COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Please refer to your specific program below to learn about their separate course requirements:

CHEMISTRY

  • Ph.D. candidates must pass four advanced* courses in chemistry and/or related fields (e.g. biochemistry, physics, etc.) with average grades of B or higher. Grades of B- will count as a pass if balanced by a B+ or better on a one-for-one basis. Grades of C+ or below will not count. 

CHEMICAL PHYSICS

  • Ph.D. candidates must pass five advanced* courses in chemistry and/or related fields (e.g. biochemistry, physics, etc.) with average grades of B or higher. Grades of B- will count as a pass if balanced by a B+ or better on a one-for-one basis. Grades of C+ or below will not count.
*An advanced course is one designated in the announcement of courses as "for undergraduates and graduates" or "primarily for graduates." Exceptions include the following courses, which cannot be used for credit: Chemistry 100r, 135, 145, 160, and 165; Physics 143a, 143b; Chemical Biology 2200, and Molecular and Cellular Biology 121. Courses numbered 300 or above do not count toward this requirement. 

 

NOTE: Both programs require students to take “Chemistry 301hf, Scientific Teaching and Communication: Practicum” in their first year. This course teaches how to communicate scientific concepts in the classroom to prepare for teaching responsibilities in the spring term of the first year.

 

PLAN OF STUDY

During Orientation, incoming students will create a Plan of Study in consultation with a member of the Curriculum Advising Committee (CAC). The CAC advises students on their academic plans, approves required courses and assists in decisions related to the PhD program. Any changes to the Original Plan of Study must be discussed with and approved by a member of the CAC. In both programs, students normally satisfy the letter-graded requirements in the first two years of graduate studies. 

Any changes to your original CCB plan of study must be approved by either your research advisor or a member of your Curriculum Advising Committee, if you have not yet joined a research group. Please see Kathy Oakley (Mallinckrodt 133) to receive your Plan of Study for a member of your Committee to update and sign. This must be done before you register for courses.

 

FIRST YEAR GRADUATE STUDENTS

FALL

Your 16 credits should include:

  • Your letter-graded courses
  • 2 credits of Chem 301HFA
  • 4 credits of Chem 300 for rotations, 
NOTE: To reach the 16-creditminimum, you may enroll in more than 4 credits of Chem 300. If you need to take an English Language course, please include this as 4 credits of Chem 399 (Chemistry-related Coursework)

Sample Course List - if taking two letter-graded courses:

G1 Fall - 2 Courses

 

OR, if taking three letter-graded courses:

G1 Fall - 3 Letter-Graded Courses

 

SPRING

Your 16 credits should include:

  • Your letter-graded courses
  • 2 credits of Chem 301HFB (G1s will be automatically enrolled in this)
  • Your advisor's 300-level reading and research course.
NOTE: Students still rotating should continue to list Chem 300 for their reading and research course.

Sample Course List
G1 Spring Courses

 

SECOND YEAR GRADUATE STUDENTS & ABOVE

Your 16 credits should include:

  • Your letter-graded courses
  • Your advisor's 300-level Research and Reading course

For example:

  • Those who are not taking any letter-graded courses should list 16 cedits of their advisor's 300-level Research and Reading course.
  • Those taking one letter-graded course should list 12 credits of their advisor's 300-level Research and Reading course and 4 credits of the letter-graded course.

Note: GSAS is no longer using Time-T or Time-R.  If teaching, you will no longer need to enroll in Time-T. 

Sample Course List
If taking one letter-graded course:

G2 with one course

If taking no letter-graded courses:

G3 with no courses

 

Guidelines for Reduction in Course Loads

In the following situations, students may request a reduction in their course requirements. It will generally be understood that students must demonstrate excellent preparation and generally will be expected to earn grades of A- or better to be considered for these exceptions. 

  1. Students who have already earned a Master’s degree at Harvard. 
  2. Students who received an A.B. from Harvard University and have taken a large number of graduate courses already with honor grades. Graduate-level courses that were used to fulfill the course requirements for the A.B. degree cannot be used to fulfill the Department course requirements. 
  3. In rare cases, students who have earned a Master’s degree at another institution and have taken graduate-level courses at that institution equivalent to specific Harvard courses.

The Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Curriculum Advising Committee, will make the final decision, and ordinarily the course requirements would not be reduced by more than one course.  While these requests will be considered, a reduction in course load is rare. The Department feels that taking courses at Harvard, that may be similar to courses previously taken elsewhere, will still be advantageous to the student’s academic growth, as students will gain new insight from learning advanced material with a different professor.

Students should email a written petition to Joe Lavin, Co-Director of Graduate Students. This petition should include supporting information about the courses, such as transcripts, a syllabus, name of the professor, textbooks used, etc. Requests may not be made until the student has joined a research group, and approval of the student’s research advisor will be required.