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:
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.
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.
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.
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