Ph.D. Timeline

G1 year

Fall

  • Early-September:
    • Have External Funding?  Notify your financial aid officers.  Please email Bob Bridges at SEAS and Tracey Newman at GSAS.
    • Course Registration Deadline (previously known as "Study Card Day").  See the GSAS Policies Academic Calendar.
  • Mid-September: Course Registration Deadline (previously known as "Study Card Day")

Spring

  • Mid-January: Deadline for submitting materials to be reviewed at the January CHD meetings; see the CHD page.
  • Late-January: Course Registration Deadline (previously known as "Study Card Day").  See the GSAS Policies Academic Calendar.
  • Mid-February: Deadline for submitting materials to be reviewed at the March CHD meetings; see the CHD page for dates.
  • April 1: Research Advisor Selection Form/Research Assistant appointment form due to Office of Academic Programs (OAP) 
  • Early-April: Deadline for submitting materials to be reviewed at the April CHD meetings; see the CHD page for dates.
    • Note: The April CHD meeting is the last CHD meeting in all academic years! CHD does not meet over the summer. Remember to plan ahead.

G2 Year

Throughout year

  • TFing:
    • G2’s are required to serve as a Teaching Fellow in either the Fall or Spring terms.
    • Make sure you complete the TF application once you line up a TF position! 
  • Qualifying Exam:
    • G2’s are required to take their qualifying exam in either the Fall or Spring terms.
    • Email classes@seas to book a room.  If you book your own room (e.g., external to SEAS) you must still email classes@seas well in advance in order for your required documentation to be ready, else your exam cannot take place.
    • Upon completion of the exam, students are required to submit the Designation of Research Committee form to OAP.
    • If you plan to request a deferral of the qualifying exam, complete a Request to Delay Qual Exam form. Note that deferrals until September (i.e. start of G3 year) are typically approved as a matter of course. 

Fall

Spring

  • Late-January: Course Registration Deadline (previously known as "Study Card Day").  See the GSAS Policies Academic Calendar.
  • S.M. enroute if desired. SM degree plan must be approved by the CHD before a student can apply for the SM degree.  If you have an approved Ph.D. plan in your degree area, simply select eight of the ten courses to be counted toward your S.M. degree. Courses transferred in from other institutions cannot be counted toward the SM degree. (Note that the S.M. en route can be applied for at any point during a student's Ph.D. after they have satisfied the S.M. requirements.)
  • May 1: RA reappointment form due to OAP.

G3 and beyond

Throughout year

  • Making changes to your Final Program Plan?  Remember that the CHD needs to approve them.  Please resubmit your Final Program Plan for review; see the CHD page for submission dates. 
  • Changed your research committee?  Inform OAP of any changes to the committee

Fall

  • Early-September: Course Registration Deadline (previously known as "Study Card Day").  See the GSAS Policies Academic Calendar.

Spring

  • Late-January: Course Registration Deadline (previously known as "Study Card Day").  See the GSAS Policies Academic Calendar
  • May 1: RA reappointment form due to OAP.

 

Getting ready to graduate?

Degree Application

  • Check out FAS deadlines here (Registrar) or here (GSAS)
  • Complete the degree application via my.harvard by the Registrar's deadline.

Defense

  • Book a room for your final defense by emailing classes@seas.harvard.edu.
    • If you schedule your own room (e.g., external to SEAS) you must still email classes@seas well in advance in order for your required documentation to be ready, else your defense cannot take place.  You must also get agreement from your full committee to hold your defense in a non-SEAS room.

Dissertation Submission and Commencement

  • Find out the rules for formatting and submitting your dissertation to FAS.
    • The best way to share your dissertation with others is by linking to the DASH copy. DASH uses persistent URLs and provides you with download statistics, and the DASH copy of your PDF will not include the signed Dissertation Acceptance Certificate (DAC). If you choose to post or share your PDF in some other way, you should remove the DAC page so that readers do not have access to the scanned signatures.
  • Get ready for commencement by updating your email and other contact information via my.harvard.edu.

Good luck!