Harvard University’s Committee on Higher Degrees in American Studies welcomes applications from individuals affected by mass incarceration and, when recommending applicants for admission, does not discriminate against those with criminal history.

Welcome, Prospective Students

Harvard’s American Studies Program welcomes applications from students with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. Peruse this page and links for information on admissions and financial aid, and feel free to be in touch with us with additional questions. Applicants will also want to review pages with information about our faculty and students, including the section (under students) on diversity.

Graduate School Application

Applications are due at beginning of the year. Please submit your application via the online tool [http://gsas.harvard.edu/apply]. A complete application includes:

  • PERSONAL STATEMENT typically indicating research interests and potential advisers
  • WRITING SAMPLE such as a term paper, senior thesis, or master’s essay
  • THREE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ideally from scholars who know your academic work
  • TRANSCRIPTS from all higher education institutions attended
  • GRE SCORES as of May 2018, Harvard’s American Studies Program no longer requires the GRE
  • ENGLISH PROFICIENCY Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants who are non-native English speakers and who received their undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking institution must take the Internet based test (iBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). No test other than the iBT TOEFL will be accepted as proof of English proficiency; a master’s degree is not accepted as proof of English proficiency.

For more detail about the above, please visit this page on Admissions FAQs

Financial Aid

The Graduate School provides its standard package of full funding to all students in the American Studies Program. For a sample offer of financial support, see page 9 in ”Financing Graduate Study” [http://gsas.harvard.edu/images/stories/pdfs/financing_grad_study.pdf]

In addition to the standard package, American Studies is pleased to offer one term of research support (teaching relief) in the fall or spring of the fourth year. The purpose of this grant is to speed students toward completion: sometimes in the fifth year, or often in the sixth year. Our capacities to continue this grant past the medium-term will depend on funding.

A number of students supplement their funding by successfully competing in a variety of fellowship competitions both internal [https://gsas.harvard.edu/financial-support/fellowships/fellowships-early-years] and [https://gsas.harvard.edu/financial-support/list-fellowships] and external [https://gsasgrants.fas.harvard.edu/ggg.cgi] Awards are available for all career stages.



Harvard’s American Studies Program has a strong record of admitting and supporting students from diverse backgrounds. The Program’s placement record is equally strong, with many tenure-track positions among the varied professional trajectories. Download more information here: [American Studies 2019 Diversity Brochure].


With additional queries after reviewing the information here, feel free to contact Program Administrator Arthur Patton-Hock [apattonh@fas.harvard.edu], and/or one of our student representatives for admissions:

  • Chloe Chapin [chapinc (at) g.harvard.edu]
  • Chris Rodelo [crodelo (at) g.harvard.edu], especially with questions on diversity and inclusion