Frequently asked questions

General Questions
Adding and Dropping Courses
Business Cards
Cross Registration
Community Service Fellowship
Financial Aid
Fulbright Fellowship
Hiring Paperwork

Kennedy Knox Sheldon awards
Student Jobs
Language Resource Center
Leave of Absence
Letter of Certification
Loan Deferments
Student Events
Student Forum
Student Groups

Term Bill
Time Sheets



Q. How do I request a transcript, letter of certification, or loan deferment letter?

A. Fill out a Document Request Form. The completed form may be submitted at the front desk, mailed or faxed (617-495-8949) to the Student Services office. Your signature must be on the form.

You can send the form by email provided that you email a scanned copy of a signed request form. While it does not need to be an original copy, the registrar needs to have your signature in order to process your transcript, letter of certification, or loan deferment letter.

Q. Can the registrar email a scanned version or fax my my transcript or letter of certification?

A. No. It is against Harvard Graduate School of Design policy to scan or fax these documents. If you need to email or fax a copy of your transcript or letter of certification you must first request it, then pick it up and scan or fax it for your purposes. If you are not required to have an official copy of a transcript, you may be able to use the unofficial version found on GROPIUS.

 Q. How do I update my address?

A. First, log onto GROPIUS. Then, go to the Forms tab and select the Student Address Update form. Complete the form, and navigate to the second page to hit the 'submit' button. Your address update will be sent to the Student Information System for review. Depending on when your address update is received, it may take up to a week for the address to feed into the University wide system.

Q. I lost my ID – can I pick up a new one in the Student Services office?

A. No. Anyone who loses an ID must go the Harvard ID Office in the Campus Services Center on the 8th floor in Holyoke Center to pick up a replacement. There is an associated fee for replacement cards.

Q. My ID expired or is expiring soon – can I pick up a new one in the Student Services office?

A. No. Go directly to the Harvard ID Office in the Campus Services Center on the 8th floor in Holyoke Center to pick up a new card. There is no fee associated with replacing an expired ID card.

Q. My religion requires me to pray several times a day – is there a designated location for praying at the GSD?

A. Yes. Room 104 in the 7 Sumner Road building is designated as a prayer room for GSD students. Use your ID to access the building.

Q. I heard that there are free yoga mat loaners – where do I pick one up?

A. Yoga mats are available in the Student Services office to be borrowed. Students may come to the front desk to sign one out during office hours. Students must wipe the mat down before returning it (we have wipes for use in the Student Services office). Mats should be returned as soon as possible after use in order to make the mat available to others.

Q. Can I have mail and packages sent to me at the GSD?

A. No. The GSD has a policy against accepting student mail. If mail is sent to you through the mailroom, it will be returned to the sender.

Q. How do I order student business cards?

A. Students who are degree candidates in good standing are allowed to use the name and shield of the GSD on business cards, which must also accurately list the student's current degree program. To have business cards printed using the GSD name and insignia, please follow the detailed instructions on ordering business cards using the GSD Student PrintOne Catalog.

Q. How do I pay the TAP fee for my course?

A. You will be term billed for 10% of the course fee. During the 2012-2013 academic year, you will be charged $486 for a 4 unit course, and $243 for a 2 unit course.

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Career Services

Q. What types of services does Career Services offer for students?

A. Career Services provides career advising and support for GSD students and alumni in every discipline at the GSD. Career Services provides a broad range of lunchtime and evening workshops, special recruiting and networking events, a job and employer database that includes Harvard GSD alumni contacts and advice on every phase of the job search process. Visit the Career Services Library, which includes customized handouts with information to prepare students for a successful job search.

Q. How can I have my resume and cover letter reviewed? Or get help on the job/internship search process?

A. GSD students can meet individually with a career counselor to review career options, revise a resume or cover letter, plan a job search strategy and practice interview skills. Use the new online scheduling system to make an appointment.

  • Sign onto your student account (username: GSD+Harvard ID# / Password: 2005).
  • Go to 'Calendar' at the top black bar.
  • Select 'Schedule Appointment with Advisor,' and follow the prompts. If you need help email Career Services.

