Academic Field Trips

Academic field trips provide educational opportunities outside of the classroom, allowing for course-related experiences beyond the Harvard community.  Ordinarily, courses should be organized to meet only during their regularly-scheduled times, plus any additional times scheduled at the beginning of the term for sections and laboratories. Instructors who wish to include an academic field trip or project that would take students away from campus must obtain permission before the course may be listed in the my.harvard Course Search: instructors must consult with the Office of Undergraduate Education about courses below the 200- or 2000-level and with the Dean of the Graduate School about courses at or above the 200- or 2000-level. While ordinarily, academic fieldtrips should be optional, this policy applies to all Harvard-organized academic field trips, whether optional or required.    

Updated Harvard Travel Guidance & Covid-19 Information about Travel 

General Guidelines

  1. Ordinarily, instructors should plan academic field trips that require no more than one class day away from the University in any given week.  In addition, academic field trips may not require more than five total class days during the term, or ten total days including weekends.  
  2. In all cases, students’ obligations to other courses meeting at their regularly-scheduled times must have priority over academic field trips.
  3. A faculty member, Course Instructor, or other authorized Harvard Officer must accompany students on all Harvard-organized academic field trips.
  4. Instructors should plan to secure funding for any academic field trip.  Students should not incur any financial cost for course-related travel, whether optional or required.
  5. All Harvard affiliates interacting with minors as part of their work or scholarship at Harvard must follow the guidelines for interacting with minors (learn more at Youth Protection at Harvard).
  6. Faculty must monitor elevated-risk destinations.  Academic field trips to elevated-risk areas are not encouraged and require the permission of the Office of Undergraduate Education; if permitted, such trips may be subject to restrictions.
  7. Academic field trips to high-risk areas are prohibited (learn more at Harvard Global Support Services).

Communication with Students

  1. Instructors must announce at the beginning of a course any requirements that would take students away from the University so that students may consider these requirements when choosing their courses.
  2. Detailed information about academic field trips should be included in the course syllabus and clearly articulated at the start of the term.
  3. Instructors should be aware that some students may be unable to participate in an academic field trip due to other academic or personal obligations, or because they may not have the necessary travel documents. Instructors must develop appropriate alternative activities for those students unable to participate in an academic field trip.  Alternative activities should be clearly articulated by the instructor and documented in the course syllabus. 
  4. Faculty should be aware that students with disabilities may request accommodations for academic field trips and should encourage students to contact the Disability Access Office (formally the AEO) to obtain assistance identifying and/or arranging services.  In such cases, faculty leaders may need to confer with the student and/or the AEO about the field trip logistics.

Forms and Procedures
Harvard Global Support Services: Forms & Checklists

  1. All students participating in an academic field trip will need to complete an applicable waiver and release form.  The forms can be found at: Harvard Global Support Services
  2. All students participating in an international fieldtrip will need to complete the health clearance process.  All information can be found within the Student Pre-Departure Requirements. 
  3. All participating students must complete the Harvard Global Support Services pre-departure orientation module.


Disability Access Office 

Engaged Scholarship Resources

General Education Field Trip Information

Harvard College International Travel Policies

Planning and Booking Travel (Airfare & Bus Charters)

Travel & Reimbursement Resources

Student Travel Forms