The health, safety and well-being of our students is our top priority, and we are committed to maintaining an excellent quality of education through this unprecedented situation. As of Friday, March 13, 2020, the Harvard Graduate School of Design has shifted to online coursework. The GSD will continue with remote teaching through the entire Fall 2020 semester. Courses and meetings are being conducted through Zoom, which can be accessed through the main menu of the Canvas system. All services offered by the Office of Student Services will continue normal operations, including student affairs, financial aid, career services, enrollment functions, and admissions. For questions, please email the appropriate contact on the Office of Student Services website. Students with questions about processing their I-20 should contact Sean Conlon. For departmental-related questions, students should contact their respective department staff as they normally would for questions or assistance.

Health and Well-being

All HUHS services are fully operational, and Urgent Care remains open from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm EDT every day. A nurse advice line remains available from 10:00 pm – 8:00 am at 617-495-5711. More details are available at www.huhs.harvard.edu. Counseling and Mental Health Services are available by phone at 617-495-2042 or through the patient portal. If you are a student and are feeling unwell, please inform Student Services, who can work with you to be in touch with your instructors. Please follow the protocols the university has outlined if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Access to Buildings

As of March 16, the GSD has closed access to our academic facilities, including the Fabrication Lab and Loeb Library, until further notice. All courses will continue online, and while students will not be able to enter any GSD buildings until further notice, the school’s administrative leadership has worked extremely hard to maintain remote accessibility of resources fundamental to the academic experience. Among the resources you will have ongoing access to are the digital collections offered by the Loeb Library. Another is a Virtual Help Desk, which starting Monday, March 16, will be open 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Mondays through Fridays to consult on and help resolve any IT-related issues.

As of May 22, 2020: See “When will the GSD Re-Open Gund?” FAQ below for information about building re-openings.

Courses and Studios

The GSD will continue with remote teaching through the entire Fall 2020 semester. Courses and meetings are being conducted through Zoom, which can be accessed through the main menu of the Canvas system. See the Zoom Training and Help resource page for basics on set-up and troubleshooting. Harvard has compiled a series of resources for learning remotely.

Virtual Help Desk

CRG staff are offering a Virtual Help Desk through Zoom. Connect live 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Mondays through Fridays for help resolving IT-related issues.

The Fabrication Lab

As of March 16, access to the Fabrication Lab, along with the rest of GSD academic facilities, is closed until further notice.

Frances Loeb Library hours and resources

As of March 16, the Frances Loeb Library is closed to in-person visits until further notice. However, the library will continue to provide online research support and library services. Learn more on the Frances Loeb Library webpage.

Physical Collections
  • Borrowing print materials has been suspended until further notice. Items will no longer be requestable in HOLLIS. BorrowDirect and interlibrary loan have also been halted for the time being.
  • Access to Special Collections will not be available until further notice. Learn about the collections and impacted services.
For Items Currently on Loan
  • Due dates for borrowed items are being extended. Please keep any library materials you have for the time being.
  • All fines that accrue while the Library is closed will be waived. Reach out to us if you see fines on your account.
  • We are working on solutions specifically for graduating students. Hold on to loans for now.

Events and Public Programs

All in-person school-wide events and public programs are cancelled. Virtual events will be shared on this website and via email. We strongly discourage any in-person events organized by individual departments, administrative offices, student groups, or other individuals or outside groups. All events in GSD buildings are prohibited until further notice.

Travel policies and campus restrictions

All university-related international travel is prohibited. All personal international travel is strongly discouraged. All university-related non-essential domestic air travel is prohibited. We strongly urge extreme caution and judgment for your personal domestic travel. Anyone who returns or arrives to campus from a location with a CDC level 3 travel warning for COVID-19, must complete this confidential health form at least 48 hours before your return/arrival to campus and self-isolate using guidance from Harvard University Health Services. Most self-isolations will last 14 days.

As we respond to the current, ever-shifting situation, it is very important that we are able to maintain contact with you. Please take a moment to update your contact information in my.harvard. Refer to your email for detailed instructions from Sean Conlon on how to use the site.

If you are traveling domestically or internationally, be sure to register with Global Support Services.

Contact the 24/7 Operations Center at 617-495-5560. Building Services will be monitoring the email address  buildingservices@gsd.harvard.edu. A full list of Emergency Contacts for the GSD Community can be found in the Resource Center under Emergencies.

