2017-18 Application Launch

We are pleased to announce that our online application is now live! You can access the form, requirements, and instructions on our website. The application deadline for the Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) is December 15, 2016, while the Master of Education (Ed.M.) deadline is January 5, 2017. HGSE and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) additionally offer the interfaculty Ph.D. in Education. Applications for this research-based doctorate must be submitted to GSAS by December 1, 2016.

Also, we have posted many of our fall recruitment events on our website and we encourage you to check our website for details – hgse.me/HGSE_events. If you are able to visit the Cambridge area this fall, we will be hosting the following on campus events:

Please do not hesitate to engage with us via email at gseadmissions@harvard.edu or on Twitter (@hgse_admissions).

Finding a Place to Live at Harvard University

After the initial shock of your acceptance wears off and you have already introduced yourself to your cohort via email, it is important to channel your energy to the next phase of coming to Harvard: finding a place to live. Thankfully, Cambridge—and more broadly, Boston—offer myriad places to live but with each place comes pros and cons. Below you will find some information on the most popular options.

Harvard Housing | Graduate Housing

If you are at all like me, you will want to spend your graduate experience as an engaged member of the Harvard community. Thus, it would make sense to try and live as close to the University as possible. Though you will be at school for classes, you will probably also want to attend group meetings, clubs, activities, social hours, and speaker series—living close to campus makes the commute easy and strips the need of public transportation.

Cronkhite: I chose to spend my year living in the Cronkhite Graduate Center. Cronkhite is a graduate dorm (you must be 21+ to live in it) situated three blocks away from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and across the street from Radcliffe Lawn. Though single dorms rooms can be pricey ($1200-$1400 but with all expenses included) and you have to share restrooms, it makes getting the school beyond easy (especially during the frigid winter). Additionally, though approximately 50% of the residents attend the Graduate School of Education, the dorm houses students from all over the University and as a result, makes it is easy to find an intellectually diverse set of friends. Harvard Housing also has 20+ other properties in the area.

GSAS: Another option is the dorms available at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Like Cronkhite, these are located close to school and are actually a bit cheaper ($900-$1200). However, these dorms do not have the same social actives and events that happen at Harvard Housing properties. Also, students who are interested in this property need to apply in advance as a lottery is used to determine who is accepted.

Getting a Place on Your Own

Before writing this, I asked classmates about their experiences renting places. As for the individuals who rented cheap and far away from school, they noted that you should take into account the added amount of time you will spend in transit (hopefully you can read on the bus without feeling nauseous). Also, once you leave campus, you are usually gone for the day as the commute is too long to attempt it twice. However, if you, like many of us, are ballin’ on a budget, this can lead to a much more affordable and financially responsible year (but do account for costs like transit, heat, gas, hot water, and internet as some times the final cost is not much cheaper than closer options).

I recommend reaching out Office of Student Affairs if you are considering renting a property. Everyone in the office is extremely helpful and Alex is well versed on best rental practices for Boston whether you are searching with a broker (they charge one month’s rent) or off of Craigslist.

Best of luck during your transition to Cambridge!

Daniel Dickey is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education, and was elected the Chief Financial Officer and Higher Ed Senator for the HGSE Student Council. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Daniel taught high school English in an urban school as a Teach For America corps member.

The Split Life, Transformation, and Reintegration

I came to HGSE with a clear mission of what skills I needed to gain and how I would apply them to the nonprofit I’m starting, which is located 700 miles away from Cambridge. I’m coming from that community, and I’m returning back to it, but in the interim, I have been transformed. The best education is transformational, of course, but it is harder to carry that transformation back to a place where I am already known.


I presented at EdTalks on the Askwith Hall stage about my nonprofit, Dimensions Family School. We open for families in September 2016.

In many respects, I am living a split life. My husband stayed back home during my year of graduate school, so other than a video chat or text message here and there, I’m functionally single. At my permanent home down south, I homeschool my kids and drag them along on my various employment adventures (the perks of being an independent educator!), while in graduate school I have a full time nanny and we have pieced together versions of public education. At home, we drive to almost all of our activities. Here, we use our bikes. My friendships are different; my social activities have fundamentally shifted.



Learning & Teaching cohort 2016 at Field Day and Kickball – a total blast!

Now graduation looms, and I look toward going home, but while I am headed south again, I am not simply “going back.” I am shifting into a leadership role in my community. My marriage has altered and there will be a readjustment period. My kids are a year older, their relationships more tenuous. They have transformed this year as well.