Q. What types of services does Career Services offer for alumni?

A. The primary resources provided for alumni are access to job listings, alumni and employer contacts. Resume critiques are available via email.

Q. How can I access the eRecruiting job and employer database?

A. Every GSD student and alumnus has an eRecruiting job seeker’s account. Login with your user name and password.

  • Your username begins with the letters "gsd" as a prefix, followed by the 8 letters of your Harvard ID (gsd00000000).
  • The default password is 2005. If you need help accessing your account, please email Career Services.

Q. How do I locate alumni connections?

A. Career Services is delighted to assist students and alumni in networking within the GSD community. The first method is through the Harvard GSD LinkedIn group. Once you have created your individual LinkedIn profile, you may request to join the Harvard GSD LinkedIn group. A second method to find alumni contacts is via your eRecruiting account. Employers may be searched for geographically or by discipline. Click on the employer name and then on the employer contact name to find out if s/he is an alumnus of the GSD.

Q. How can I get involved in a winter externship to gain experience?

A. GSD students may participate in 1-3 week experiential opportunities during the January winter break. Opportunities in design, research, urban planning and real estate range in locations from Boston to New York to San Francisco. Email Meryl Golden at

Q. How can I post an externship opportunity for a student?

A. Please contact Meryl Golden at to discuss a meaningful short term project for a GSD student.

Q. I’m interested in learning more about the Community Service Fellowship Programs at the GSD.

A. Please see our Community Service Fellowship website. If you would like to meet with Meryl Golden in person to discuss your idea for a community service site, use the online scheduling system to make an appointment.

Q. I’m an employer and would like to recruit GSD students. How can I post a job or internship?

A. Employers are invited to post full time jobs and summer internship opportunities via eRecruiting. Career Services will advertise your job postings and internships and invite students to submit their resume directly to you. Please email Anne Creamer.

Q. Does the GSD have on campus recruiting periods?

A. The spring semester is a particularly active recruiting period at the GSD. Learn more about recruiting options at the GSD.

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Q. How many friends and family members can I invite to Commencement?

A. You are allotted a different number of tickets for each event.

Q. How do I request tickets for the different Commencement day events?

A. In early May, the ticket request form will be emailed to all graduating students. This form should be completed by the deadline. A link to the ticket request form will also be posted on the GSD Commencement web page.

Q. When and where can I pick up my tickets for Commencement?

A. All of the tickets requested for the various Commencement day events will be together in an envelope for each student. Ticket envelopes are available for pick up in the conference room housed in the Student Services office during the week of Commencement from 2 – 5 p.m. They are not available at the front desk of the office.

Q. My relatives/friends would like to attend Commencement, but need an official letter in order to obtain a Visitor’s Visa to travel to the United States. How do I request this letter?

A. Email the commencement coordinator, Carlos Reyes, to request this letter. The email must include the following information: your full name, current program, home address of the invited guests and their relationship to the graduating student. A notification via email will be sent when the letter is ready for pick up at the front desk of the Student Services office.

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Cross Registration

Q. I am a GSD student. How do I find descriptions of courses at other Harvard schools?

A. Visit the Harvard University On-Line Course Catalog to browse courses. Then follow the instructions under the Cross Registration tab in the course catalog.

Q. I am a GSD student. How do I register for a course at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)?

A. Visit the Harvard University On-Line Course Catalog and submit your course selection online through the HKS online system. Then, add an HKS placeholder course in GROPIUS with the corresponding number of credits.

Q. I am a GSD student. How do I register for courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology?

A. Visit the MIT Course Catalog to browse courses. Once you have chosen a course/courses, print the non-Harvard petition form, fill out your personal information and course information, then bring it directly to the MIT professor to sign. Once it is signed, bring it to the MIT Registrar’s office. To let the GSD Registrar know that you have enrolled in a course at MIT, add an MIT ‘dummy course’ with the corresponding number of credits to GROPIUS. There is no need to bring a copy of the non-Harvard petition form to the registrar at the GSD, as the registrar at MIT will communicate the course information directly to the Student Services office.

