Policies and Frequently Asked Questions

Study abroad program policies

Students must be in good academic standing at the end of their last semester of study prior to the program to participate.

  • Arriving late or departing early is not permitted. Program directors work hard to create a program that immerses students in the local environment and meets Harvard’s curricular standards. It is important for students to be present for all aspects of the program.
  • All students must participate in all aspects or courses of the program and live in the program-sponsored accommodations.
  • All students must submit a signed Conditions of Participation and General Risk and Release Form, as well as a doctor-signed Health Clearance Form to participate. These forms will be distributed after acceptance into the program.
  • All students must abide by the policies outlined in the Harvard Summer School Student Handbook.
  • Students are not permitted to hold part-time or full-time work or participate in internships while participating in a Harvard Summer School study abroad program.

Travel warnings

Harvard Summer School is aware of the risks associated with international travel, and adheres to the Harvard College Policy on Undergraduate Travel Abroad. This policy sets forth international travel restrictions for Harvard College students and post-baccalaureate fellows. Please see Harvard Global Support Services for a full statement of this policy. Harvard Summer School reserves the right to cancel or adjust any program should the risk rating for that particular location change before or during the program. 

Program cancellations

Harvard Summer School reserves the right to cancel programs due to low enrollment or local adverse conditions. If a course is canceled prior to the start of the program, your tuition will be refunded in full, but you are responsible for textbooks, coursepacks, or other incurred expenses.


Contact the study abroad office at:

51 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 998-8593

Frequently asked questions

How do I choose a program?

Think about why you want to study abroad next summer. Do you want to improve your proficiency in a foreign language? Focus on a topic related to your concentration, secondary field, or thesis? Perhaps the summer offers you a time to try something completely different from your term-time studies, or the opportunity to challenge yourself in an unfamiliar setting.

Answering these questions will help you decide which Harvard Summer School program is the best fit for you. You can also talk with your academic advisor, program staff, staff at the Office of International Education, and us here at the Summer School as you think about your options.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Yes. Second applications are permitted, but we encourage students to make informed decisions about the programs best suited to their interests. Before applying, consider the structure of the program and the prerequisites, and familiarize yourself with the country of interest. Program staff can answer any questions you may have.

To apply for two programs online, select a secondary choice on the application menu. Please note there is a $50 non refundable application fee per program and you must submit a personal statement and request a transcript for each program you apply to.

Is there an age requirement?

Students must be at least 18 years old, have completed one year minimum of college or be a first-year student, and be in good academic standing to apply. Admission criteria are outlined in each program description.

Does the Summer School have financial aid for studying abroad?

The Summer School does not offer financial aid. Harvard College students have opportunities to apply for funding through centers on campus. See Funding and Payment for more details. Students at other Harvard or non-Harvard universities may be eligible for financial aid from their home institution’s financial aid office.

Are you able to waive the $50 application fee for students in need of financial aid?

Unfortunately, we cannot waive the application fee.

For Harvard College students only: We have paired with the Financial Aid Office to consider fee reimbursements for students receiving full financial aid. If the $50 application fee poses a financial burden, please contact the Summer School Office at summerabroad@dcemail.harvard.edu

Why do some programs have special application procedures?

Because our programs are offered in a wide range of disciplines, some programs may place different demands on students. In these cases, program directors may need additional materials to properly evaluate applicants. See individual program pages for details.

Can I take a course pass/fail?

In most cases, Harvard College students may request to take a course pass/fail. Prior approval is required. Non-Harvard students do not have the pass/fail option.

How will I know if I am accepted?

The program director will inform you of your status, generally within a few weeks of the application deadline. They can also answer any questions you may have about a program.

What if I am waitlisted?

The program director can give you a sense of the waitlist and will confirm with you whether you wish to remain on it. If you have applied to two programs and have been waitlisted in your first choice but accepted to your second, you will need to think carefully about your available options and make a reasonably quick decision so that you do not hold a spot that someone else might take.

Do I need a visa?

Visa requirements differ among countries, and depending on your own nationality. Your program director will be able to give you general visa guidance, but you are responsible for learning the requirements of your destination based on your nationality, and for obtaining your own visa should one be required. Harvard has identified two vendors that can assist students with visa and passport issues for international travel; please see Admitted Students for more information on this service.

I have a disabilities accommodation from Harvard. Does that transfer automatically to the Summer School?

You do need to register separately with the Summer School’s Office of Disabilities Services. Please see Students in Need of Accommodations for information on disabilities accommodations in Summer Study Abroad programs.

Can my spouse or family member attend and live with me?

No. The programs, courses, activities, excursions, and accommodations are designed for registered students only.

How do I make a payment?

Harvard Summer School online services allows enrolled students to make deposits and full payments with a valid credit card. See Funding and Payment.

Do study abroad participants receive a transcript?

For Harvard College students, the course(s) will roll directly onto your college transcript. Non-Harvard college students may request a transcript from the summer school. Our credits are usually acceptable for transfer to most colleges and universities pending approval from your home institution.