Housing

As of March 12, 2020: Graduate students in Harvard residential halls/dormitories will continue to have accommodation on campus. However, they may need to be moved to another room or unit on campus in an effort to space students out and slow the spread of COVID-19. Students living in Harvard Housing with questions about lease termination should contact the leasing office at (617) 495-1459 or leasing@harvard.edu. For those students who wish to terminate their current lease or housing contract prior to June 30, 2020, HUH will end their liability as of the date the unit is vacated. Students with different living arrangements should reach out to Kelly Teixeira, Manager of Student Accommodations, at ktwisnaskas@gsd.harvard.edu if they need assistance. Cases will be assessed individually.

If you are living in Harvard Housing or residential halls and you plan to travel over spring break, you will need to complete the HUHS health form 48 hours before returning. Despite the fact that this form notes it is intended for those who travel to Level 3 areas, you will still need to fill this form out regardless of where you travel. Additional information is available at: Spring Break Travel Registration Instructions for Students and Residential Staff.

Emergency Assistance

As of March 12, 2020: The GSD is organizing an emergency fund to assist students who depend on financial aid and others who find themselves with unforeseen and insurmountable financial hurdles. Details will follow by email. Meanwhile, students who have specific and immediate financial issues should email Keith Gnoza, Director of Financial Assistance at financial_aid@gsd.harvard.edu.

Additionally, drop-in hours with Financial Aid staff will be available in Student Services, Gund 422 on Friday, March 13, from 9:00 am – 4:00 p.m.

GSD Student Payroll

Students holding a current job at the GSD who will continue to work remotely, please see below the process for submitting your weekly time sheets. All electronically submitted forms must be in a PDF file to ensure Finance has legible and correctly formatted files for payroll records. It is imperative that you complete and submit your time each week worked. Should you have any questions regarding this process, please contact your payroll coordinator directly (list of payroll coordinators by department is below).

Download a Work-Study Timesheet. Download a Non-Work Study Timesheet.

  • Scan the completed time sheet
  • Email the time sheet to your supervisor for approval. If the person who approves your time also submits your weekly hours, you have completed the remote submission process.
  • For those of you whose supervisor is not your payroll coordinator, please follow the following instructions:
    • Option 1: Supervisor sends the signed time sheet back to student( PDF file) and student sends it to payroll coordinator
    • Option 2: Supervisor sends the email directly to the payroll coordinator with the word approved in the subject line of the email

If you do not have access to printers and/or scanners, please send an email to your supervisor detailing the daily hours worked, date, time in and out and total hours worked for the week. Once your supervisor approves the email, please forward the approval email to the payroll coordinator. The payroll coordinator will enter the approved time.

For students planning to start a new job and that includes work remotely: You must obtain a New Hire Form if you have not done so already.

  • E-mail your payroll coordinator copying your supervisor, letting them know that you will start a new job. You will receive a hire form and any additional paperwork if needed.
  • Complete the form, scan it and send it to your supervisor (in a PDF file).
  • Have your supervisor sign it (either electronically or hard copy) and send it back to you.
  • Once you receive completed and signed form, please e-mail it to your payroll coordinator.

Direct Deposit/Paper Checks: If you have not signed up for direct deposit, now is a good time to do so. You can sign up directly through via PeopleSoft: Main Menu>Self Service>My Pay>Direct Deposit. Instructions and other information for setting up direct deposit are available on the Harvard's Student Employment Office website. Please note, activation of direct deposit can take a couple weeks, so it is very important that your address in PeopleSoft is your most current address. If you are currently registered as a Harvard student, you can update your address in your my.harvard.edu account

Payroll Coordinators by Department:

  • Student Services – Ryanne Hammerl
  • Career Services – Anne Creamer
  • Fab Lab – Iris Ayala
  • Library – Linda Gregory
  • CRG – Iris Ayala
  • Building Services – Dalya Al Mharib
  • Exhibition – Tina O’Brien
  • Office of Urbanization – Christina Burkot
  • Green Cities and Buildings – Bob Marino
  • Academic Programs – Pilar Raynor; Include Daniela Miclea
  • Dean’s Office – Pilar Raynor Jordan
  • Loeb Fellows – Arin Gregorian; Include Daniela Miclea

Leave of Absence Requests

As of May 22, 2020: The deadline to apply for a Leave of Absence for the fall has been extended to June 15, 2020.

