Campus & Community

Residency requirement changed to enhance flexibility for new models of learning:

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Change permits certain exceptions to requirement

A minor change to rules governing residency requirements for Harvard degrees enhances the University’s flexibility to explore different models of learning, the President’s Office announced. The change permits certain exceptions to the University’s requirement that students must spend one full year in residency in order to receive a degree.

Last spring, President Lawrence H. Summers convened an ad hoc faculty committee to review Harvard’s residency requirements for degree programs. This committee recommended a change in the existing residency statute and worked with the president, provost, and deans to create guidelines for degrees that do not meet the one-year residency requirement. With these guidelines comes the requirement that proposals for new programs be reviewed by an ad hoc committee under the Provost’s leadership.

The change extends the University’s ability to create innovative programs for midcareer professionals. Residency requirements for undergraduate and doctoral degrees are unchanged.

“Harvard recognizes that residency remains core to our academic programs,” said Summers. “We are also recognizing that a broader access to a Harvard education can provide lifelong learning for professionals competing in this information-based economy.”

Members of the ad hoc committee were: David Calkins, associate dean for clinical programs and lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School; Catherine Elgin, professor of education at Harvard Graduate School of Education; H.T. Kung, William Gates Professor of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering in the Division of Engineering & Applied Sciences; Nan Laird, professor of biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health; David Lamberth, associate professor of theology and associate dean for academic affairs at Harvard Divinity School; Ernest May, Charles Warren Professor of American History; Todd Rakoff, Byrne Professor of Administrative Law and dean of the J.D. program at Harvard Law School; John Ruggie, Evron and Jean Kirkpatrick Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government; Daniel Schodek, Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology at the Graduate School of Design; David Upton, Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; and Daniel Moriarty, assistant provost for IT & CIO, who acted as advisory chair of the committee.

The new guidelines can be found at