GSAS - COVID-19 Updates

Harvard University is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The health, safety, and well-being of the GSAS community, on and off campus, is our top priority. We are following the advice of Harvard University and Harvard University Health Services, which are continuously monitoring information from local health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Coronavirus Guidance Website

GSAS Emergency Policy Amendments Website

Latest Updates

[7/6/2020] - GSAS Emergency Policy Amendments

July 6, 2020

As a result of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, GSAS is evaluating and amending certain policies. Below is a list of policies amended to date (you can find more information on each policy page).

  • The following updates have been made to the Resident Student and Traveling Scholar statuses for Academic Year 2020-2021 [Amended June 30, 2020]:
    • Students who are registered and enrolled in courses (including Reading and Research or time-equivalent courses) and who are engaged in full time degree work, regardless of their physical location, are considered resident students. Resident students must check in and register via my.harvard.edu for four courses (16 credits), regardless of whether they are taking courses, conducting research, or teaching.
      • Students should have accepted their financial aid and the associated terms and conditions prior to registration. Contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions.
      • Resident Students may apply to waive the Harvard University Student Health Insurance Plan provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
      • Resident students residing outside Massachusetts will be charged 50% of the Student Health Fee.
    • Students who are engaged in degree work full time primarily with non-Harvard resources for the majority of an academic term, should apply for Traveling Scholar status. In preparation, students should discuss their plans with their advisor and with their financial aid officer.
      • Traveling Scholars may not enroll in coursework.
      • Typically, Traveling Scholars are not permitted to simultaneously hold a teaching appointment.
      • Traveling Scholars may apply to waive the Harvard University Student Health Insurance Plan provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
      • Traveling Scholars residing outside Massachusetts will be charged %50 of the Student Health Fee.
      • Students who travel to certain Harvard institutions (e.g. Dumbarton Oaks, Villa i Tatti, etc.) may apply for Traveling Scholar status.
  • GSAS has waived the July 1 deadline and associated late fees for fall 2020 and academic year 2020-2021 non-resident status applications. [Amended June 2, 2020]
  • An adjustment of one year can be made to the department G-year for GSAS students whose academic progress has been impacted by COVID-19. These changes must be emailed by your department administrator or DGS to the Office of Student Affairs. G-Year adjustments are not accompanied by additional funding, but are aimed at providing students more time to meet academic deadlines/milestones, by delaying them one year, such as [Amended May 18, 2020]:
    • In dept X "general exams should be taken at the end of the third year.” A student in Registrar G4 (cumulative-time), who has been adjusted to a Departmental G3, will have approximately one extra year to complete their general exams.
    • In dept Y, students "must submit their prospectus by the end of their G4 year.” A student in Registrar G5 (cumulative-time), who has been adjusted to a Departmental G4, will have approximately one extra year to submit their prospectus.
  • GSAS is launching an Emergency Support Initiative, four targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: Lost-Time Funding, Emergency Summer Research Awards, GSAS Visiting Fellow Status Opportunities, Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowship Appointments. [Amended May 1, 2020]
  • Electronic signatures from committee members are acceptable on the dissertation completion certificate (DAC). Students who cannot include a completed DAC when submitting their dissertation may instead submit an email or letter of approval/acknowledgement from their program's chair, dissertation committee chair, or director of graduate studies. This email or letter will need to be placed before the title page of the online dissertation submission made through ETDs @ Harvard by the degree calendar deadline. Once students or programs are able to complete a dissertation completion certificate, the form should also be emailed to enrollment@fas.harvard.edu, for the Registrar's Office record. [Amended April 27, 2020]
    • Letter of approval sample template: In lieu of all dissertation committee members’ signatures, I [NAME, ROLE], appointed by the [DEPARTMENT/PROGRAM], confirm that the Dissertation Committee has examined a dissertation titled [TITLE], presented by [STUDENT NAME], a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy for May 2020 degree conferral, and hereby certify that it is worthy of acceptance as of [DATE].
  • For spring 2020 only, all GSAS students enrolled in any course at the University will be graded on an “Emergency Satisfactory/Emergency Unsatisfactory” basis. This includes students who are taking courses at other Harvard Schools. [Amended April 10, 2020]
    • A clear notation of SEM/UEM will be included on all transcripts for the spring 2020 term to indicate that courses were graded SEM/UEM due to extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • All cases where students have already chosen the SAT/UNSAT option will have that grade option converted to the SEM/UEM basis.
    • The equivalent of a B- or greater is considered SEM.
    • Students who are not making satisfactory progress based on GPA at the end of Spring 2020 will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
  • For summer 2020, Harvard Summer School is waiving tuition for GSAS students interested in studying a language. This tuition waiver is applicable for one course. Applications should be submitted through CARAT by May 1, 2020. Contact the Fellowships Office with questions. [Amended April 6, 2020]
  • The deadline for GSAS students to drop a course has been extended to Monday, April 13, 2020. Students can drop a course via my.Harvard self-service through April 13. After April 13, students can submit a petition to withdraw to the GSAS Office of Student Affairs for review. [Amended March 26, 2020]
  • An adjustment of one year can be made to the department G-year for GSAS students whose academic progress has been impacted by COVID-19. These changes must be emailed by your department administrator or DGS to the Office of Student Affairs. [Amended March 26, 2020]
  • At this time, changing enrollment status to traveling scholar is not necessary, and applications for spring 2020 will only be considered and processed in particular circumstances. Leaves of absence will be considered on a case by case basis. [Amended March 26, 2020]