If you are considering taking a leave of absence, please talk with your Program Director as soon as possible to ensure that you are clear about your program and graduation requirements. Please be aware that there are additional restrictions on health insurance, housing, and access to resources (including online resources) while on leave. International students who go on leave in the fall will likely need to leave the United States by the start of the fall semester. If you are an international student, please be sure also to check with the Harvard International office and pay close attention to immigration-related ramifications of taking a leave, particularly on OPT and CPT. As per GSD policy, leave of absence requests must be approved by your Program Director. Please email Sean Conlon, Registrar, to obtain a LOA Request form and for additional information on access to resources while on leave and program-specific policies. Please speak with your Program Director if you are considering taking a LOA to get the relevant information about your specific program requirements and the impact of a LOA on your progress toward degree completion.

See the Leave of Absence (LOA) FAQs below for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the GSD continue with remote teaching through the Fall 2020 semester?

Yes. The GSD will continue with remote teaching through the entire fall semester. An email sent on June 5, 2020, included specific details about what students can expect in the summer months and fall semester.

What steps should I take to transition to remote coursework?

If you haven't already, familiarize yourself with HarvardKey and Duo login requirements and Canvas web-based course tools, and speak with your instructors about their plans to continue your courses online. Download the Zoom app and practice using Zoom for one-on-one and group meetings. CRG staff are offering a Virtual Help Desk through Zoom. Connect live 8:00 am to 10:00 pm Mondays through Fridays for help resolving IT-related issues.

What will happen for summer research jobs and other GSD summer programs? Can faculty members still hire students or graduates for summer work?

Faculty Affairs will continue to review and provide support for hiring academic researchers for faculty sponsored projects and research initiatives. Please keep in mind that 60-90 days lead time is needed to complete an academic hire if a visa is required, and at least 30 days for all other hires. More information on opportunities for summer support can be found in the answer to the below question: Are there any new opportunities for summer support for returning students and new graduates?

I am planning to start a university job after March 13, 2020. What should I do?

If you are planning to start your first university job after March 13, you must see your payroll coordinator by close of business on Friday, March 13. This also applies to those who have not worked in over a year. At the meeting you will do the following: Complete an I-9 Form and provide the required documents depending on your status. US Citizens will need to present: Unexpired passport or a Driver’s License and Social Security Number. In addition, you will need to complete required tax form(s). Non-US Citizens will need to present: Passport, I-20 or DS2019, and Copy of I-94. I-9 and Tax Form Submission must be done, if possible, before EOD, Friday, March 13. If you have any questions regarding this process or any questions about future employment, please see your payroll coordinator. General payroll questions can be directed to Pilar Raynor Jordan. If you have, or had, a job during the Spring semester, this does not apply to you.

Will my tuition be refunded or discounted for the Spring semester?

As long as instruction continues, tuition will not be refunded.

Do I need to self-isolate for COVID-19?

HUHS has put together a one-pager of potential scenarios based on the best scientific advice currently available (updated March 16, 2020).

Will my academic accommodations be impacted?

The Dean of Students and Student Accommodations Coordinator are working with students with academic accommodations to ensure that they are able to access their course content and instruction. Students receiving classroom accommodations such as class notes and Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) services will continue to receive those accommodations. At this time, there have been no changes to the current note taking process. CART services will be provided remotely through Zoom, and students receiving CART services will be followed-up with individually with details. If there are questions related to the accessibility of Zoom, we encourage you to visit Zoom’s accessibility page.

Exam Accommodations: All exams will be administered remotely. Students who are registered and eligible to receive exam accommodations will continue to receive their accommodations. If you have questions or concerns about how online administration will impact your exam-taking, please email Kelly Wisnaskas, the GSD Accommodations Coordinator, with the subject line “Online Exam Administration.” Students who have questions or concerns regarding provisional or pending accommodations can again reach out to Kelly Wisnaskas to discuss next steps.

Registering for Accommodations: Students who are interested in registering for accommodation or in need of temporary accommodations due to illness, injury, personal or medical emergency may reach out to accessibility@gsd.harvard.edu. Reasonable accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Are there any new opportunities for summer support for returning students and new graduates?

