Exchange Scholar Program

Exchange Scholar Program

GSAS participates in the Exchange Scholar Program, which allows graduate students to study and work with faculty at one of 10 other graduate schools for a term or an entire academic year. Any courses taken and research conducted while participating in the Exchange Scholar Program is recorded on the student’s Harvard transcript. Exchange scholars are generally accorded all the benefits available to the host institution’s resident graduate students and receive a student identification card that permits access to libraries, laboratories, health services, and athletic facilities.

Exchange Scholar agreements currently exist between GSAS and University of California, Berkeley; Brown University; University of Chicago; Columbia University; Cornell University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Pennsylvania; Princeton University; Stanford University; and Yale University.

Generally the Exchange Scholar Program allows students to participate for a maximum of one year. If you would like to extend your stay, contact Caysie Carter, assistant director of student affairs, with confirmation from your Harvard advisor and your advisor at the host institution that continuing the Exchange Scholar Program would enhance your academic progress; a new application will be required for the following term or year.

Application Process

Before applying, discuss the Exchange Scholar Program with your advisor, then contact the department at the host institution where you would like to study to express your interest and to identify an advisor prior to submitting your application.

Complete the Exchange Scholar Program application, describing what is to be studied, where, when, and with whom. The application must be approved by your academic advisor, department chair or director of graduate studies, and the GSAS dean of student affairs. The application is then forwarded to the host institution for approval of the professors with whom work is to be done, the department chair or director of graduate studies, and the dean. Applications should be completed two months before the registration date of the host school.

Applications for the fall term or the entire academic year are due in the Office of Student Affairs in early July. Applications for the spring term are due in early December.

Please note: Harvard students are expected to have a $0 balance on their term bill before the GSAS dean for student affairs will approve the Exchange Scholar application. 

Tuition and Health Coverage

Harvard Exchange Scholars visiting elsewhere are charged the appropriate GSAS resident tuition, and they are still eligible for GSAS financial aid.

GSAS Exchange Scholars are also charged Harvard University Student Health Program fees, which remain on the term bill unless the fees are waived. Depending on the policy, students may prefer to enroll in the health insurance program at the host institution.

Students from Other Institutions

Students from other institutions who participate in the Exchange Scholar Program are charged Harvard University Student Health Program fees, though those with comparable insurance elsewhere may waive the Student Health Insurance Plan fee. The Student Health Fee may not be waived for visiting Exchange Scholars.

The Exchange Scholar Program operates during the fall and spring terms only. There is no summer term and participating students are not expected to be in residence at Harvard during the summer.

Finding affordable rental accommodations in the Cambridge-Boston area can be challenging. Students planning to visit Harvard for a term or a year as an Exchange Scholar should investigate options as early as possible. The GSAS Office of Residential Life assists full-time graduate students in exploring their options for both on-campus and off-campus housing.

Foreign students may be allowed to work on campus at the host institution up to 20 hours per week, but approval must be granted by the home institution’s Foreign Student Advisor. All students can check with their host department to see if teaching possibilities are available.

For more information, please e-mail the Office of Student Affairs or call 617-495-1814.