At this time, all University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice. Please see additional travel guidance on Harvard's Coronavirus website.


Many GSD students will participate in course, studio, or research travel prior to graduating. To ensure the best travel experience for each student please review the travel information provided on this page, as well as the information available through Harvard’s Global Support Services.  Individuals traveling internationally should also review the Graduate & Professional Student International Travel Policy.

Information About GSD Studio, Course & Research Travel

Faculty leading a site visit as part of their studio, course, research, or other Harvard sponsored project must be familiar with these guidelines and may not commit the School to costs that fall outside of these guidelines.  

Students may only miss one week of classes due to course or research travel and may only participate in one traveling course or studio per semester. Students traveling in conjunction with an option studio are therefore not eligible to travel with other GSD courses that term. 

Travel is always accompanied by certain risks. If a studio or course includes travel outside of the United States, please keep in mind that international students should look into their personal immigration and visa statuses as it can be difficult for individuals from some countries to leave the U.S. and then return.

It is the responsibility of students participating in international travel to investigate and fully understand the implications and requirements of travel, including verifying that they will possess a valid passport at the time of travel and that they will be able to obtain any necessary visas. In general, passports must not expire within six months of planned international travel. Students who enroll in a studio or course which includes a site visit will be term-billed a travel fee of up to $300. This fee is separate from the cost of meals and incidentals incurred during travel. 

Students selected for a studio with a travel component should bring a photocopy of their passport to the first studio meeting, typically the evening of studio presentations and lottery. All travelers should use their legal name exactly as it appears in their passport for all transactions, such as airline tickets and hotel reservations.

There will be one set group itinerary planned and arranged for all students in a studio or course based on the educational needs of the site visit. Any modifications are the responsibility of the individual student (including costs incurred).

Teaching Assistants are not permitted to travel unless they are enrolled in the course/studio that is traveling. There will be one set group itinerary planned and arranged for all students in a studio. Any modifications are the responsibility of the individual student (including costs incurred).

If you have questions about traveling internationally, including specific visa questions, please talk with representatives from Harvard Global Support Services or visit the Global Support website for more information. On the day of studio presentations and lottery, Harvard Global Support Services will also have representatives available in the lobby of Gund Hall immediately following studio presentations to assist with travel questions.

For information pertaining to GSD travel policies contact Ashley Lang.

Please note that all GSD students are required to do the following prior to participating in any Harvard-sponsored travel:

  1. Review the guidelines below, as well as the resources and tools available through Harvard Global Support Services, including information about the country to which you plan to travel, and information about the International SOS program.
  2. Research and obtain any visas that are required for your trip, and ensure your passport expiration date is at least six months after the dates of travel.
  3. Complete a travel waiver (available at your respective academic department office).
  4. Register your itinerary and contact information in the Harvard Travel Registry.

Travel Visas

Travelers are responsible for obtaining the necessary visas for any GSD travel, including all costs associated with these visa(s). Please proceed immediately with researching and obtaining your visa as soon as you know about the upcoming travel. You can apply for a visa through an embassy or consulate in the U.S. or through a visa processing vendor. Due to certain country-specific requirements, vendors can't assist with all visa and passport applications–such as when you're required to make a personal appearance at an embassy or consulate. For more information about applying for visas, review Global Support Services' website.

Reimbursable Costs

In general, costs incurred while traveling are the responsibility of each traveler. Occasionally, students traveling in conjunction with a course will be permitted to book their own airfare. In such instances, approval must be granted by the Academic Affairs Business Offices prior to booking. Individuals traveling on behalf of Harvard-sponsored research should expect to book their own flights. All travel costs must be approved in advance Airfare purchased on behalf of the GSD is subject to the University’s travel policy, and all airfare for GSD studio, course, or research travel must be booked in economy. Please note that additional costs associated with flying, such as luggage fees, are considered incidental costs and are the individual responsibility of each traveler. If you have questions regarding costs incurred while traveling, contact Pilar Raynor Jordan. 

When necessary, faculty may arrange a rental car(s)/van in conjunction with their research or course/studio trip. Each driver must provide their own license and credit card to the rental agency and should familiarize themselves with Harvard’s rental car guidelinesThose traveling with a studio or course may volunteer to rent a car on behalf of the group but may not be required to do so. All car-rentals must be approved in advance of travel by the Academic Affairs Business Office. 

Travelers can apply to receive reimbursement within 30 days of the completion of the trip. All travel costs, whether reimbursable or non-reimbursable, must be approved in advance of travel by the Academic Affairs Business Office. 

Non-reimbursable Costs

Travelers are responsible for the cost of all meals and incidentals incurred as a result of any GSD related travel. Incidentals may include, but are not limited to, visas, country-specific entry/exit fees, local ground transportation (such as trains, taxis, Ubers/Lyfts), personal luggage costs, and museum entry fees. These costs are in addition to the term-billed fee charged to each traveler. If you have been informed by anyone other than staff of the Academic Affairs Business Office that any incidental costs will be reimbursed to you, you must confirm in advance of travel with Pilar Raynor Jordan. 

What Happens When Travel Plans Change?

There will be one set group itinerary planned and arranged for all students in a studio or course based on the educational needs of the site visit. Any modifications are the responsibility of the individual student (including costs incurred). Travelers requiring changes to the planned travel dates of the studio/course may coordinate changes directly with the travel agent responsible for booking the group tickets and are required to cover any expenses associated with the change. Students who ultimately do not travel after tickets have been purchased will still be required to pay the term-billed fee associated with that studio or course’s trip. 

All studio, course, and research trips are subject to security and safety considerations and may be cancelled at any time. 

Travel Sponsorship

Many site visits offered in conjunction with GSD studios, courses, and research are supported by private donors, researchers, or companies. A list of studio sponsors can be found in the back of the printed course description booklet, typically available during studio presentations. Students with questions about studio sponsorship may inquire with their department.