Yes. Please visit the 2020 Summer Work and Grant Opportunities page.

When will the GSD Re-Open Gund Hall?

The GSD will continue with remote teaching through the entire fall semester. In preparation for the gradual reopening of our buildings, we have put together a working group to develop plans to safely bring students, faculty, and staff back to GSD buildings as rapidly as conditions allow. Our approach will be phased and deliberate, resuming the most critical functions first and working to eventually restore the full range of activities, while paying close attention to issues of health and safety but also of equity, especially for students who are not local. While it’s impossible to predict when and how public health guidance will change, we can see that re-opening won’t be easy or quick, so we are in conversations with the university Provost to discuss our planning and preparations.

Are there changes to the Harvard University Student Health Program (HUSHP) plan for Academic Year 2020-2021?

Yes. Find a list of changes being implementing on the HUSHP website. Some changes are related to the pandemic and others are standard changes.

Returning international students studying remotely FAQs:

What will be the status for returning international students studying remotely?

The exception made this spring by ICE to allow international students to do all their classes on-line and to maintain their visa status has been continued into the fall.

  • If graduating at the end of the fall semester, students must return to the United States prior to December 18 to apply for OPT; the current policy has not changed in regard to students needing to be physically in the United States when they apply for OPT.
  • If graduating at the end of the spring semester, students must return to the United States prior to May 27 to apply for OPT.

Leave of Absence (LOA) FAQs:

Why are you imposing a June 15st deadline for LOA applications? What happens if a lot of students want to take leaves?

  • Each single leave of absence decision, if compounded by large numbers, will have an enormous repercussion on the entirety of our GSD community.
  • We need to know enrollment numbers to plan for the number of studios, courses and visiting faculty in order to provide the resources needed for students who will be enrolled in the fall.
  • If LOAs occur in large numbers, we may not have enough capacity to accommodate everyone returning in fall 2021, so we cannot guarantee an immediate return to a chosen semester; we need to know numbers in order to know if we have the capacity to accommodate returning students.
  • One option, if request numbers are large, is that we would create a lottery system to ensure equity. Another option we are considering is that LOAs may need to be extended until enrollment normalizes and space is available.

If my situation changes over the summer, can I apply to take a LOA after the deadline?

Late petitions will be considered, but only for extenuating circumstances, i.e. medical issues.

If I take a LOA for the fall semester, can I extend it?

A student can petition for one semester or full year by June 1, and if the original petition is for the fall only, a student can petition to extend to the spring, with a fall deadline date to be determined.

If my LOA is approved for the fall semester, can I change my mind and enroll?

If a leave petition is approved, a student can request to rescind the petition prior to August 1. All requests will be considered shortly after that date, and granted based on the number of students asking to cancel their planned LOA and the impact on the program(s). Thus the ability to rescind cannot be guaranteed.

Can I extend my health insurance while on a LOA?

The last date of health coverage will be July 31. A Student can pay to extend Harvard-based coverage for four months while on leave. Consult the Member Services web site for more information here.

How do I stay connected to the GSD while on a LOA?

  • Students’ GSD email addresses remain active while on leave.
  • Students continue to be enrolled in student-announce and gsd-fellow-student but can unsubscribe to gsd-fellow-student at any time.

What are the implications for a LOA for international students?

  • Will need to depart the U.S. no later than September 16.
  • Can undertake CPT this summer.
  • Will not be eligible for CPT in summer 2021.
  • When returning from leave, if students only have one semester of study remaining, they will not be eligible for OPT. Students must be enrolled for two consecutive semesters to be eligible to apply for OPT.

What are the OPT/CPT implications if an international student takes a LOA?

  • As an international student, if I take a leave for the fall, can I utilize CPT this summer? What about the summer of 2021?
    Yes, this summer you can use your CPT. But if you go on leave for even a single semester during the upcoming academic year, you will not be eligible for CPT in summer 2021.
  • As an international student who would be graduating this upcoming year, if I take a leave for the fall, would I be eligible for OPT once I return and complete my studies?
    To be eligible for OPT, students must maintain their student visa status for two consecutive semesters. So, as long as you would be in a position to matriculate for two more semesters once you resume your studies, yes, you would be eligible for OPT. In other words, if this fall is your last semester and you take a leave, you will not be eligible for CPT.

Are there specific program restrictions if I take a LOA?

