Frequently asked questions

General Questions
Business Cards
Career Services
Cross Registration
Community Service Fellowship
Document Requests
Financial Aid & Loans
GROPIUS & Registration

Language Resource Center
Leave of Absence
Loan Deferments
Student Events, Forum, and Groups
Student Jobs & Work Study
Term Bill
Time Sheets




Q. How do I request a Transcript, Letter of Certification, or Loan Deferment letter?

A. First, fully fill out and sign a Document Request Form. Then the completed form may be submitted at the Student Services front desk or into the document drop box (next to the office door) in Gund Hall 422. The completed form may also be mailed, faxed (617.495.8949) or sent via email as a scan. While an original copy is not required, the Registrar needs to have your signature in order to process your request.

Q. Can I request an e-mail (or fax) version of my Transcripts?

A. No. It is against Harvard Graduate School of Design policy to scan or fax these documents. If you are no longer a student at the GSD, you must request an official copy and then scan or fax the transcript at your discretion. Note that scanning or faxing your Official Transcript, along with breaking the seal of the envelope, will render the transcript as "Unofficial". If you are a current student and you are not required to have an official copy of a transcript, you can access and print the unofficial version by logging into GROPIUS. All your GROPIUS privileges and access will be lost the day after you graduate (no matter the Graduation Term), so make sure to print or save unofficial transcripts before graduation!

 Q. How do I update my address?

A. Current students need to log onto GROPIUS. Then, select the Forms tab, choose the "Student Address Update" form and make all necessary changes. Once you navigate to the second page, remember to hit the "Submit" button. Your address change will be sent to the Student Information System for review, so do not expect to see an immediate update in your account. Depending on when your address change is received, it may take up to a week for changes to be seen in the University-wide system. Former students wishing to update their personal information should contact the Development and Alumni Relations Office.

Q. I lost my ID! Can I get a new one in the Student Services office?

A. No. Anyone who loses an ID must go an Harvard ID Office, the closest to GSD being at the Smith Campus Service Center in Room 807. There is an associated fee for replacement cards.

Q. My ID expired/is expiring soon! Can I pick up a new one in the Student Services office?

A. No. Go to your nearest Harvard ID Office and 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 at 7 Sumner Road is designated as a prayer room for GSD students. Use your Harvard ID to access the building.

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 the GSD mailroom receives any student mail, it will be returned to the sender immediately.

Q. How do I order student business cards?

A. Students who are degree candidates and in good standing are allowed to use the name and shield of the GSD on business cards. The business card must accurately list the current degree program. If you are unsure what your current degree is, you can always look at your student information in GROPIUS. To order your student business cards, please follow the detailed instructions 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. 

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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 Petition for Leave of Absence. To obtain this petition, please schedule a time to meet with the Office of the Registrar. They will be able to provide you with the form and answer any questions you may have.  

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. In the Spring semester prior to your final year at the GSD, the Registrar will e-mail a form to eligible students. 

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 but please note that only full-time students are allowed to reside in Harvard residence halls.

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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 HIO website to schedule an appointment with your advisor. Ivana Hrga-Griggs (T: 617.496.2821) is the advisor for international GSD students. The HIO office is on the 8th floor of the Campus Center in Cambridge.

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 contact the Office of the Registrar.

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

A. International students who will be completing their degree in January (Master's degree 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 do not do anything in advance of receiving the email. The HIO handles OPT paperwork and assists students with questions.

Q. I'm an international student who need to apply for an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN)! Where can I get more information?

A. Sessions for international students who need to apply for a ITIN to satisfy tax withholding requirements for Harvard’s Office of University Financial Services, are held by Harvard International Office. Students MUST use HIO webpage to pre-register for a session. Those who have not pre-registered and fully completed required forms will not be assisted. The list of required materials, where and when the session will be held and other pertinent information will be sent via e-mail once you have registered for a session. 

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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. 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. However the Harvard Alumni Association offers lifetime e-mail forwarding for alumni. It is a forwarding service that gives you a permanent email address, such as Messages sent to your address are forwarded directly to an e-mail account you provide to the service. You can request a email address by visiting the Alumni Association's website

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 the photocopy you make of your diploma. 

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Registration and GROPIUS

Q. What is GROPIUS?

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

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 required course evaluations for the prior semester. GROPIUS will allow you to 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

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. If it is after the Add/Drop Deadline, use the Late Add/Drop Form which is available in the Forms tab on GROPIUS or as a hard copy in the Student Services office in Gund Hall 422. 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, which is available in the Forms tab on GROPIUS or as a hard copy in the Student Services office. After filling in the form you must get it signed by the Program Director in your department office. Lastly, the completed form may be submitted at the Student Services front desk or into the document drop box (next to the office door) in Gund Hall 422. If you exceed 24 credits you will receive a charge on your term bill amounting to slightly over $1000 per credit.

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

A. Fill out a Late Add/Drop Form, which is available in the Forms tab on GROPIUS or as a hard copy in the Student Services office in Gund Hall 422. If you are adding a course you need the instructor’s approval and signature. This form also serves as the Limited Enrollment Lottery Add form, if the course you are adding is considered a limited enrollment lottery course. The completed form may be submitted at the Student Services front desk or into the document drop box (next to the office door) in Gund Hall 422.

Q. How do I access my online transcript?

A. 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 GROPIUSyou must request an official copy. In order to receive an Official Transcript you must submit 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. 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. 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 103 for your hiring packet. For Student Services office jobs, see Carlos Reyes in Gund Hall 422. If you work in the Loeb office, Sally Young in Gund Hall 305 is your Payroll Coordinator. 

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 Student Services front desk or into the document drop box (next to the office door) in Gund Hall 422. 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 103.

Q. Where do I find a time sheet?

A. Ask your payroll coordinator for a time sheet with coding for your specific position.

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 and 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 the Financial Aid office for more details.

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. 

Q. Can I request more work-study funds?

A. You can inquire as to the status of work-study increases by contacting the Financial Aid office. 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 available on the Harvard iSite. You can 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 the Registrar. 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. The Registrar's office should be able to help you figure out the best place to direct any further questions. 

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Refer to the current GSD Student Handbook for more information, and GSD policies and procedures.

Discrepancies, suggestions or comments? Please e-mail us.

Resources: Student Services: FAQs

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