Two friends, Laura Peters (AIE) and Alice Liou (TIE), helped me transform the TIE lounge into a more comfortable seating arrangement, instead of its prior waiting-room feel. (Future students: move the furniture! Transform your environment! Tinker!)

Growth implies change. It is necessary. Now, as I consider what I want to bring forward from this alternate life I’ve led this year, I know only one thing: Harvard is now within me. I carry the lessons I’ve learned here into the next phase.


This is from the wall at the Harvard I-Lab, which I’ve used as a place to work in order to separate school time from business activities. And also to drink the free coffee.

The transformation continues from this point forward, and I feel trepidation about the coming changes, yes, but also gratitude for all that has come before.

Thank you, HGSE community and Class of 2016.  I’ve been honored to share this year with you.

Charlotte Dungan is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Learning and Teaching program. She has worked in home education networks, independent schools, museum education and summer camps. She has a passion for child-directed learning experiences and plans to start a Family School upon graduation.


Timelessness in Time

Time is especially tricky when you only have a year to experience your masters program. 9 months, to be exact. There is so much to learn, so much you wish to do, and you inevitably have to make choices and negotiate trade-offs, and accept what you might lose out on. At this 9th month mark, I find myself looking back with much nostalgia – not on the moments that I’ve had to miss out on, but on the wonderful milestones that were birthed along the way. These were moments that I could have never imagined or planned for prior to coming to the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). They evolved and came to life most unexpectedly, thanks to incredible people that have inspired, supported and worked with me during my journey here. Some of these unanticipated, joyful milestones include:

1. Creating tangible real-life products/movements with colleagues, which embody our shared passions and visions in education


The Palette, an all original podcast focusing on arts and learning, hosting a live podcast recording on accessibility in the arts at HGSE


Harvard STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), a student organization that facilitates and explores trans-disciplinary dialogue and collaboration, presenting their projects at HGSE EdTalks

2. Making connections with my community. Beyond the classrooms, beyond the readings, beyond theory, beyond philosophizing.


Gathering to listen to Project Zero Artists in Residence present their works



Having a 1960’s music singalong with fellow HGSE student Ruhith Ariyapala and the Tremble Clefs, a choral group designed to strengthen the voices of people with Parkinson’s


HGSE students from Singapore performing a medley of Singaporean National Day songs at Cabaret Night, an open mic night as part of Monday Night Remix

3. Getting married in the middle of the final semester (I highly recommend Cambridge City Hall if any of you are considering this!)


Getting married at Cambridge City Hall after morning class made it a school day to remember


Time feels exceptionally precious here, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed, stretched, and doubtful of your decisions at HGSE. But I dare say that choosing to invest your time in – and even make time for – projects and people that matter most to you, is something you will not regret. Time may be limited and beyond your control, but the memories you  create here at HGSE will be timeless – and yours to keep forever.


Jasmine Chin is a Masters in Education candidate in the Arts in Education program. She was an arts administrator and public relations consultant that dabbled in piano performance, singing-songwriting, and flash-mobbing prior to pursuing her Masters. She is currently enjoying exploring new creative mediums beyond music, as well as learning about how to create positive impact through arts and education.

New Students, Consider MassHealth

Dear Incoming Student,

Want to save almost $2500? Consider waiving the Harvard Student Health Insurance plan and applying for MassHealth. I found out about this option a little late, and therefore had to pay a late fee to waive the Harvard insurance, but it was still well worth it.

If you’re not on any other health insurance, and if your income throughout the school year is at or below 133% the Federal Poverty Line, then you are eligible. For your reference, income at 133% FPL for a single individual is about $315 per week. As a student working a graduate level job on campus at an average rate ($10-15 per hr, around 15-20 hours per week), your weekly income will likely qualify you for MassHealth insurance. Check out this table for income level guidelines.

The approval process takes a couple weeks and you will to submit proof of residency (such as a lease agreement) and a paystub. Once you get your MassHealth card, the health benefits available to you are amazing!

Now that the school year is winding down, I finally have had time to take advantage of the health insurance benefits of my MassHealth plan. This includes free doctors exams, eye exams (and a free pair of glasses), dental appointments (and wisdom teeth extraction if you need it), as well as money back for gym memberships and other health purchases.

Don’t wait to apply for MassHealth, and most importantly, don’t wait to take care of your health before it is too late!! My advice to students is to put health as a top priority, and schedule preventative exams and appointments at the beginning of the school year rather than waiting until the end.

Cheers to health!

Pam Liu is a beer-loving yogi who works as a high school math teacher and travels the world on the side. She’s currently a Master’s candidate in the Special Studies program.


