Student Services

Student Services at Harvard

Harvard has a variety of programs and people in place to help students deal with any conceivable issue. A good list of the resources available is at this page:

A few key people and places are highlighted below.

Harvard Office of Student Affairs

The Office of Student Affairs ( is responsible for the welfare of graduate students and monitors their academic status, progress, and discipline.The Student Affairs Office also administers leave/travel applications and readmission applications.

Garth McCavana, Dean for Student Affairs

Location: Holyoke 350
Phone: 617-495-1816

Dean McCavana has general responsibility for the welfare of graduate students and monitors students' academic status, progress and discipline. He oversees the GSAS Residence Halls, the Office of Student Services, and the Office of Housing Services in Dudley House. The Student Affairs Office administers the various graduate fellowship competitions and processes, leave and travel applications, intra-Faculty of Arts and Sciences transfer applications, and readmission applications. Dean McCavana represents students in disciplinary cases before the Administrative Board and advises students on sexual harassment complaints. He also coordinates orientation and commencement activities.

Rise Shepsle, Assistant dean for Student Affairs

Location: Holyoke 350
Phone: 617-495-1814

Rise Shepsle serves as a contact person and resource for the registrar, the departments, and other Faculty of Arts and Sciences and University offices in communicating and interpreting GSAS policies and in assisting graduate students in maintaining academic satisfactory progress. She coordinates the transfer and readmission process, the Exchange Scholar Program, the non-resident applications, and the Internship Program with the Office of Career Services. She provides advice to students throughout the petitioning process including extensions of incomplete, academic and financial credit, and add/withdrawals after the deadline. She advises international students about English as a Second Language resources. She assists with registration and commencement. She represents GSAS in the Teacher Education Programs (GSAS Option). This option allows graduate students to obtain their secondary teaching certification before they graduate.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Student Services

Ellen Fox, Director of Student Services

Dudley House B-2
telephone: 617-495-5005
fax: 617-496-5169

In her role as director of student services, Ellen Fox is the go-to-person for GSAS students. She serves in an advisory role, provides ongoing support, and makes referrals to other sources of assistance, as necessary. Whatever the issue, she is here to help. Conversations are confidential.  Ellen can be reached at (617)495-5005;

Letter of Director of Student Services:

In my role as Director of Student Services, I am the "go-to person" for GSAS students about any academic or person concerns. No questions or issues are too big or too small. I have extensive experience in talking with students about topics that have ranged from how to become more involved with the graduate student community to how to approach an advisor about an experiment or project that is not going well.

The experience of being a graduate student holds many joys and challenges. Whatever a student;s academic program is or however supportive a student's department is, concerns and questions can arise about which it can be helpful to speak with someone who is outside the department. I am committed to providing whatever help I can to all GSAS students and have particular interest in issues of concern for women in science, student parents and international students. As the supervisor of the GSAS Resident Advisors, I welcome talking with residents of the GSAS residence halls about any aspects of residential life.

My role is a combination of advocate, ombudsperson, and coach. I offer support in a safe setting that allows students to talk openly about whatever they would like to consider. If necessary, I will suggest other resources such as a referral to a counselor at the Bureau of Study Counsel. I also welcome receiving feedback about graduate student life and suggestions about services that would help to improve the graduate student experience.

Conversations with me are confidential and are held in my office, Dudley House, Rm. B2. Appointments can be scheduled, including during the summer, by calling me at (49)5-5005 or contacting me at

The Bureau of Study Counsel

5 Linden St, Cambridge

The Bureau of Study Counsel is a resource center for academic and personal development that encourages the learning and growth of the "whole person" in the interrelated realms of intellectual, emotional, and social life. Students consult the Bureau regarding a wide variety of academic issues and personal concerns, and the Bureau welcomes conversations with students about the interests, challenges, and dilemmas they encounter in their work and lives.