Students should refer to the program description, available online, in effect at the date of matriculation to determine the requirements for completion of a particular program of study. When changes in degree requirements occur, students may elect to complete their programs of study under the newer degree requirements. Although staff members in the Office of Student Affairs and degree program offices will assist students in completing degree checks, it is each student’s responsibility to determine that all of his or her degree requirements have been met.

The GSD does not accept transfer credits toward degree program requirements.

Concurrent and Joint Degrees

Concurrent Degrees

Students may pursue concurrently two degrees offered by the Graduate School of Design, thereby reducing the total amount of time necessary to obtain both degrees if they were pursued separately. The following procedures apply whether the student is seeking admission to the GSD for the first time or is currently enrolled in a degree program. In order to pursue concurrent degrees, a student must be admitted into each degree program independently. Admission to or enrollment in one program does not guarantee acceptance by another.

Applying after Enrollment

Currently enrolled students seeking admission to a second degree program must follow the same procedures and apply by the same deadline as new applicants. Current students admitted to a second program must, upon admission to the second program, contact the relevant program coordinators to work out an approved plan of study. The number of additional semesters beyond the other degree required for concurrent degrees with the MDes program is dependent upon assessment of related coursework. Please contact the UPD Department for specific information regarding a concurrent MUP degree.

Residency and Requirements

The minimum full-time residency for obtaining concurrent degrees is one academic year more than the residency requirement of the longer of the two programs. Students seeking concurrent degrees must complete the requirements of both programs before either degree is conferred. Degrees are not conferred separately. There are no DDes concurrent degrees. Persons interested in concurrent degrees should contact the Admissions Office.

Joint Degrees with Other Harvard Graduate Schools

Students may be able simultaneously to pursue degrees offered by the Graduate School of Design and another Harvard University graduate school, thereby reducing the total amount of time necessary to obtain both degrees if they were pursued separately. To pursue two degrees simultaneously, students must be admitted into each school independently pursuant to that school’s own admissions criteria. The minimum full-time residency and curricular requirements at the GSD for students seeking joint degree status depend upon the degree program to which the student seeks admission at the Graduate School of Design.

Currently, the GSD offers a formal MUP/JD joint degree program with the Harvard Law School. This program allows students seeking both degrees simultaneously to receive them in four, rather than five years. Students will be considered in residence at both schools simultaneously during the duration of their studies. For more information about the MUP/JD joint degree, please contact the Master in Urban Planning Program Director or the Registrar. The GSD also offers a formal MUP/MPP joint degree program, as well as a MUP/MPA joint degree program with the Harvard Kennedy School. This program allows students seeking both degrees simultaneously to receive them in three rather than four years. Students will be considered in residence at both schools simultaneously during the duration of their studies. In addition, the GSD offers the MUP/65-credit MPH joint degree with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This joint degree is designed to support and encourage students seeking a transdisciplinary education in urban planning and public health, and prepare them for leadership positions at the intersection of these fields. By enrolling concurrently in both the MUP and the 65-credit MPH in the environmental health field of study with a track in sustainability, health, and the global environment, students will be introduced to the domestic and international issues entailed in promoting and designing healthier communities, cities, and metropolitan areas, as well as the environmental, social, and health issues that result from specific building and city designs.

Students may not obtain joint degree status at the GSD by seeking degrees at graduate schools other than those at Harvard University.

Changing Degree Programs

Admission into one degree program at the GSD does not guarantee the ability to be admitted into another GSD degree program. Currently enrolled students seeking admission to a second degree program must follow the same procedures and apply by the same deadline as new applicants. The application will be considered with the review of other candidates for the following academic year. Credit for work completed in previous GSD degree programs will not be accepted toward the new program.

Exchange Programs

The exchange program at ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zürich is available for a limited number of students enrolled in the professional Master in Architecture degree program. Each year a small number of second- or third-year students are selected to participate by a faculty committee in the Department of Architecture.

Course Substitutions and Waivers

Waiving Required Courses

Students who have satisfactorily completed courses that are equivalent to, or more advanced than, those required for completion of the degree program may request a waiver of such course(s) via the Course Waive/Substitution Form available on the Documents page in my.Harvard. The petition must be approved by the faculty member assigned by the department to review equivalency for the particular course in question. Each course must be approved separately. A course taken previously may be used to waive only one course at the GSD. Students must be prepared to present evidence of course work taken previously, such as catalogue descriptions, course syllabi, transcripts, assignments, papers, and exams. The completed petition must be filed with the Office of Student Affairs by the initial add/drop deadline, one week after classes have started during the term in which that course is normally required. The deadline is the same as that for the initial add/drop period, one week after classes have started.

AP Waiver Process

MArch I students who enter with advanced standing are not normally required to take any of the required courses from the first two terms of the program. Students will be informed of those first-year courses that they are still required to take. However, if there are any courses in which you were waived but you feel your background is not sufficient or that you think would be useful to you in the course of your studies, you may enroll in that course(s) in the fall or spring (except for first-year core studios). If you elect to take a first-year course (regardless of when you actually take it), you would need to inform the Registrar and the Architecture Department in order for it to count toward your degree, but no other approval process would be needed. Taking a course from the first-year curriculum would not extend your degree program, though it would take the place of an elective. MLA students with advanced standing should refer to the course of study outlined in the Degree Programs section. A faculty review upon admission determines the requirements for each student. However, students may apply for a waiver of a required course after registration. For students in all other degree programs, elective courses of equivalent unit value must be substituted for each course waived. Student transcripts will indicate that a required course has been waived, with no grade assigned.

Substitution for Required Courses

Students may petition to take another course instead of a required course when they can demonstrate that the timing of the required course is detrimental to their program of study or when they are capable of taking more advanced work than the required course. The Course Waive/Substitution Form is available on the Documents page in my.Harvard. It must be approved by the instructors normally offering the required course. The completed course substitution form must be filed with the Office of Student Affairs during the term in which that course is normally required. The deadline is the same as that for the initial add/drop period, one week after classes have started. Course descriptions are available in the GSD Course Directory.