Job Searching Advice

In a one-year program, it is inevitable that springtime means job hunting season. Luckily, there are tons of resources for you if you just GET STARTED.

  1. HGSE has a whole Career Services office that wants to help you out. Make an appointment with them to see how to begin.
  2. If you’re aiming to go into the classroom or K-12 administration, spend time throughout the year visiting schools. I spent a day at Vassal Lane Upper School , a public middle school in Cambridge and went to exhibitions of learning at Meridian Academy , a 7-12 independent school in Jamaica Plain. I am completing a teaching practicum at a Boston Public School, so I have gotten to see a wide array of classrooms. I am always humbled by how much there is to learn from visiting a new environment.
  3. Take classes and/or join clubs that demonstrate your skills and interests. Leverage that in your cover letter and interviews to demonstrate your commitment to growth and learning.
  4. Finalize your resume and a general cover letter over Winter Break. No one wants to spend hours tweaking this once the semester is in full swing (though let’s be real, we all end up doing it.)
  5. Make a list of places where you would like to apply, and then APPLY! Set a goal – one a day? One per week? You know your own schedule. Keep your options open at the beginning of your search; sometimes you don’t know the right fit until you interview or visit.
  6. Reach out personally to contacts at that school, business, or organization. Try to set up an informational interview or do whatever you can to (politely!) show interest.
  7. Stay optimistic and pro-active; reach out for help when you need it. Career Services wants nothing more than for all of us to land a dream job, so use their expertise and positive energy to your advantage. Good luck!

Mary Reid Munford is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing licensure as a high school English teacher. She has worked in schools in New Orleans, Mississippi, Colorado, and southern Africa and is interested in how experiential education can make academics come alive for a wide range of students.

Why did the turkey cross the road?

If you live in Cambridge long enough, you’ll probably run into what my cohort lovingly calls “Mr. Turkey” sometime. Recently, my cohort had a lively discussion about him and we all shared our best shots of him happily roaming the streets of Cambridge.

I leave you with some of my favorite shots of Mr. Turkey:


At the Old Burial Ground


Venturing into the neighboring town, Somerville


Behind a building in Harvard Yard


On the streets of Cambridge


At Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Oh, and why did the turkey cross the road? To prove he wasn’t a chicken.

I know you found that funny.

Hibatalla Ibrahim is a Master’s in Education candidate in the International Education Policy Program. Transitioning from marketing to international development, she has special interest in girls’ and urban refugee education. She loves cooking, writing and exercising (OK maybe not).

Habits and Gratitude

After I was admitted to HGSE, I was very intentional about many of my choices.  Sure, I spent many hours with the course catalog and many more figuring out the logistics of housing and childcare for my kids, but I also thought about the big picture of my experience coming here.  I wanted this school year to be transformative, rather than simply transactional – not simply a master’s degree, but also a time of personal growth.

With The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg freshly in my mind, I created a few mini-goals unrelated to school that I wanted to cultivate while I was here.

1. Healthy living.  Since my budget would be tight, I bought a bento box for lunches and figured out what healthy meals I could pack on a weekly basis (my go-to is homemade granola with greek yogurt and frozen fruit, with a veggie side).  I resolved never to take an elevator or escalator, which adds about twenty flights of stairs to my days!  I started cycling during all but the worst weather days.  Finally, I joined the Harvard gym, which is super cheap and has a ton of free classes.  I’m not perfect, but making just a few of these changes from my former eat-out and drive-around lifestyle has been great!

2. Gratitude.  It is a privilege to be here for a year, and I try to be thankful every day for the opportunity to live here and for the people who have supported me.  I’ve developed a few times during the day to remember to be grateful.

First, any time I cross the Charles River, I’m sure to look up and take in the view.  It’s different every time.  You can take the Red Line, the 66 bus, the Harvard Shuttle, or bike across.  This is when I remember to be thankful for a year of living in Boston.


The Museum of Science as seen from the Red Line train window.

At dinner, my family also shares something we are grateful for – the Family Dinner Project from Project Zero has some great ideas!

Finally, I take pictures of the beautiful things that I encounter and make them my phone’s background screen.  Surrounding myself with everyday beauty reminds me to be on the lookout for magic moments.


3.  Adventure.  Don’t forget to go places!  Build in time for all of the amazing things around town and around the state.  I’ve visited most of the museums, DeCordova Sculpture Park, Walden Pond, most of the parks (with my kids), and I have Red Sox tickets purchased for later this month, as well as a camping trip planned in May.  My family celebrated Thanksgiving at Plimoth Plantation!


We’ve walked the Freedom Trail and gotten our passports stamped at the National Parks.