[6/8/2020] - Email Extension for Graduating Students

June 8, 2020

In recognition of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, HUIT is extending email accounts for College and GSAS students who are graduating this May from 230 to 365 days. This extension will apply retroactively to earlier graduates in this academic year, as well.

[5/12/2020] Travel Advisory Update

May 12, 2020
"Dear Members of the Harvard Community,

Given the prolonged public health uncertainty across the United States and around the world, we are writing with updated domestic and international travel guidance.

University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time. This applies to all community members—students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and other academics. We encourage you to explore creative options for alternative study, research, work, and collaboration. We also strongly discourage personal travel, both international and domestic.

Travel increases the risks of exposure to the coronavirus for you and your community. Harvard bases its travel guidance on a variety of factors, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Global Level 3 Warning – Avoid Non-Essential Travel, the U.S. State Department’s Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel, and the CDC’s recommendation against domestic travel. Governments worldwide have issued similar warnings and entry restrictions, which can change without advance notice.

We understand that states and localities within the United States and around the world have issued varying levels of travel restrictions and that many are revising travel guidance in real time. We will continue to monitor the public health situation and government travel advisories both domestically and internationally and adjust the University’s travel guidance accordingly. We will update you as the situation evolves.

Note that this guidance for personal travel does not affect individuals who remained in on-campus housing after Spring Recess and who will be traveling home any time between now and the end of the spring semester.

If you choose to travel for personal reasons, please make sure that you understand your destination’s travel restrictions (e.g., 14-day quarantine) and that you take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and others during your trip (e.g., wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer if you cannot wash them; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; remain at least six feet from others; and wear a cloth face covering). If you are coming back to Massachusetts from elsewhere, please remember that the Commonwealth requires a 14-day quarantine.

As always, the health and safety of our community on and off campus is the driving factor in our decision making. We look forward to the day when these travel restrictions are relaxed. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience, understanding, and adherence to these guidelines.

Sincerely,

Alan M. Garber AB '77, PhD '82, MD
Provost

Katie Lapp
Executive Vice President

Giang T. Nguyen MD, MPH, MSCE, FAAFP
Executive Director, Harvard University Health Services"

[5/8/2020] - GSAS Emergency Support Initiative

May 8, 2020

[The following message was sent to GSAS Students on 5/8/2020]

 

"Dear GSAS Students,

Last week, I announced the launch of the GSAS Emergency Support Initiative, the first phase in GSAS student support that includes targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are now open for:

  • Emergency COVID-19 funds for GSAS students, including lost-time funding and emergency summer research awards;
  • GSAS visiting fellow status opportunities;
  • Postdoctoral writing and fellowship appointments.

