; manage all requests for accommodations and referrals to resources 

Degree Programs Office (Ed.M., Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.L.D.) 

Manages any initial concerns related to academic progress or integrity, reporting alleged violations to the academic dean 

Academic Dean 

Reviews all complaints and decides on a course of resolution 

Records pertaining to requests for accommodation are maintained separately from academic records and both are treated confidentially, with information shared only on a strict “need to know” basis. If a student receiving accommodations is not making sufficient academic progress towards the program and degree requirements, this issue is taken up with the HGSE Degree Programs Office. In these cases, Student Support Services may serve as a support or resource to the student; however, Student Support Services does not oversee academic progress or make determinations or decisions about academic progress and/or requirements. 

If a student with a disability disagrees with a determination of academic or non-academic accommodations (pursuant to the procedures described below), the student may request reconsideration of the decision by following the Harvard University Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedure. If a student with a disability wishes to resolve complaints concerning discrimination, they should follow the procedures laid out in the section of this handbook. For additional information on the process please visit the HGSE Student Support Services website

HGSE Academic Writing Services and Communications Lab 

617-496-3894 | 

The HGSE Academic Writing Center and Communications Lab (“CommLab”), supported by Gutman Library, is designed to assist HGSE students in the acquisition of clear and cogent writing and oral communication skills. Appointments are provided by HGSE Teaching Fellows (TFs) with backgrounds in academic writing and communication. The Writing Center TFs provide students with the tools necessary to respond effectively to assignments, organize short papers and lengthy research projects, and develop working drafts into publishable products. The CommLab TFs offer students strategies to develop an academic presentation, create a research poster, prepare an entrepreneur pitch, or practice a doctoral defense.  

Academic Writing Center and CommLab services are available by appointment using this this website.