FAQ

The Application Process

All incoming first-year Harvard undergraduate students who are interested in studying STEM and will be taking Math Ma/Mb in their first year are welcome to apply. Students from backgrounds and identities that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM are especially encouraged to apply.

The priority deadline for the 2022-2023 academic year is Friday, August 19, 2022 at 5pm ET. Application will still be accepted after this deadline, but priority will be given to students who apply before the deadline.

Yes. After submitting your application, we will contact you to schedule a one-on-one online interview via Zoom to learn more about your background and your goals.

We will inform all applicants of our decision by Tuesday, August 30, 2022. If you are added to our waitlist, you can expect a final decision by Friday, September 2, 2022.

Math Ma/Mb

Yes, all students who choose to enroll in ESP must take Math Ma in the fall semester, followed by Math Mb in the spring semester. A reminder to avoid the 1:30-2:45 time slot if possible, as ESPa will be held at that time.

No! ESP students should choose whichever section of Math Ma best fits with the rest of their schedule.

Contact the course head for Math M to learn more about the course. You can find their contact information by searching for Math Ma through my.Harvard.

ESP Problem Solving Seminar (ESPa)

Yes, ESPa is a required course in the fall semester for all enrolled ESP students. It is a 2-credit course that must be taken in addition to 16 credit hours of coursework (typically 4 courses) in the fall semester. So, ESP students must pick their courses, sections, labs, and other responsibilities so that they do not conflict with the meeting times of ESPa.

ESPa meets Mondays and Wednesdays, 1:30-2:45pm. The location is to be determined. The first meeting of ESPa will take place on Wednesday, September 7, 2022.

ESP students can register for ESPa through my.Harvard after they have been offered an acceptance letter to the program.

No, only enrolled ESP students can take the ESP seminar.

No. ESPa is an entirely separate course from Math Ma and Math Mb. The purpose of ESPa is to provide new students with critical problem-solving skills that will be beneficial to them in all of their STEM courses, including and especially Math M.

No. In the past, the ESP seminar had two mandatory components, ESPa in the fall and ESPb in the spring. Now, ESP students are only required to take ESPa in the fall. Starting in the spring semester, ESP students only need to take the regular 16 credit course load.

Absolutely! We encourage ESP students to take a Freshman Seminar in their first year, as they provide a low-stakes and low-stress opportunity to explore a new topic. It can be an especially good idea to take a Freshman seminar in the fall along with ESPa, to avoid being overburdened with five courses.

For more information about ESPa, contact the instructor, Dusty Grundmeier. You can find his contact information on the Contact page.

Weekly Lunch Events

Yes, ESP students are required to attend these events each week. If you are unable to attend a lunch event for any reason, you must contact the ESP faculty.

Unless otherwise specified, all lunch events will take place on Friday afternoons at 1:30pm, and will typically last for 60-75 minutes. Thus, ESP students should reserve the time slot MWF 1:30-2:45pm every week for both the ESP seminar and ESP lunch events. The location of the lunch events will be announced on a weekly basis.

No. Food and beverages will be provided for free.

Once you are enrolled in the program, the ESP faculty will collect your dietary information, so that we can be sure to provide appropriate food for everyone.

Typically, our lunches will have a guest speaker from different departments and offices at the university, who will share pertinent information, stories, and advice. On other occasions, our lunches will simply be an opportunity to connect with your peers over social activities and discussions. See our Events page for examples of speakers and events we’ve had in the past.

Summer School

No! ESP students are not required to take summer courses at any time. Many ESP students choose not to take summer classes, and are more than capable of finishing their required coursework via term-time courses. However, many Emerging Scholars find that it is in their best interest to take a course or two over their first summer, to stay ahead of their required coursework. Please meet with your academic advisors to discuss whether taking summer classes is best for you.

All ESP students can take up to two summer courses through the Harvard Summer School.

ESPers can take any courses offered through the Harvard Summer School, as long as they are personally approved by the ESP faculty. In particular, at least one of the courses taken must be a STEM-related course. Also, certain combinations of courses are not allowed. Please speak with the ESP faculty for more information about summer course selection.

Yes. If your coursework plan is approved by the ESP faculty, then tuition and fees for your courses will be covered by the university.

Yes, all ESP students who are taking at least one approved summer course will be given housing on campus (with their ESP cohort) and access to the dining hall for the duration of the summer school.

No! Many ESP students find that Math 1b is a required course for their intended concentration, and thus opt to take it over the summer. So, we typically offer a smaller summer section of Math 1b specifically for ESP students. However, ESPers do not need to take Math 1b over the summer if it is not necessary for them, or if they plan on taking it during term time. If it is more beneficial to take a different STEM course, we encourage you to do so!

ESP students are allowed to pursue and maintain other activities while taking summer courses, as long as the other activities do not conflict with or distract from their summer coursework, which should take priority. However, we strongly discourage students from pursuing time-intensive jobs or activities while taking summer classes, especially if they are taking two courses or any intensive STEM courses. Harvard Summer School courses can be extremely fast-paced and demanding, so anyone planning on taking summer classes should avoid overcommitting to too many other activities.

If an ESP student is especially interested in a job, internship, or research experience over their first summer, it may be advisable to pursue these opportunities instead of taking summer coursework. ESP students should consult with the ESP faculty before deciding how best to spend the summer after their first year.