At the GSD, we consider certain courses to be intrinsic to the well-rounded education that we strive to provide to our students. However, we understand that some students may feel that their academic background may have already given them sufficient exposure to the content taught in some of those courses. In such cases, it is possible that the requirements can be waived or substituted for courses that are more suitable to your experience.

Please be reminded that two semesters of the history of architecture (together covering Renaissance through Modern periods at minimum), are mandatory pre-requisites to the MArch I program.  By definition, pre-requisite courses are required, foundational courses taken prior to admission to the GSD and are basic conditions of student preparedness to study at the graduate level. Pre-requisites will not be considered substitutions to the Buildings, Texts, and Contexts sequence for M.Arch I students; moreover, it is extremely rare for students to waive the GSD’s BTC curriculum.

Course Waiver Policy

  • The GSD assumes that upon acceptance students have a comprehensive understanding of the degree requirements of their intended program. Therefore, students who wish to be considered for a course waiver of a required course that is offered in the first semester of their program must submit course waiver materials by August 15 of the year in which they are enrolling. If a student wishes to be considered for a course waiver of a required course in any subsequent semester, then s/he must declare this by submitting course waiver materials by November 15 of her/his first semester of study at the GSD. Course waiver materials submitted after August 15 for first semester courses or November 15 for subsequent semester courses will not be reviewed and waivers will not be considered.
  • A course taken previously may not be used in substitution for more than one course at the GSD.
  • Each waived course must be replaced by the equivalent number of elective units. (For MArch I AP students, only courses waived beyond the MArch I first-year curriculum must be replaced by elective units).
  • * In the case of -but not limited to- the courses listed with asterisks below, the department requires students to take an alternate, more advanced course in the same distributional area as the class they are waiving.

Course Waiver Procedure

  1. Contact the designated faculty member for the class you wish to waive (see list below) and send the faculty member a list of comparable courses that you have previously taken elsewhere. Please include course syllabi,copies of your official transcripts that demonstrate that you passed those courses, and relevant work samples as pdf documents (i.e. papers, exams). Assemble all this in one PDF document with your name in the filename.
  2. Wait for the instructor to confirm with you whether these courses and the grades that you received for these classes are indeed equivalent to the course you wish to waive. (Please keep the instructor’s confirmation email for your records)
  3. Discuss with the instructor whether or not he/she requires that you take a course in the same area as the waived course; if so, discuss other possible GSD or external courses as alternatives.  See asterisk courses below.
  4. Once you have completed steps 1-3, download the Course Waiver Form available in your my.Harvard “My Documents” menu. Fill out the form along with a copy of the instructor’s email from Step 2.  If you were required to take an alternate course in the same content area, please fill out the form and provide a copy of your GSD transcript showing that you passed the alternate course. Have your instructor sign the waiver and submit it to Student Services in room 422.

2017-2018: Course Waivers must be signed by the following faculty:

Visual Studies
2121: Megan Panzano

Projective Representation in Architecture
2122: Cameron Wu

Digital Media
2223/2224: Andrew Witt/Allen Sayegh, respectively

History and Theory
4121: Erika Naginski and Michael Hays

6121*: Ali Malkawi
6122*: Andrea Love
6123: Billie Faircloth
6125: Holly Samuelson
6126: Sal Craig
6227: Pat McCafterty
6229: Martin Bechthold
6230: Eric Howeler