Qualifying Paper

Paper Requirements

The QP will be written in the fourth term of residence: students entering the program in the fall will write their QP in the spring term, G2.The Qualifying Paper proposal should be submitted to the department by February 1 of the fourth semester of residence. To maintain satisfactory status in the graduate program, the completed and approved Qualifying Paper (with signed QP cover form) should be submitted electronically as a PDF to the Department Administrator not later than June 1 of the 4th semester of residence. Exceptions to this policy will be discouraged.

The QP will be a revised and in-depth version of a paper written for a HAA graduate seminar or any other course at Harvard in one of the preceding three terms. Papers written for courses at other institutions, before or during enrollment in the HAA program, are not admissible.

The QP will be no longer than about 10,000 words; double spaced; separate bibliography; standardized references and citations; illustrations with captions.

The QP will be credited as a course on 300 level, fail or pass; typically, a student will take three regular courses while working on the QP, making a total of four courses. The QP proposal form should be submitted at the beginning of the term for approval by the DGS.

Reader Information

The QP will be supervised by a first and a second reader. Although the first reader will be the primary responsible faculty member, the second reader will be involved at an early stage.

A third reader will be consulted when the first two readers cannot agree upon the evaluation of the QP.

All three readers will be informed about, and agree to, their roles in the first week of the term. Students have a responsibility to make sure their advisers know they are readers and ensure a smooth process.

The QP supervisors (readers 1 and 2) meet regularly with the student, read drafts in a timely manner, and make comments and suggestions. Expectations or the involvement of QP supervisors who are on sabbatical should be made clear before the term.

The first meeting should be scheduled in week 1 or 2 of the term. Meetings should take place at least once every four weeks.

Paper Submission

The final version of the QP will be submitted to the QP supervisor on the first day of the first week of the exam period. After the paper is vetted by the QP supervisor, it will be passed on to the second reader in the second week of the exam period. The QP cover form is submitted with the final version to the readers.The paper should be presented to the readers in draft form for criticism prior to submission in final form. If the draft is deemed unsatisfactory, the student will receive written criticism and suggestions from the advisers and meet with them to discuss revisions. If the draft is not acceptable after two revisions, the paper will be given to a third reader. The faculty will then make a decision concerning the student's degree candidacy. Following completion of the Qualifying Paper, the student will discuss with the main field adviser their overall performance and general status in the department. This assessment will determine whether or not a student is recommended to continue as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. If the QP is deemed unsatisfactory, the student will be asked to withdraw at the beginning of the 5th semester

The final decision of the readers will be made before the end of term.

A copy of the QP with the signed cover form should be submitted to the department by June 1.

In case of a fail the student must re-enter the whole procedure, with a different topic, at the beginning of the next term. This is option is only granted in exceptional cases, however, and after consultation with the advisers and entire faculty. If this permission is not granted, the student will be withdrawn from the program. If it is granted, the first fail will put the student into unsatisfactory progress status in the graduate school. In unsatisfactory status the student is not eligible for financial aid or teaching. Two fails will mean that the student has not fulfilled the departmental requirements and that he or she will be withdrawn from the program.