Please speak with your Program Director if you are considering taking a LOA to get the relevant information about your specific program requirements and the impact of a LOA on your progress toward degree completion.

Incoming Student FAQs:

Incoming Student FAQs – General Questions

Why did the GSD decide in favor of a fully virtual fall term?

Three factors influenced our decision. First, concern for the health and safety of the entire GSD community remains a top priority, and based on current guidance from Harvard University Health Services. Second, international students face delays obtaining necessary visas for entry into the United States, and international and even domestic travel will continue to pose logistical difficulties for everyone. Finally, we believe it is important to commit now to a full semester online, so that new students and returning students who will eventually need to move back to Cambridge and secure new housing accommodations can make their plans for the fall with certainty, and without any lingering possibility that circumstances may suddenly change in the middle of the semester.

Can I defer?

The GSD does not offer deferrals. If you are unable to attend in the fall, it would be necessary to reapply. Please reach out to the Office of Admissions if you would like to discuss the reapplication process. There would be no negative bearing on your application if you choose to reapply in the future.

If I find the fall semester too challenging, will I be able to take a leave of absence?

A student must have been enrolled for at least one semester prior to taking a leave, so you cannot take a leave of absence prior to having completed at least one full semester. But if you are finding it challenging, please reach out to your program director, academic advisor, or the dean of students for individual guidance.

Will tuition be reduced since the fall semester is virtual?

Tuition for fall semester was set by the university nearly a year ago and calibrates the school’s overall budget – 25% of which goes to financial aid, which would have to be rescinded if we were to change the tuition rate. Fall tuition and budget will remain as approved and financial aid allocated to students will not be rescinded.

Can course loads be reduced and billing be on a per-course basis?

GSD programs are full-time, and it is not possible to reduce course loads.

I received a loan as part of my financial aid package. Can I decline only the loan, or at least part of the loan, since I won't be moving to Boston this fall?

You are free to decline or reduce the loan. Please reach out to financial_aid@gsd.harvard.edu.

When will TA/RA positions be available for incoming students?

Some ​TA and RA positions are shared on Student-Announce or in CREATE. Some are posted during the summer months or early fall. Many faculty prefer to invite students they have worked with in class to become a TA or RA. Incoming students may need to wait until they have made connections with faculty – second semester.

All students with a GSD email will be enrolled in Student-Announce by Thursday, June 25th.

Where can I view on-campus positions?

On-campus jobs are shared by Career Services on the Student Announce listserv. Once a job is advertised, students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

You can also visit the Student Employment Office to learn about additional job opportunities across Harvard University.

Taking in mind that the semester will be online, do you recommend maintaining part-time jobs that we may have in our current places? Or instead, do you recommend a full-time commitment?

This is a question that individuals need to answer for themselves. Students often work during the academic year, so it is definitely possible to balance work and school, depending on how many hours you would need to commit. (As a guide, students working at the GSD have a ceiling of 8 hours/week to ensure that their work does not interfere with their courses.) Be sure to have a conversation with your employer beforehand to set expectations.

Will the university be offering any collaborative physical workspaces for students already in Cambridge?

The GSD’s buildings will be closed to most faculty and staff and all students, so physical collaborative workspace is not available. Our Innovation Task Force is already at work creating virtual ways for students to connect and collaborate.

For students who are in Boston, will there be any campus activities?

There will be many GSD and Harvard-wide virtual activities this fall. We are not planning any campus activities, since our GSD campus is closed for the fall term.

Will the fall term schedule be the same as what is listed on the Website now that classes are remote (with Student Orientation on Aug 24-28)?

Yes, the week of August 24-28 is still required, and the fall academic calendar is the same.

Will there be changes to the grading system for the fall semester?

In the spring, the GSD switched to a pass/fail grading system to account for the sudden changes to teaching and learning brought on mid-semester by the pandemic. Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, we will be returning to our standard grading policy described on the Grading resource page. As always, if a student has any extenuating circumstances that impinge on their productivity, they should talk with their faculty member, program director, and/or Student Services to determine accommodations.

When will students know what the spring 2021 semester will look like?