Q. I am cross-registered for courses at MIT, but am having a hard time figuring out how the number of credits translates at the GSD. How can this be determined?

A. See the cross-registration conversion charts for more information.

Q. How many non-GSD courses can I be enrolled in at one time?

A. Up to one-half of your course load in any term may be taken outside the GSD. However, MDesS students may not take more than the equivalent of 16 GSD units via cross-registration during their program without the approval of the program director. Visit the GSD Cross Registration page for more information on policies. Speak with your program department staff to learn about cross-registration restrictions for your specific degree program. 

Q. How many undergraduate credits can be used toward my degree?

A. You may take a maximum of two undergraduate level courses, at either Harvard College or Harvard Summer School (or a combination of the two), to be applied toward your GSD degree. Please also note that no more than two courses taken at the Summer School, at any level, can be applied toward your degree.

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Leaves and the Split Semester Option

Q. How do I request a leave of absence?

A. In order to officially request a leave of absence, you must fill out the leave of absence petition. To obtain this petition please schedule a time to meet with Sean Conlon or Maria Murphy in the Office of the Registrar. They will be able to provide you with the form and answer any questions you may have about how going on a leave of absence affects your enrollment.  

Q. Can I request a letter of certification during my leave?

A. Yes. The letter of certification will state the date that you began your course of study at the GSD, the fact that you are on an approved leave of absence, as well as the date you are expected to receive your degree.

Q. How do I let the registrar know that I plan on taking advantage of the Split Semester Option during my final year at the GSD?

A. Early in the Spring semester, prior to your final year at the GSD, the registrar will email eligible students a form to complete, which informs the School of your intent to split your final semester into two semesters.

Q. How does splitting change my tuition charges?

A. For US students one semester’s tuition is charged for the two terms. The normal full-time tuition rate covers up to 24 units (Fall + Spring terms combined). International students must enroll in a total of 28 units which is four units above the normal full-time tuition rates. This results in a 1/4 more tuition during the split option year. Health service and insurance fees remain the same as when enrolled full-time; however, only full-time students are allowed to reside in Harvard’s residence halls.

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Financial Aid

Q. When can I have my refund check?

A. Refund checks are now available via direct deposit. In order to receive your check via direct deposit you will need to fill out an on-line form through the Student Receivables Office website.  Click on 'open your student bill' and choose 'direct deposit' from the left menu.

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International Student Information

Q. I signed up for a Language Resource Center tutoring session – where will I meet with my tutor?

A. LRC peer tutors will meet with students in Consult Room C, accessible from the library lobby on the first floor of Gund hall or in Chauhaus, when the library is closed. Check the online iSite calendar for the location and time of your specific appointment.

Q. Ho do I make an appointment at the HIO?

A. Use the scheduler on the HIO homepage to schedule an appointment with your advisor. The advisor for international GSD students is Ivana Hrga-Griggs (617-496-2821). The HIO office is on the 8th floor of Holyoke Center.

Q. How do I learn about Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for the upcoming summer?

A. A CPT information meeting is normally scheduled during the month of March. At this time you will be able to ask any questions you may have and receive the appropriate documentation. If you miss this meeting or have any follow-up questions please speak with Maria Murphy directly.

Q. How do I apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)?

A. International students who will be completing their degree in January (masters students) or March (DDes) will receive an email during the month of October about OPT procedures. For all students finishing their studies in May, a similar email notification will be sent shortly after the beginning of the spring semester. Students cannot apply for OPT until 90 days prior to the completion of studies, so it is not necessary to do anything in advance of receiving the email.

The primary office that handles OPT paperwork is the Harvard International Office. General information on OPT can be found on the HIO website. For instructions on how and with whom to schedule an appointment see above.

Q. When are the sessions for international students who need to apply for an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN)?

A. These sessions are for students who need to apply for a ITIN to satisfy tax withholding requirements for Harvard’s Office of University Financial Services. Applicants must bring their passports.     

