Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Coat of arms of the School
|Location||Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA|
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) is the academic unit responsible for many post-baccalaureate degree programs offered through the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. GSAS offers several master's degree programs—Master of Arts (AM), Master of Science (SM), and Master of Engineering (ME)—and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in more than fifty divisions, departments, and committees, spanning subjects in both the sciences and the humanities, including several interdepartmental programs. GSAS also administers the Graduate Special Student Program, which enables individuals who hold the baccalaureate degree to take graduate-level courses on a non-degree basis, and the Visiting Fellow Program, which enables advanced doctoral students and persons who already hold the PhD to conduct research at Harvard. Finally, GSAS also nominally oversees PhD programs in Harvard's professional schools: the Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, the basic science departments in Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Graduate School of Design, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), along with Harvard College, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Harvard Division of Continuing Education. The dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, who reports to the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, is charged with the responsibility of implementing and supervising the policies of the faculty in the area of graduate education. In the administration of academic policy, the dean is guided by the Administrative Board and the Committee on Graduate Education. The dean is assisted by an administrative dean of GSAS, who has day-to-day responsibility for the operations of the school, a dean for admissions and financial aid, and a dean for student affairs. While the GSAS office oversees the processing of applications, financial aid and fellowships, thesis guidelines, and graduate student affairs, the individual departments, centers, and programs in FAS retain considerable autonomy in the administration of their respective graduate programs.
Although Harvard College traces its origins to 1636, the precursors of GSAS only date back to the 1870s. In 1872, the governing boards voted to establish a Graduate Department and appointed an Academic Council to administer and recommend candidates for the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Science. From the administrative reorganization of 1890 the Graduate Department emerged as the Graduate School of Harvard University, under the new Faculty of Arts and Sciences, but with administrative officers of its own. In 1905, the name changed to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.