Fourth Year Master's Degree

Please be advised that information regarding Advanced Standing applies to students admitted to Harvard College prior to Fall 2020. Students admitted to Harvard College beginning in Fall 2020 may be interested in the Concurrent Master's program. 

Unique to Harvard College Advanced Standing students is the opportunity to apply for a fourth year master's degree. Advanced standing students interested in the master's degree programs are strongly encouraged to speak with an advisor in the relevant department before applying for admission. 

Not all departments offer the master's degree as part of the AB/AM or SM program. Departments that do participate in the program are as follows: Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Comparative Literature, Computer Science, Computational Science and Engineering, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Engineering Sciences, German, History of Science, Linguistics, Mathematics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Physics, Regional Studies: East Asia, Regional Studies: Middle East, and Statistics.

Students apply to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences by December of their third year. Students should check with individual departments for deadlines and application requirements. Admission is often quite competitive and the programs are very rigorous. Most departments require eight graduate level courses with a minimum grade of B for the master's degree. Successful AB/AM or SM candidates receive both their bachelor's and master's degrees at the end of the fourth year. They continue to live in their Houses and register as undergraduates, even though their fourth year programs are devoted mainly to graduate study.

Students admitted to the College prior to 2020 who were eligible for Advanced Standing will be allowed to apply for and pursue the fourth-year master’s degree in accordance with the rules for Advanced Standing or may petition to pursue the master’s degree through the Concurrent Program.  Students interested in submitting a petition should write to academicpolicy@fas.harvard.edu. Please include an explanation about your preference to pursue the Concurrent Master's Degree instead of the fourth-year master’s program through Advanced Standing.