The Graduate School of Design is committed to a staff compensation program that provides competitive pay through a fair, equitable and transparent process. Below, you will find details about our compensation and position review practices.



Positions are classified for grade and exempt status at the time of posting.  In instances where a position’s responsibilities have grown significantly over a period of time it may be appropriate to reevaluate the position.  A manager or a staff member may request a position review by completing the Job Review Form and submitting it to GSD HR.  Please review additional instructions before submitting the form.

Position reviews are warranted when there is a significant and meaningful increase in the complexity of primary tasks within the role, or the addition of tasks which require greater skill or independent decision making.  Position reviews are not appropriate when the volume of work has increased, but the work remains at the existing grade level. 

Possible outcomes of a job review may be: 

  • The grade and compensation for a position remain the same (no change) 
  • A title change with no salary adjustment 
  • A salary adjustment with no title change 
  • Both a title change and a salary adjustment 
  • An increase in grade, a title change, and a possible salary adjustment. If it is determined that a grade increase is appropriate, a corresponding salary increase may occur. The amount of this increase should take into consideration the staff member’s experience, internal equity, external competitiveness and performance. 

Please note: 

  • HR will only review positions which have not been reviewed in the last 12 months – relying upon the previous analysis – unless the department indicates there has been a meaningful and significant change in the nature of the work within the 12-month period 
  • Managers should continue to consult with HR prior to assuming new work or changing the responsibilities of an employee so that HR may determine if the changes dictate a change in grade level before the work is undertaken. 

Business Title Change Review 

Business Title Change Review 

HR will review any request to change the business title of a position, based upon: 

  • A review of the reason for the request 
  • A review of the titles in use within the business unit, school, and Harvard for similarly situated positions 

Some factors that may limit available titles, for example terms that imply a certain level of responsibility (Chief, Officer, Executive, Manager, etc.) should be used only when appropriate for the scope of position. 

Salary or Equity Reviews 

Salary or Equity Reviews 

HR conducts annual equity reviews for GSD staff based upon the following factors: 

  • Compensation data from similarly situation positions within the department, within the GSD and within Harvard 
  • Compensation data from the external market relevant to the position 
  • Years of experience 

In circumstances where changes are warranted, HR will notify the manager and employee prior to the change taking effect. 

Salary Ranges

Salary Ranges

Salary ranges within each pay grade are based on qualifications, skills, experience, equity in comparison to similar positions, and external market values. Salary ranges allow for differences among positions within the same grade as well increasing levels of responsibility and performance within the same job.

Typically a new hire can expect a starting salary somewhere in the lower part of the range. The amount will vary based on the position and the candidate’s relevant experience. University salary ranges have a broad span in order to provide continued salary growth for staff as they continue in their roles. No employee will be paid below the minimum.

Bonus Programs

GSD Project and Performance-Based Bonus Program 

Managers may recommend a GSD staff member for a discretionary merit bonus to reward exceptional work on a project or outstanding overall job performance.  

Project Based Bonuses
Purpose: To recognize the significant contribution of an employee for the completion of a department project.
Criteria: The successful completion of a significant (either in scope or impact), one-time project that is linked to a departmental goal. These projects are not typically performed on a regular, on-going basis.
Award Amount and Timing: Bonuses will range from $500 to $2000 as determined by size, scope and length of the project, and will be awarded at the end of the project once a manager’s request has been reviewed and approved by Human Resources.
Performance Based Bonuses
Purpose: To reward individuals for exceptional overall job performance, major contributions, and achievements. -or- To reward employees for going above and beyond on an immediate, short-term task. Examples: Staying late to assist a faculty member with a last-minute request, stepping in to cover for a coworker on short notice, etc.
Criteria: Outstanding performance above and beyond job requirements by an individual who consistently exceeds a manager’s expectations.
Award Amount and Timing: Bonuses will range from $500 to $2000 as determined by Human Resources and will be awarded once the manager’s request has been reviewed and approved.

Requests for bonuses should be put in writing to Lauren Baccus or Sara Wilkinson, Assistant Deans of Human Resources. They should be as descriptive as possible, citing specific examples, including how the completion of the project or employee’s performance is directly linked to key priorities and goals of the department.  

View Bonus Request form

GSD Extra Compensation

GSD Extra Compensation (also referred to as Additional Compensation) for HUCTW/non-exempt staff  

Extra compensation is defined as an unusual, nonrecurring, or extraordinary payment for Harvard work that falls beyond an employee’s regular job assignment. 

Work for which extra compensation may be appropriate includes, but is not limited to:  

  • Work not performed for the employee’s primary employing unit. Such work shall not interfere with the employee’s regular responsibilities and shall be performed outside the employee’s regular work schedule. Compensation for this work is to be negotiated between the employee and the departmental representative requesting the work. All hours over 40 must be paid at 1 ½ times the employee’s straight-time rate for the work week.  
  • Work occasioned by the absence of a supervisor or co-worker. Ordinarily, extra compensation should be paid for such work when it is anticipated that work will be performed for more than 20 work days when covering for a co-worker or for more than 7 days when covering for a supervisor. Extra compensation for such duties assigned for shorter periods of time may be considered. Extra compensation will be set at a negotiated rate appropriate to the work performed.