Research course

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Harvard University

Entry requirements

Requirements for admission are highly flexible and each application is judged on its own merits. Students with backgrounds in applied math, biology, chemistry, Earth sciences, engineering, physics, and related fields are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications are made online via Harvard GSAS.

Months of entry


Course content

Understanding our planet will be a fundamental challenge for the scientific community over the next century. Almost every practical aspect of society—population, environment, economics, politics—is and will be increasingly impacted by our relationship with the Earth.

Diverse fields of study within Earth and Planetary Sciences include geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geophysics, the physics and chemistry of climate, planetary science, tectonics, and more. There are opportunities for collaboration with other Harvard departments and Schools and also cross-registration opportunities with MIT.

This field provides the combination many students are looking for: one that is sophisticated, scientifically challenging, interdisciplinary, and offers societal relevance.

EPS includes a number of broad research disciplines. When applying, applicants should list up to three EPS faculty whose research fields are closest to their interests. For lists of faculty working in specific research areas, please browse our study and research areas. Prospective graduate students are welcome to browse the areas of research and contact individual faculty who share their research interests, or the EPS graduate coordinator for additional details.

Fees and funding

5 years’ funding is guaranteed to all Harvard PhD students.

British citizens who are – or will be – graduates of British universities should check out both Kennedy Scholarships and Frank Knox Fellowships.

Both of these awards offer full tuition and health insurance coverage and a generous stipend towards living expenses. They are offered annually in competition. A Frank Knox Fellowship can be particularly welcomed during the early stages of a doctoral degree and both awards offer considerable personal support from their networks.

Please note that you will need to submit your application to either or both awards ahead of the deadline for your Harvard application. Kennedy Scholarship and Frank Knox Fellowship applications are to be made online via their websites between mid-August and late-October in the same application season as you will submit your application to Harvard. Please also note they are totally separate from, and independent of, admission to the program. Awards made at interview in London in January are provisional, pending confirmation of a place on the course.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

GSAS Admissions