The health, safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. We are hoping for an in-person spring semester, but it will depend on the virus, advice from infectious disease experts, and other factors including travel restrictions, social distancing protocols, etc. We hope to have enough information to make a final decision in the early fall. At that point, if you would like to request a leave of absence for the spring semester, we will set a deadline for requests and may not be able to accommodate the preferred return date. If the numbers are such that we cannot accommodate all of the returning students a year later due to limitations of facilities, we will run a lottery to determine return dates which could be up to two years later.

How can I claim my HarvardKey and activate my GSD email?

Visit the following site and take the necessary steps to “Claim your HarvardKey:” 
key.harvard.edu.  In order to claim your key you will need your HUID (previously sent from the Registrar) and a personal email address that will serve as your recovery address.

After you claim your key, log back into key.harvard.edu and select Manage Your Account & Services.  Look for the link to “Activate your Office 365 Email & Calendar.”  Your mailbox will be operational within 24 hours after activation.

More details about O365 and your email service will be sent to your recovery address.  Configuration guides for setting up your Mobile Phone can be found on HUIT's website.

This would also be a good time to Setup your Two-Step Verification.  Two-step verification is required to access many HarvardKey protected online resources.

If you have any questions about your account or are having difficulties, please contact GSD Computer Resources at helpdesk@gsd.harvard.edu.

Incoming Student FAQs – Housing and Moving

Does it make sense for students to move to campus for the fall semester?

Under current conditions, there will be no direct benefit to being closer to campus for the fall semester. The GSD is committed to an equitable experience in virtual learning, regardless of the physical location of students. We recommend planning for the best setup possible for learning wherever you are, focusing on factors of cost, online access, and environment.

Will Harvard Housing still be available?

Harvard Housing does indeed have availability for fall semester, including some fully furnished units available for short-term leases running until December 31, 2020.

The application deadline for Harvard Housing has been extended to June 26, and the View and Select process will happen after that. Details about how to submit an application, selecting a unit, and lease information is available on their website.

If instruction resumes in person for spring semester, will the GSD assist students in securing housing? When would students be expected to relocate?

The GSD does not secure housing for students, but we do provide information. Options for housing in the spring would be available through Harvard University Housing. Students can also find independent rentals in nearby local communities and connect with each other through the GSD Housing Facebook Group.

Whether any GSAS dorm rooms are available in the spring will be impacted by public health guidelines and will be communicated as more information becomes available.

Students should refer to the academic calendar for spring semester dates.

Incoming Student FAQs – Health Services and Health Care

What is the difference between the Student Health Fee and the Student Health Insurance Plan?

This Student Health Fee covers most care at any of the Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) campus clinics, including telemedicine visits, with no co-payment.  The Student Health Insurance Plan is administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and is designed to complement the health care provided through the Student Health Fee at HUHS. It covers hospital, specialty care, labs/radiology, has a prescription drug benefit, and will cover 52 mental health visits per plan year. This plan provides coverage throughout the United States and abroad. This plan can be waived with proof of comparable coverage.

Will we still need to pay for health care coverage for the fall semester?

A summary is below, but please see Harvard University Student Health Program (HUSHP) Academic Year 2021 HUSHP Changes for more information.

The Student Health Fee cost is implemented in two tiers, depending on where the student is physically located:

  • Full Fee ($603/term): For those students on campus or residing in Massachusetts.
  • 50% Discounted Fee ($301.50/term): For those students residing outside of Massachusetts (whether elsewhere in the United States or internationally)

All students who pay the Student Health Fee (SHF) will have access to many of the HUHS Clinic services in-person, as well as via telemedicine. All students are encouraged to reach out to HUHS with health or medical needs.
Institutions of higher education in Massachusetts are required to offer a Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to students. Therefore, all students will be charged for a Student Health Insurance Plan and to waive must demonstrate comparable coverage in the area in which they are located. Students may waive participation in SHIP if the student is studying in a foreign country and the student has coverage in that foreign location.

The waiver application is tentatively scheduled to be available by July 1.

Will coverage still begin on August 1?

Yes, coverage begins on August 1.

Will CAMHS services be available?

Yes, Counseling and Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are available. Please see this Message from CAMHS Chief Barbara Lewis, MD.

Do we still need to provide immunization information by June 12?

No, this deadline is no longer in place due to the virtual fall semester. For details and updated information, please refer to HUHS Immunization Compliance Information.

Will there be COVID testing and antibody testing available for free through Harvard Health Services so that I can know that I'm not infected before I visit my family during breaks?