Students MUST use the scheduler on the HIO homepage to preregister for a session. For instructions on how and with whom to schedule an appointment see above. Those who have not preregistered and fully completed the required forms will not be assisted. The list of required materials will be sent via email once you have registered for a session. Information about where and when will also be sent via email after preregistering.

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Life after GSD

Q. I am unfamiliar with the IDP 2.0 process. Is there someone at the GSD I can speak to about it?

A.  Yes. The NCARB IDP coordinator at the GSD is Meryl Golden, the Director of Career Services. An appointment can be made with her byusing the online scheduling system. There are also very detailed guidelines found on the NCARB website.

Q. I am graduating soon. Can I keep my GSD email address once my program has ended?

A. No. Your email address will be disabled on July 1 of the year you graduate. The Harvard Alumni Association offers permanent, lifetime email forwarding for alumni. It is a forwarding service that gives you a permanent email address, such as can request a email address by visiting the Alumni Association's website and following the instructions. Messages sent to your address are forwarded directly to an email account you provide to the service.

Q. I lost my GSD diploma, can I order a replacement?

A. Yes. Follow the detailed instructions on the registrar’s section of the website to order a replacement diploma.

Q. I need a certified copy of my GSD diploma. How do I request this?

A. You have the only copy of your diploma, so we are unable to create a certified copy. Instead request a letter of certification, which certifies that you were a full-time student at the GSD, and specifies the dates of attendance and graduation date. This can be used as an accompanying document with a photocopy, made by you, of the diploma in your possession. 

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Registration and GROPIUS

Q. What is GROPIUS?

A. GROPIUS is the GSD Registration Online Personal Information Update System.

*If your name is not in the upper right hand corner, you have not logged into GROPIUS.

Possible Reasons for being locked out of GROPIUS:

  • You are logged into VPN. GROPIUS will not let you login if you are also logged into VPN.
  • You didn’t fill out course evaluations for the prior semester - they are not optional. GROPIUS will let you login, but will not let you pass the first page until you submit the evaluations. If you don’t want to give feedback, you can choose to answer “n/a” for every question. Any further questions can be referred to the appropriate academic department office staff.
  • It is during the registration period in the fall and you have not yet filled out both the personal information form and the confirmation form. You must fill these out before you are allowed to add or drop courses in GROPIUS.
  • You are returning from a leave of absence in the spring. You must fill out both the personal information form and the confirmation form before you are allowed to add or drop courses in GROPIUS.

Q. I filled out a waiver form. Why is the course still on GROPIUS?

A. In addition to filling out the course waiver form you must drop the course in GROPIUS or by using a Late Add/Drop Form (available in the Forms tab on GROPIUS, or as a hard copy in the Student Services office), if it is after the add/drop deadline. There will be no associated charge.

Q. GROPIUS won’t let me register for more than 20 credits – how do I get around this?

A. You must complete a Petition to Exceed Maximum Allowed Units form (available in the Forms tab on GROPIUS, or as a hard copy in the Student Services office) and have the program director in your department office sign it. Then, submit the form in the Student Services office. If you exceed 24 credits you will receive a charge on your term bill amounting to slightly over $1000 per credit (this only applies over 24 credits).

Q. It is after the add/drop deadline, how do I add courses and withdraw from courses since GROPIUS won’t allow me to?

A. Fill out a Late Add/Drop Form (available in the Forms tab on GROPIUS, or as a hard copy in the Student Services office). If you are adding a course you need the instructor’s signature. This also serves as the Limited Enrollment Lottery Add form if the course you are adding is a limited enrollment lottery course. Bring the completed form to the Student Services office and submit it at the front desk.

Q. How do I access my online transcript?

A. The unofficial transcripts can be found in the My Course Info section of GROPIUS.

Q. I already graduated, how do I access my online transcript?

A. Graduates of the GSD do not have access to GROPIUS. In order to view a transcript hard copy must be requested by submitting a Document Request Form. See above for details.

