How do I connect my computer at my on campus office to the Harvard Network?
Fill out this online form and OEB computer staff will enable your computer for the network.

How do I connect to the wireless network at Harvard?

Does Harvard provide some software for free or at reduced prices?
Visit the FAS Computer Services website (PIN required) to see what programs they offer. If you cannot find something there, you can purchase site licences for some computer programs from Harvard Enterprise Liscensing: http://www.uis.harvard.edu/enterprise_licensing/

Where can I buy computer hardware on campus?


How do I register for courses?
Course registration occurs online through my.harvard.edu. Explore the course catalog for courses you like and add courses to your Study Card. When you have a valid Study Card, you print it out, obtain required signatures, and then hand it in on Study Card Day. This registers you for courses.

How many courses should I take?
This is variable from one student to another. Some students are given course prescriptions to fill some areas in their background. Every student must take four courses to meet the degree requirements set by OEB.

Do I need to sign up for research credit each semester?
Yes - each semester, you need to be enrolled in at least 4 courses. When you aren't actually taking courses and are doing research, you need to sign up for "TIME." Each major professor has a different number for their TIME. Consult the handbook for the course number of your major professor.

Can I take courses outside of FAS/GSAS?

Yes - you can cross-register for courses in other colleges of Harvard through the cross-registration process: https://crossreg.harvard.edu/OASIS/CrossReg/index.html.

You can also cross-register for courses at MIT: http://web.mit.edu/registrar/www/crossreg/xregi4h.html

Where is the GSAS Registrar's Office?
Office of the Registrar, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
20 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: (617) 495-1543
Fax: (617) 495-0815
Hours: M-F 9:00am-5:00pm


Who can I talk to about getting keys and ID card access to buildings?
In the Biolabs Building, see Building Operations in Room B064. In the MCZ buildings see Irv Dumay (idumay@oeb.harvard.edu). In the herbarium, see the staff at the front desk.

Where can I find a schedule for the M2 shuttle to the Medical School (Longwood Campus)?

Where can I find an app to track the location of the shuttle?

Where can I make copies on OEB copy machines?
You will need a code number for the copier machines. You can obtain a code related to your research account from Jason Green in the OEB financial office.

Where can I mail things via USPS, FedEX, or UPS?
You can mail things in the MCZ mailroom. Things related to lab activities/research can be charged to a lab account by placing an indication near the return address as to what lab you belong to.

How can I get registered to use the VWR Stockroom?
You will need to fill out a form and have it signed by your advisor in order to use the VWR Stockroom and have it charged to an account. Consult your lab administrative assistant

Where are the closest places to grab a quick lunch/dinner?
When you don't have a lot of time, there are a few options not too far from OEB buildings:

  • Bauer Center Cafe, Bauer Center Building
  • Northwest Labs Cafe, Northwest Labs
  • Harvard Law School Cafeteria, Harkness Building
  • "The Truck", Parks on Divinity Ave from 8am - 1pm.
  • Divinity School Cafe, Rockefeller Hall
  • Greenhouse Cafe, Science Center
  • Oxford Spa, 102 Oxford St.



When should I take the qualifying exam?
Most students take the qualifying exam during the spring semester of their second year. Discuss with your advisor in advance to decide when might be an appropriate time to take the exam.

What do I need to do to prepare for the qualifying exam?
You should

  1. meet with and choose 4 qualifying exam committee members,
  2. chose a date and confirm this date with the committee members,
  3. have three broad exam topics approved by the chairperson of the OEB Graduate Committee
  4. prepare a syllabus for each topic,
  5. prepare a research proposal on your dissertation research,
  6. schedule a room for the exam,
  7. and obtain the appropriate paperwork for the day of the exam from Chris Preheim. More detailed information on the qualifying exam can be found here .

What is a Thesis Conference and when should I have one?

The Thesis Conference is a meeting of the graduate student with her/his committee members and should usually occur one year after the qualifying exam. These should be held once a year until graduatation to assure sufficient progress on the dissertation research. This is a useful way to obtain feedback from your committee members and to make sure you are on the right track with your research.

What do I need to do to meet the requirements for PhD Exam for and completion of the PhD degree?

Students must

  1. submit an application for the PhD degree
  2. submit a thesis summary 2 weeks prior to the Thesis Exam
  3. give a thesis presentation
  4. take a Thesis exam
  5. submit two copies of the Thesis with the Thesis Acceptance Certificate to the GSAS Registrar's Office. More detailed information can be found here

Where can I obtain a copy of the GSAS Handbook?
The GSAS Handbook is online: http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/images/stories/pdfs/handbook.pdf



What is the level of stipend support?
Stipend support for OEB grad students:
AY 09-10 -- $2475 per month, or $29,700 annually
AY 10-11 -- $2550 per month, or $30,600 annually
AY 11-12 -- $2626 per month, or $31,512 annually

What do I do to get reimbursed for research related costs?

Keep all receipts and fill out a Universal Expense Form (UEF). It helps to create a cover letter with the UEF to explain the costs and how they related to your graduate student research. Submit the UEF to the appropriate Please see the administrative assistant that works with your faculty member or one on the financial office staff persons for more assistance with reimbursements.

If taxes are not deducted from my payroll, do I need to pay taxes?
Yes - you must pay taxes even if Harvard does not withhold taxes from your monthly paycheck. Most students pay Estimated Taxes at four times throughout the year. More information on taxes from GSAS can be found at: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~gsc/wiki/index.php?title=Survival_Guide:Life_In_Cambridge_and_Boston:Taxes



Can I teach during the G1 year?
No - Because of FAS rules, students cannot teach during the G1 year.

Can I teach while I am receiving support from an external grant such as an NSF Graduate Student Fellowship or NIH Fellowship?
Although this is not usually done, students in OEB can teach while receiving external stipend support. Consult with Chris Preheimbefore making teaching/fellowship plans.

Do I need to teach in the G5 and G6 years?
Financial support from OEB is contingent on teaching two semesters during the G5 and G6 years. If you have an external fellowship, you do not need to teach during these years.