Secondary Fields

Secondary fields allow PhD students to broaden their course of study and enhance the competitiveness and professional reach of their degree programs. Students engage in coursework and other activities defined by the program offering the secondary field and must meet all degree milestones and deadlines in their home PhD programs and at GSAS.

Students should be sure to speak with your primary advisor before contacting the department to express interest in declaring a secondary field.

  • Graduate students may not complete a secondary field in their own department and may only declare one secondary field.
  • Courses may count toward the secondary field and toward the course requirements for the PhD.
  • Language courses taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis may not be used to fulfill secondary field requirements.

Once students have met the requirements, they should fill out the PhD secondary field application, attach documentation confirming completion, and request signatures from the directors of graduate studies in their department and in the secondary field department. The application should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, located on the 4th floor of the Smith Campus Center, no later than the degree application deadline for the degree period. There are no exceptions to this deadline.

The secondary field will appear on students' transcript but not on their degree.

Current secondary field offerings:

African and African American Studies

American Studies



Celtic Medieval Languages and Literatures


Comparative Literature

Computational Science and Engineering

Critical Media Practice

Film and Visual Studies


Historical Linguistics

Linguistic Theory

Medieval Studies

Mind, Brain, and Behavior


Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish)

Science, Technology, and Society

Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality