Frequently asked questions for prospective graduate students


What kind of research projects will I be able to get involved in?
I encourage my graduate students to develop their own ideas for research projects, with help, advice, and collaboration from me. In some years, there may also be specific projects available that are tied to an existing grant. For more information about the types of research my group does, see my research page, or check out the websites of my group members.

What is the typical career path of alumni from your group? 
My group does not have many alumni yet, but you can see what some of my former group members are doing here.

Will you be taking new students this year? 
Yes, I plan to admit 1–3 graduate students for the 2022–2033 academic year.

Who can I contact in the group for more information? 
You can email me at rebeccafischer@g.harvard.edu or reach out to my current group members (links to their websites here) with questions.

What financial support can I expect?
Once enrolled, all graduate students are provided generous financial support, including full tuition, a research allowance, and a stipend through research and teaching assistantships. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for outside funding from agencies such as NSF or NASA, but an external fellowship is not required.

Where do I go to apply?
If you are interested in applying to the EPS graduate program, please visit this page: https://eps.harvard.edu/pages/admissions.

When is the application deadline? When will I hear about admission?
Please visit the EPS Admissions page for details about the application deadline: https://eps.harvard.edu/pages/admissions.

Who can I contact about applying to the graduate program?
For questions about the graduate program, please contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Aimee Smith, at aimee_smith@fas.harvard.edu.

Do I need to take the GREs?
GRE scores are accepted as part of the application but are not required.

Can I apply for a Masters instead of a Ph.D.?
EPS admits students for the Ph.D. only; we do not admit students for the Master of Arts (AM) degree.

Is there a qualifying exam on the road to the Ph.D.? When can I expect to graduate?
All candidates for the Ph.D. 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 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.

Are there opportunities or requirements to teach?
All EPS Ph.D. students are required to serve as teaching fellows for at least two sections during their time at Harvard. The two sections should be for two different courses or for the same course in two different years. 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.