Please see HUSHP (COVID-19) Health Insurance FAQs for details. If your question is not directly addressed by their responses, there is contact information at the end of the FAQs.

Where can I find information regarding coverage in the state where I reside?

Please see HUSHP Student Health Insurance Plan for information about hospital, specialty care coverage, and prescription drug coverage administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

Incoming Student FAQs – International Students

Please continue to regularly check the Harvard International Office (HIO) site for the most up-to-date guidance.

Can international students still enter the US on an F-1 student visa when the semester is virtual? Should I move to Cambridge?

If you are a new or initial F-1 or J-1 student, you will not be able to move to the United States for the fall semester. Once the campus reopens, your I-20 will need to be amended or reissued with a new start date. We will be in touch with further instructions on this process as the situation develops.

If you have successfully completed the F-1 transfer process between Harvard and your current US institution, you will be able to remain in the United States for the virtual semester. Usually, F-1 status students are only able to take up to one online course per semester. However, the government has extended the provision to allow transfer and continuing students to stay in the country for a full online course-load as a result of COVID-19.

Will it still be possible to do an internship in the U.S. next summer when the fall is virtual?

As per current guidance, new or initial F-1 students will not be eligible for CPT in summer 2021.

SEVIS transfer students should be eligible for CPT in summer 2021 as a benefit of the government extension that allows you to stay in the US for the virtual semester, thereby maintaining your status.

J-1 students will be able to utilize their Academic Training for the summer internship. You may want to consider a J-1 student visa if you have significant funding from a source other than personal or family funds. You can find more information about J-1 versus F-1 visas on HIO's Student Visa Options webpage.

Will the virtual semester affect OPT?

Current guidance requires that you accrue two semesters, or nine months of active f-1 student visa status in the US before you are eligible for OPT, immediately prior to the OPT. Once on-campus classes resume, you will likely be able to reach this requirement before graduation.

If I applied for a student visa and have a visa interview appointment scheduled this summer, should I cancel it? Should I delay my appointment and apply for a visa later in the year? Do I have to wait until I have the new I-20? Should I make an appointment for the visa interview now, or do I need to schedule it after receiving the updated I-20?

You should attend the appointment as scheduled. If you don’t have an appointment, you should go ahead and schedule one. While we will reissue a new I-20 with an amended start date, as long as the F-1 visa issued is valid through January, you will not need to return to the Consulate.

Will I need to pay a new SEVIS fee? Will I need to pay to have the I-20 shipped again?

You should not need to pay the SEVIS fee again if you have already paid it, as we will reissue an amended I-20 with the same SEVIS number. Later in the summer, we will be in touch with you regarding the logistics for the new I-20.

What if there are still travel restrictions and consulates remain closed in the fall? In the worst-case scenario, what will happen if I can’t travel to the U.S. for the spring semester?

There are some questions for which we do not yet have answers. We are working on planning for different scenarios. If the spring semester is in-person and you cannot travel to Cambridge, we will work to accommodate you, depending on your individual circumstances. You may need to take a leave of absence or work out a plan to learn remotely.

What if our home country does not recognize online degrees?

None of our programs are considered to have online degrees. This is a temporary change in teaching methods to deal with a global crisis. Your degree will NOT be considered an online degree.

Incoming Student FAQs – Library

What sort of library access will students have during the online semester?

The Harvard Library system and the Frances Loeb Library at the GSD have an especially robust set of online resources. You can start exploring these via the library main page.

Will there be any physical access to the library while courses are taught remotely?

Loeb Library and Harvard Library will have services to provide access to library materials that are only available in print. Information will be announced as services launch.

Will the school be digitizing library resources more extensively for the remote semester (and beyond)?

The GSD has extensive digital collections including archival materials, and is continuing, along with the university at large, to expand these databases. A small sampling is available via the library’s CURIOSity site. The GSD also has a number of research guides that can assist in exploring online resources, such as the visual collections guide. Additionally, Loeb Library will digitize limited numbers of materials, prioritizing curricular needs.

Does Harvard collaborate with any other university libraries for students to have access to their resources?

BorrowDirect and interlibrary loan services have been suspended. Any university decisions to change this status will be communicated to the entire GSD community.

Incoming Student FAQs – Career Services

When will incoming students get access to CREATE?

