What financial support can I expect?

All Ph.D. students admitted to SEAS or EPS are guaranteed tuition and stipend, i.e., a graduate fellowship, for the normal duration of their time at Harvard. During the first academic year the funding comes from Harvard, after that it comes from our research grants. Students are encouraged once at Harvard to apply for external fellowships, because they give the student flexibility and helps bolster the laboratory research program. 

Here are links to two applicable external fellowships:

Can I switch research advisers or work with more than one adviser during my PhD?

EPS and SEAS students can switch research advisors and can also work with more than one advisor. When a student is admitted, they are assigned a first year advisor. Unless students have an outside fellowship, the first year of funding derives from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). This system is set up so the student can explore the scientific possibilities within the department before deciding upon a dissertation topic and PhD advisor. Toward this aim, first-year students attend weekly tutorials during fall term given by Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) faculty to learn about their research and laboratories. SEAS offers a lab open house in the fall. By the end of the spring term, first-year students submit their Plan of Study, which includes their proposed PhD advisor and advisory committee.

Is there a qualifying exam on the road to the Ph.D.? When can I expect to graduate?

All candidates for the PhD degree are expected to take the oral examination by the end of their
fourth term in the program. The purpose of the oral examination is to determine a student’s depth
and breadth of scholarship and readiness for research in a chosen area of specialization. The exam will assess the student’s originality, capacity for synthesis and critical examination, intensity of intellectual curiosity, and clarity of communication. Students typically graduate in 5 to 6 years, but some students graduate in 4 years and others may take longer than 6.

Are there opportunities or requirements to teach?

All PhD students are required to serve as teaching fellows during their time at Harvard, at least two sections in EPS and one in SEAS. This requirement ensures that all students have at least some exposure to classroom or laboratory interactions with undergraduates, as teaching will likely be an important aspect of any future career.

What background and experience are most helpful?

Students in our group come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. Our work is interdisciplinary, and graduate students find courses and practical experiences during their training to fill in the gaps

What kind of research projects will I be involved with?

Past student projects have run the gamut of ground-based and airborne measurement campaigns that are described in current and past research projects. Currently the lab has active projects making measurements of tracers in the stratosphere (DCOTSS), remote sensing of methane emission from the MethaneSAT and MethaneAIR imaging spectrometers, and the carbon cycle and atmospheric chemistry of New England forests and of the Boston urban region.