History and Philosophy of Design and Media is a platform for inquiry into the disciplines of architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture, and their aligned aesthetic, technological and spatial practices.
The program provides students the opportunity for historical and philosophical explorations into the social, cultural, technical and political contexts of design, and is directed towards individuals for whom advanced study can serve as preparation for future work in three general areas:
1.- The subsequent pursuit of a PhD degree in the histories of design, architecture, urbanism or landscape architecture, or in the many adjacent fields that include the study of the built environment.
2.- The cultivation of theoretical and historical frameworks for future practice and design pedagogy.
3.- The development of an intellectual foundation for the pursuit of careers in journalism, film and digital media, or design curation related to the built environment.
The program is structured around a curriculum consisting of seminars and lectures taught by the history/theory faculty of the GSD. Course topics taught by this faculty include history of art and architecture, landscape and environmental history, urban design and planning history, the history of science and technology in design, experimental design practices, and many others. The curriculum culminates with an individual research paper or a final project developed within the students’ course work. During their residence, students in this MDes program have access to an unparalleled array of resources, at the GSD and throughout Harvard University. The study of architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture has a natural affinity with courses offered in departments such as History of Science, Visual and Environmental Studies, History, Anthropology, Literature and others. In addition the Humanities Center at Harvard, the Laboratory at Harvard, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society are venues for conversations among scholars at Harvard and internationally, hosting speakers, seminars, workshops and conferences that are open to all Harvard students. Together with the numerous activities at the GSD, these events provide a diverse and stimulating intellectual environment in which to pursue the degree in the History and Philosophy of Design and Media.
Here you’ll find a summary of the documents and materials that you will need to prepare and submit with your online application.
Jan 9, 2020
1.- Gather Your Transcripts
You are required to submit transcripts from all colleges and universities from which you’ve received credit. You should request either an official paper transcript or a digital version from your school. You will then upload it to your application. Make sure the scanned version is legible and oriented properly. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. If the university or college does not issue transcripts, a certified letter and certified English translation must be provided. It should list courses and examinations taken, grades, and degrees and dates of degrees received. Applicants are only required to submit hard copies of official transcripts, sent directly from their previous institution to the GSD, if they are admitted and decide to enroll at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Do not mail paper copies of transcripts prior to receiving an admissions decision; we do not retain any transcripts received prior to March 1. All previous degrees must be conferred by August 15 in order to enroll in the fall. Please note that if you are currently enrolled at another graduate school, the GSD does not accept transfer credits for work completed at another institution.
2.- Collect Three Letters of Recommendation
Applicants are required to obtain three letters of recommendation: at least two from college or university instructors and, if appropriate, one from an employer. Pay close attention when selecting your option about waiving your right to see your recommendation. If you wish to change your waiver selection, then you will need to exclude that recommender and add them again. Recommenders will receive instructions via email once the applicant has registered them via the online application; only online recommendations are accepted. Up to five recommendations may be submitted. You can still submit your application even if your recommenders have not sent in their recommendations.
3.- Have your GRE Scores Sent to the GSD
The general test of the Graduate Record Examination is required for all applicants to degree programs (with the exception of the GMAT option below), including international students. Although recent scores are preferred, tests taken within five years of the test date are acceptable. When requesting that scores be sent to Harvard University, use the institution code for the Graduate School of Design: 3455. Please note, we will store scores in our database until they expire. Applicants are urged to register early to obtain an appropriate test date for the GRE, so that scores are received by the application deadline. Test dates no later than November are recommended for January applications. It takes 10-15 days for the GSD to receive scores after you take the exam. We do not have a cut-off point for GPA or GRE scores, although successful applicants typically have at least a 3.4 GPA. The average GRE scores for incoming students are 157 for the verbal, 159 for the quantitative, and 4.0 for the analytical writing sections. We encourage you to apply whether or not you meet these guidelines, keeping in mind that all components of the application are taken into consideration.
4.- Have your TOEFL Scores Sent to the GSD
International Students Only
TOEFL scores are required for all international students. Scores are valid for 2 years. When requesting that scores be sent to Harvard University, use the institution code for the Graduate School of Design: 3455. Read our TOEFL FAQ for more details. As with GRE scores, we will save TOEFL scores in our database until they expire. (Please note we do not accept MyBest TOEFL score reports.)
5.- Edit your Resume
Upload a resume that includes: employment; education; extra-curricular collegiate and community activities (note whether an office held was elected or appointed); honors, awards, professional registration, professional societies, publications; avocations, hobbies, travel; if you served in the military, indicate rank on entry and rank on separation.
6.- Write Your Essay
The requirements of your essay depend on the program you’re applying to.
Submit a statement addressing your reasons for pursuing graduate studies, your academic and professional goals, potential research topics, your specific interest in this program, and any other information you feel will assist the committee in evaluating your application. Limit responses to approximately 1,000 words.
7.- Prepare Your Portfolio
Portfolios must be uploaded as a single PDF and include your most important and representative visual arts, design, research, and/or professional work. Projects should include a description as well as any supporting documentation, which may include images or a video. All work must indicate the date of the project and whether the project was academic, office-related, or personal. In the case of collaborative work, the contribution by the applicant must be described precisely. Embedded links are deactivated when you upload your portfolio. Please note, we do not accept materials from third party services such as Interfolio. We do not have any sample portfolios. A wide variety of design work and portfolio styles are submitted; there is no one type of correct or successful portfolio.
Recommended File Set-up:
Pages: 30 max (Cover pages or table of contents don’t count)File Size: 40MB max
Page Layout: 12” x 18” or A3, two-page spreads should be combined into one page. (recommended)
Color Format: RGB (recommended)
Resolution: 150 dpi (recommended)Video Requirements:
You have the option of submitting one video as a supplement to the PDF portfolio. In exceptional cases where video has been a primary focus of an applicant’s previous design work, up to three video files may be submitted.
Format: .MOV or .WMX
Length: 60s max
Dimensions: 640px x 480px
If you’re applying for advanced placement in the professional degree program in Landscape Architecture or for post-professional degree programs you are expected to submit examples of work demonstrating your ability to pursue study at an advanced level.
8.- Pay the Application Fee
There is a $90, non-refundable fee for each application submitted. In order for your application(s) to be reviewed, the fee(s) should be paid, by credit card only, immediately after submitting your application. Try again with a different credit card should the system reject your card.
9.- Apply for Financial Aid
Prospective students interested in receiving aid should complete the Financial Aid application. Read more information about paying for your program.
After you Submit
Once submitted, changes, additions, or any other edits cannot be made to the application and/or portfolio. Application materials, including the portfolio, become the property of the GSD and cannot be returned or forwarded to any other party.
All decisions are released within the first week of March. You will receive an email indicating that there is an update on your Applicant Status Page. We will not give out decisions over the phone. If you have not received notification by April 1, please contact the Admissions Office at email@example.com.
Please note, the GSD does not grant deferrals. If you are admitted but unable to attend, you would need to reapply.