Incoming student accounts are now active on CREATE. The Career Services office will be sending out instructions in the latter half of June.

When will incoming students get access to the Alumni Network?

Incoming students can access alumni contacts on LinkedIn, and soon through CREATE. Once you enroll in the fall, your HarvardKey, the university's unified online user credential, uniquely identifying you to Harvard IT applications and services to grant you access to university resources, will give you access to the Harvard Alumni Association database as well.

How will students get career advice from afar?

The Career Services office uses a number of formats for career advising. GSD students can meet virtually with a career counselor to review career options, revise a resume or cover letter, plan a job search strategy, and practice interview skills. Incoming students will be able to schedule an appointment through CREATE, the career management system used by the GSD to deliver news on internships, jobs, career workshops, events, fellowships, and alumni contacts. Every student has a CREATE account.

Casual Conversations with GSD Alumni are scheduled to provide informal advice on ways to develop your career, and Career Workshops cover such topics as networking, developing your portfolio, job search strategies, effective interviewing, and salary negotiation skills. Career Fairs are held to promote summer opportunities and to recruit graduating students for full-time opportunities.

Will the Career Services office remain open for local students?

Career Services remains open virtually for all students and will not open for in person visits until the GSD campus reopens.

When will TA/RA positions be available for incoming students?

Some TA and RA positions are shared on Student-Announce or in CREATE. Some are posted during the summer months or early fall. Many faculty prefer to invite students they have worked with in class to become a TA or RA. Incoming students may need to wait until they have made connections with faculty – second semester.

Where can I view on-campus positions?

On-campus jobs are shared by Career Services on the Student Announce listserv. Once a job is advertised, students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

You can also visit the Student Employment Office to learn about additional job opportunities across Harvard University.

Incoming Student FAQs – Technology

Can the GSD provide software licenses and workshops for programs to ensure that all students have the necessary software programs to continue online (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud, Rhino+Vray, etc.)?

Yes. We provide licenses, including Adobe Creative Cloud full-suite licenses, to all students free of charge.

Will GSD provide extra technical support given that all learnings will be done digitally (i.e. enhanced VPN, help from IT when setting up programs, problems with computers, etc.)?

Yes. GSD HelpDesk is well prepared to provide needed support.

What platforms and tools are expected to be set up on what recommended/required computer systems in order to run necessary software?

Each student is expected to have a suitably powerful laptop capable of running Windows. Please see the GSD Web / Resource Center for answers; see also Computer Recommendations / Resource Center.

Incoming Student FAQs – Fabrication

Will students have access to fabrication resources during the fall online semester?

The GSD fabrication facilities will not be open to students this fall term. The Innovation Task Force is working with faculty to ensure that alternatives to digital fabrication will be included in the fall pedagogy.

Will there be extensive model requirements for online classes?

FabLab staff are helping faculty and students set realistic expectations for the fall semester given that the FabLab will not be available for students.

For students with a non-design background, how can you ensure we will have the training in fabrication we need for Core II, etc. when we come back in the spring?

FabLab staff are busy preparing online tutorials and the Core faculty across the school are well aware of the need for relevant orientation sessions when we resume in-person teaching.

Can the school recommend or provide contacts to fabrication labs and other types of fabrication resources in other cities and places away from campus where students are attending remotely?

This is a possibility that is being explored, but should not be assumed. As with facilities on campus, local health guidelines must be taken into account. Additionally, the school is conscious of equity issues regarding material and fabrication costs.

Incoming Student FAQs – Other Harvard and MIT-Related Questions

Will students still have an opportunity to take courses at other schools across Harvard?

There are no plans to limit the existing ability for cross-registration among Harvard schools, MIT, and the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Will MIT also be online for fall semester? How will cross-registration with MIT work?

MIT has not yet announced its plans for the fall. The process of cross-registering into MIT courses, as well as other Harvard courses, will remain the same as it has always been in my.harvard. Students will add courses to their Crimson Carts beginning in mid-August and will submit petitions to add those courses based on each school’s open enrollment date.

Will GSD students still have the option to audit courses?

Yes. Students have always had the option of auditing up to 20 units of coursework. However, some schools or courses do not allow auditors, and so the option remains dependent on instructor preferences.

This page will be updated as new information becomes available. Last updated June 24, 2020 5:44 pm EDT.