Please visit gsas.harvard.edu/emergency-support-initiative to learn more and apply.

This phase of support was designed to prioritize research or postgraduate plans that, due to access issues or personal conditions, were severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As I mentioned in my earlier message, GSAS is working with our University partners to evaluate additional categories of need to determine the next phase of support so that we may expand the program.

As more opportunities for support become available, I will be in touch.

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics"

[5/5/2020] Steps toward Reopening Research Facilities

May 5, 2020

[email sent to GSAS students on 5/5/2020]

"Dear GSAS Students, 

I wanted to share a message from Provost Alan Garber about steps toward reopening Harvard’s research facilities, which went out to Harvard faculty earlier today. As you will read, the Provost has asked that a committee be formed to develop a phased approach for the resumption of laboratory-based research. He also notes that preparations are underway for the phased resumption of research access to Harvard’s libraries and museums. 

I trust this is welcome news to those of you relying on access to labs, libraries, and other scholarly resources to continue your research. While there is still much to be done, progress is being made. I am particularly heartened by the Provost’s acknowledgement that lost research productivity is not only a problem for faculty, but one that affects the academic progress of graduate students as well.

The Provost’s Office plans to communicate progress regularly, and GSAS will ensure that students are kept informed. 

With all best wishes, 

Emma Dench 
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics"

[5/1/2020] GSAS Launching Emergency Support Initiative

May 1, 2020

[email sent to GSAS students on 5/1/2020]

"Dear GSAS Students,

Today, GSAS is launching an Emergency Support Initiative, four targeted measures designed to help PhD students overcome academic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Support Initiative includes:

  • Lost-Time Funding
  • Emergency Summer Research Awards
  • GSAS Visiting Fellow Status Opportunities
  • Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowship Appointments

Lost-Time Funding
Students will be able to apply for up to a year of additional funding to make up for time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students currently on dissertation completion fellowships whose completion has been delayed will be prioritized, followed by those on research fellowships during March 2020.

Emergency Summer Research Awards
Students whose summer 2020 research plans will be disrupted may apply for awards to help them advance their progress toward the degree.

GSAS Visiting Fellow Status
GSAS will allow students graduating in May and November 2020, who do not have a job lined up or whose employment was delayed, to apply for a GSAS visiting fellow appointment for up to a one-year term. These recent alumni would:

  • Remain members of the Harvard community, with access to libraries and other Harvard resources so that they may continue their research independently.
  • Have visiting fellow tuition waived and access to Harvard’s health insurance plan at the student rate.
  • Be able to continue searching for jobs while retaining a Harvard affiliation, including their Harvard email address.
Postdoctoral Writing and Fellowships Appointments
The GSAS Center for Fellowships, Writing, and Communicating Ideas is actively supporting students in maintaining progress on their dissertations and in improving their fellowship applications. To expand this work, over the next two years GSAS will create ten one-year postdoctoral writing and fellowships appointments, to which graduating Harvard PhDs may apply. This will provide opportunities for new graduates while helping current students advance their scholarship and enhance their ability to secure outside funding.

This initial phase is made possible thanks to the flexibility of an anonymous GSAS graduate, who allowed their generous gift to be redirected to fund the Initiative. We are tremendously grateful for their desire to support our students.

GSAS is currently creating mechanisms to collect applications for these four opportunities, which we anticipate will be available next week. You will receive an email with more details once the application process is live.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, GSAS has heard directly from students and their advocates, including faculty and directors of graduate studies, about the many ways this public health emergency is affecting PhD students. We first focused on personal safety and emergency needs while we worked with our University partners to evaluate additional categories of need to determine this next phase of support. In the coming weeks, we will continue working with our University partners to augment and expand this program.

We understand that this has been an extraordinarily difficult time, and I thank you for your patience as we undertook this important work. As more opportunities for support come online, I will be in touch.

All best wishes,

Emma Dench
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and of the Classics"