Q. My review was last week and my instructor already posted my grade on GROPIUS. Is this my final grade?

A. The online transcript will reflect grades received immediately after an instructor has submitted them. However, it is important to understand that the grade seen on GROPIUS will not be final until after the grading period has closed.

Q. The grading period has ended and I see a WIP instead of my grade on GROPIUS. What does this mean?

A. WIP means the professor has not yet submitted a grade. Students must follow up directly with professors and instructors about any late or missing grades.

Q. What is the minimum number of credits per semester I am required to be enrolled in?

A. If you receive financial aid and are not an international student, the minimum number of credits you can enroll in for a single semester is 8. If you are international student, the minimum number of credits you can be enrolled in for a single semester is 16.

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Student Employment and Work-Study

Q. How do I find an on-campus job?

A. There are several ways to find job postings at the GSD. Career Services physically posts available jobs advertised through their office on the wall outside of the Student Services office; open positions at the GSD are often emailed through the Student Announce listserv; the Student Employment Office website is also a good source for on-campus job listings. You can access the listings by logging into the Jobs Database with your HUID and PIN. Wherever you find job listings, be sure to note whether the job requires work-study or not.

Q. Where do I pick up hiring paperwork for my job at the GSD?

A. Your payroll coordinator has hiring paperwork for you to complete prior to starting your job. If you are an RA or a TA see the staff in the Academic Finance Office in Sumner, room 103 for your hiring packet. For Student Services office jobs, see Carlos Reyes in Gund hall, room 422. If you work in the Loeb office, Sally Young, in Gund hall room 305, is your payroll coordinator. Additional payroll coordinators can be viewed on the financial aid website under the work-study section.

Q. Where and to whom do I submit my time sheet?

A. It depends on your job. If your job is in the Student Services office, submit your timesheet at the front desk of the office. If your job is in the Loeb Fellowship office, submit your timesheet to Sally Young. If you are an RA or a TA, submit your completed timesheet, signed by your supervisor, to the Academic Finance Office in Sumner room 103.

Q. Where do I find a time sheet?

A. Ask your payroll coordinator for a time sheet with coding for your specific position, or download a blank one.

Q. How much of my work-study award is remaining/available for use?

A. You can calculate how much of your work-study award remains by subtracting your total earnings for the academic year (starting in July, ending in May) from the initial amount awarded.

Q. I forget how much my work-study award was to begin with. How do I find this information?

A. Ask Keith Gnoza or Maria Murphy in the Financial Aid office.

Q. How do I find out how much work-study I have already used?

A. You should be able to look up your earnings to date by logging into the PeopleSoft system. If you are unable to utilize PeopleSoft please contact your payroll coordinator. They should be able to tell you how much you have earned to date.

Q. Can I request more work-study funds?

A. You can inquire as to the status of work-study increases by contacting Keith Gnoza or Maria Murphy, but please keep in mind that it is unlikely you will receive an increase. We normally review our work-study budget in February to determine whether increases will be available for the remainder of the academic year.

Q. I have a work-study position, how do I fill out the Work-Study Referral card?

A. The Work-Study Referral Card is no longer a physical card, but rather an online form that must be completed prior to starting your job. Visit the Harvard iSite and login with your HUID and password to complete and submit the form. Ask your payroll coordinator if you need further guidance.

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Term Bill

Q. How do I check and/or pay my term bill balance?

A. In order to check your balance and pay your term bill, please visit the Harvard term bill website, and login. The first screen shows your most recent statement. To see recent activity click the link on the left menu to your 'Current Account Activity.' The bottom line shows the amount that must be paid in full.  Enter this amount on the 'Make Payments' page to pay the full amount owed.

Q. I have questions about charges applied to my term bill. Who do I go to for information?

A. If you have questions about your term bill you can direct them to Maria Murphy. Depending on the question (i.e. if you disagree with a charge that does not originate from our office) you may need to speak with a different department. Maria should be able to help you figure out the best place to direct any further questions. 

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For more information on GSD policies and procedures, please refer to the current GSD student handbook.

If there is any information that you feel should be added to this page, please email:

Resources: Student Services: FAQs

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