Thinking of applying to complete a Secondary Field in Computational Science and Engineering? Answers to your questions

Can I count courses both toward my Ph.D. and the Secondary Field?

Yes, courses that meet the requirements of both your degree program and the Secondary Field can be "double-counted" as long as it’s okay with your home department. SEAS students, you may count the courses listed on your final Ph.D. plan of study toward the secondary field.

Can I earn the Secondary Field en route to the Ph.D., or do I need to wait until I graduate?

You can complete the secondary field at any time in your graduate career.  In fact, we encourage you to finish it before you finish the Ph.D.

Can I count courses that I took before I was accepted into the Secondary Field program?

Yes, we will accept courses you’ve already taken. However, we prefer that you take the courses once you’ve entered the Secondary Field so that you experience the course with the broader implications of the secondary field in mind. For example, SEAS has modified Applied Math 205 to make it one of the core courses in the program.

I’m a G4.  May I still apply?

Only students who are G3 and below are eligible to apply.

Does the Secondary Field appear on my Harvard transcript?


When is my application due?

Applications may be submitted twice a year, in the spring semester (deadline, March 1) and fall semester (deadline, October 1). If accepted, you will begin the program the following academic term. The application, which will include a proposed Plan of Study, must also be approved by the home department Director of Graduate Studies (we will take care of this if you are a SEAS student). The DGS in CSE will respond to all applications within one month.

Is there a time limit in which I need to complete the Secondary Field?

We do not plan to impose a time limit (except that you must finish before your Ph.D. is awarded). We realize that students may complete the final requirement--a "mini-oral" examination on a piece of computational work--during the final stages of their studies, since the work may be done as part of their dissertation research.

I am in a graduate program at Harvard but am outside the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Can I earn the Secondary Field credential?

No, it is available only to students enrolled in GSAS. Undergraduates, students in other schools and postdocs are welcome to enroll in our courses. Some will be offered through the Harvard Extension School as well.

How do I request a transcript?

The FAS Registrar has an online form that can be accessed here. We understand that you cannot control the processing time for your transcript request, so we will accept a transcript that arrives within a week of the application deadline.

I'd like to dive deeper into CSE. Can I go on to earn a Master of Science degree after completing the Secondary Field requirements?

The answer to this question will be different for each individual, depending on the requirements of your Ph.D. program, your status (G1, G2 etc.) and whether you expect to earn a master's degree in another field. In principle, it is possible to earn an Master of Science in CSE en route to a Harvard Ph.D. by completing four additional courses beyond the Secondary Field requirements, but students should speak to Daniel Weinstock for more information. Note that students will not be permitted to combine a Master of Engineering in CSE (a two-year degree) with another Harvard degree.