As a full-time GSD student, you may cross-register for classes at other Harvard faculties, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Tufts Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


Total Term Load

Cross-Registration units may not represent more than one-half of the student’s total program in any one term. MDes students may exceed this limit with the permission of their domain head. The petition to exceed this limit is located on the Documents tab in my.harvard.

Availability of Subject

They should normally be subjects not available at the GSD. If there is an apparent duplication of the subject in the two schools, there must be a valid reason for enrolling outside the GSD. If a course is jointly-offered at another school, i.e. it has both a GSD course number and course number at another school, students must enroll in the GSD iteration.

Relevance to GSD Degree Program

They must not constitute, in their ensemble, a program that is separate from, or in addition to, the program for which the student is formally registered in the GSD.

Harvard College and Summer School Courses

Students may take a maximum of two undergraduate level courses, at either Harvard College or Harvard Summer School (or a combination of the two), to be applied toward their GSD degree. Students will not receive credit toward the fulfillment of degree requirements for more than two courses taken at the undergraduate level (however, no more than two courses taken at the Summer School, at any level, can be applied toward their degree). It is the responsibility of each student interested in taking cross-registered courses to contact his or her Program Department to learn about specific cross-registration restrictions.

Cross-Registration Petition

A student wishing to cross-register for any Harvard or MIT course should simply add the course to their Crimson Cart and enroll in the course via my.Harvard. Step-by-step instructions for this process are found here. Students failing to file cross-registration petitions will not be considered enrolled elsewhere and will not receive credit for the course at the GSD. Students must abide by the regulations of the school into which they are cross-registered and will be assigned grades under the system of that school; however, the GSD will not accept cross-registered courses taken pass/fail or SAT/UNSAT. The only exception to this policy is of the course is ONLY graded in one of those manners. FAS course Compsci 50 can be taken with any of the grade options offered. In addition, any course taken at MIT for the equivalent of their credits between 1 – 5 will not count towards your academic progress at the GSD. The threshold at which they begin to count is 6 or higher.  FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE MIT COURSE MEETING TIMES AND LOCATIONS, YOU WILL NEED TO REFER TO THE MIT COURSE CATALOG.


Changes in enrollment in cross-registered courses must occur by the add/drop deadline of the Graduate School of Design or of the other school, whichever date is earlier.

The cross-registration deadlines for GSD students can be found in the my.harvard Course Search, by clicking on the Cross-Registration Dates tab.


If a GSD student receives a grade considered passing at the school at which the course is listed, he or she may receive credit for cross-registered courses offered by Harvard College; Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Business School, Kennedy School of Government, Graduate School of Education, Chan School of Public Health, Law School, or Divinity School; the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; and MIT. Students may obtain credit toward the fulfillment of a degree at the GSD for a maximum of two undergraduate-level courses, or the equivalent of eight GSD units, at Harvard College or Harvard Summer School. MDesS Students may obtain a maximum of three undergraduate-level courses or twelve GSD units at the College.

When cross-registering, students must abide by the dates and policies of the school in which the course is offered, unless the GSD deadlines are earlier (petitions are always due by the earlier deadline). Information on individual school cross-registration dates and policies can be found on the splash page of the my.harvard  Course Search, or on the individual school websites listed below.

GSD students who wish to audit a course should make arrangements directly with the instructor. Audited courses are not recorded on transcripts. Students from outside of the GSD who wish to audit a GSD course should contact the registrar in order to acquire a petition to audit.

Students who cross-register into the GSD will be graded according to the GSD grading system; letter grades will not be awarded.

GSD students cannot cross-register into another course on a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, even if the host school allows it.  As noted above, the only exception to this policy is when the course is ONLY offered on a pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis, and the College’s CS50 course. Otherwise, cross-registered courses must be graded according to the host school’s standard, ordinal system.

Grading Systems

School Satisfactory Low Satisfactory Fail
Graduate School of Design DIS, HP, P LP F
Business School E, SA -I, II LP/ -III UNS – IV
Divinity School A, A-, B+, B, B- C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- E
Faculty of Arts & Sciences A, A-, B+, B, B-/SAT C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- E/UNS
Kennedy School A, A-, B+, B, B-/SAT C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- E/UNS
Law School H, P LP F
Medical School EXL, SAT, P U
School of Education A, B C, D E
School of Public Health A, A-, B+, B, B-, /P C+, C, C- F
Fletcher (Tufts) A, A-, B+, B, B-, SAT C and below

Note that although MIT utilizes “+” and “-“ grade modifiers internally, they are not reported to other offices, and thus only whole, ordinal MIT grades will appear on a student’s GSD record.

Cross-Registration Credit Chart

Credit/unit conversions can be found in the my.harvard Course Search, by clicking on the Credit Conversion tab.  Choose Harvard Graduate School of Design as your Home School.  Those schools that are not listed have a 1:1 conversion with GSD units.

Cross-Registration Policies at Other Schools

Students should familiarize themselves with the policies and procedures outlined by the school into which they will be cross-registering.

Helpful Information

  • You may add multiple courses to your Crimson Cart before submitting the actual enrollments.
  • It can be helpful to email or speak to the instructor about your interest in cross-registering when petitioning to add a course.
  • Instructors will receive an email alert when students have submitted a petition for their course. Instructors approve or deny student requests online.
  • GSD students are not enrolled in a course until they receive email notification from the Host School registrar, with the exception of MIT which enrolls you as soon as their instructor approves you, even if you did not take the final step of moving the course from your Crimson Cart to your Enrolled Courses.

Note for Graduating Students

Please note that if you are a May graduate and cross-register in to MIT courses during your final semester, there is a chance that we will not receive those MIT grades in time for them to be taken in to account by your department when they are considering Commencement-related academic awards.  Because MIT’s spring semester generally starts a week after the GSD and Harvard, we find that students are often still taking their MIT final exams at the same time that degrees are being voted on.  Missing MIT grades at the time of the degree vote will not prevent you from graduating; a failing grade would.