Although rare, it is possible to request a particular advisor under unique circumstances, but generally academic advisors are assigned in light of their overall advising load and HGSE responsibilities.
Unfortunately, most faculty have other commitments over the summer and are not available to meet with incoming students. However, please be assured that you will have plenty of time to talk through your options before you need to make decisions about courses and opportunities.
Faculty at HGSE enjoy meeting with students and are committed to helping you reach your goals. However, their schedules are often quite full and often office hours are in 15 minute increments. For this reason, it is important to come to meetings with a very focused agenda. If you need extra time, be sure to let them know. Most students meet with their assigned academic advisor 1-2 times per semester.
Advising relationships are very personal, and a great advisor for one student may not be a good fit for someone else. It is not uncommon for students to find a mentor in another faculty or staff mentor or even someone outside of HGSE. It is usually not necessary to officially change your assigned advisor, but it is possible in some situations. Be sure to check in with your program administrator if you have concerns.
J-term, also known as January term or Winter term is optional and is included in your tuition. There is a wide range of offerings, both for credit and not for credit. Course shopping for J-term generally takes place at the same time as fall shopping and the J-term site has complete information about how to sign up for courses and special topics seminars.
HGSE students may take up to 50% of their total credits at other Harvard Schools, MIT, and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University through cross-registration (dependent on program requirements). HGSE's Office of the Registrar and
Yes, it is possible to audit a class, but only with the permission of the faculty member. Many courses do not permit auditing. Audited courses do not show up on your transcript. While some students consider auditing when they don't want to miss out on a course, it is quite common for people to be overly optimistic about the total academic load they can manage, especially when in the first semester of the program. Be sure to think about how auditing might fit into your overall workload and schedule and whether you can truly make this commitment.
Yes. Students must take 16 credits for a grade but the remaining credits may be SAT/NCR.Occasionally faculty require a course to be taken for a grade or to be taken Satisfactory/No Credit but, generally, it is your choice. Some students find it very liberating to take grades out of the equation. If you are planning to apply for doctoral work, it is helpful to have as many grades as possible on your transcript. It is also important to keep in mind that you must receive at least a B- in order to receive a SAT. In order to graduate, your overall average must be a B