So many amazing things are free; be sure to get a local library card for tons of discounts and free passes!  I also use a few online lists of “best” restaurants and try to get a treat on occasion.


Clover Food Lab – a great local option.

Enjoy your year at an amazing school in a beautiful town!

Charlotte Dungan is a Master’s of Education candidate in the Learning and Teaching program. She has worked in home education networks, independent schools, museum education and summer camps. She has a passion for child-directed learning experiences and plans to start a Family School upon graduation.

Don’t Abandon Teaching

I remember at the beginning of the school year I sat in a room full of my future classmates at the HGSE Students of Color Orientation, and I asked the following question: “How many of you were classroom teachers prior to coming to HGSE?” About 75% of the hands went up. Then I followed up with, “How many of you plan on returning to the classroom after graduating from HGSE?” I looked around the room. Most hands were now down.

As someone who has always planned on returning back to the K-12 classroom, I was suddenly unsure. Why were all my peers planning to abandon their roles as teachers? Was there perhaps a path that was better?

So throughout the first semester I explored the world of education. I took classes at the law school, at the school of public health. I took classes at HGSE in college student affairs and higher education admissions policy. I loved them all. In fact, I was even convinced that I, too, may decide to pursue a career outside K-12 teaching that I originally was so passionate about. Perhaps there was something better for me. But I had come to HGSE with a purpose–to better myself as a teacher, and to help instill change in our K-12 educational system today by working from inside the classroom.

Everything changed for me during second semester. Per the recommendation of my advisor, I sat in on Kitty Boles‘ pitch for her course, T-131 Teachers, Leadership, and Power: School Reform from the Classroom, and my uncertainty about the future immediately disappeared. Kitty, a passionate teacher for over 30 years, gave me that sense of hope and push to return to the classroom. It was then that I understood the transformative power that the right course could inspire. The future of the teaching profession rests with us as teachers.

As teachers, we must advocate for ourselves and the teaching profession. So my plea to all HGSE students, current and future, is this: if you are a teacher (or are thinking about being a teacher), take the opportunity to explore every avenue that HGSE has to offer, but don’t forget what brought you here.  Stay grounded in your passion for educational transformation and learn all you can so you bring change back to the classroom. We must be the change we wish to see! The rest of us teachers and the entire teaching profession needs YOU!

Pam Liu is a beer-loving yogi who works as a high school math teacher and travels the world on the side. She’s currently a Master’s candidate in the Special Studies program.

The Benefits of Cross Registration at Harvard

By far, one of the perks of being at Harvard is being able to cross register. More specifically, students at the Harvard Graduate School of Education are able to register for courses at 12 of Harvard University’s schools as well as courses at MIT, Tufts, and Brown (for GSAS doctoral students).

Having this kind of opportunity truly gives students the chance to diversify and broaden their education; to elaborate, both the style of discourse and the point of views of students at each school can range widely. Therefore, although all classes I have taken have fostered intellectual thought and deep examination of theory, I have genuinely enjoyed seeing how both pedagogy and conversation shift between programs. For example, at MIT’s Sloan School of Business, I was privileged to learn among students who often assessed problems through an astute quantitative lens and it has since pushed me to strengthen my mathematics skills. Further, while enrolled at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, I listened to leaders from around the world appraise problems not by considering the individual but by considering entire populations—as a result, I am better poised to think globally as a decision maker. And in these examples is the jewel of cross registration: the chance to wrestle with and comprehend complex issues via a multiplicity of ideological, theoretical, and practical lenses.

No matter your home school, there is no dearth of engaging classes at Harvard (there are over 8,000 classes listed in course catalog). But if you want to better position your graduate school experience to be wide ranging and full of perspective, I recommend cross registering in at least one course outside of your home school as a way to expand your thinking. And, whichever classes or schools you enroll in, there is one sure thing—as a Harvard student you will learn from inspiring, gifted professors and learn among thoughtful, inquisitive students.

Note: To ensure that you have a spot in your ideal class, it is important that you research the registration steps long before the deadline. For example, each school (both within Harvard and outside Harvard) tends to have individualized quirks when it comes to registration (e.g., Harvard Business School often requires students to email professors a resume whereas Harvard Law School has some classes with deadlines almost two months before the norm). Therefore, make sure to look into the steps necessary to cross register before you join us on campus.

Daniel Dickey is a Master’s of Education candidate in Higher Education, and was elected the Chief Financial Officer and Higher Ed Senator for the HGSE Student Council. Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Daniel taught high school English in an urban school as a Teach For America corps member.

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