Most of the policies of GSAS pertaining to graduate students are found in the GSAS Policies, which is updated each year. This lists the academic calendar, information about grade requirements, degree requirements, tuition, resident and non-resident leave, policy on incompletes, withdrawals, etc. There are also helpful sections on housing, shopping, parking, and many Harvard resources.
My.Harvard is a web portal that gives access to much information about Harvard. It includes the academic calendar, catalog, course and grade reports, handbooks, information about sponsored research, FAS computing, etc. To get to my.harvard as well as to Harvie, where you can view information about paychecks, you will need to log in with your Harvard ID number and HarvardKey.
Social Security Number
All Foreign Nationals (not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a green card) who plan to work as Teaching Fellows or Research Assistants, on any payroll, will need a U.S. Social Security Number. The nearest Social Security office is in Fresh Pond at 10 Fawcett Street. Bring your passport and visa documents.
I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)
Any student appointed to any kind of job, whether Teaching Fellow, research assistant, library assistant, or any other, and on whatever payroll, needs to fill out an I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification Form. This form is required by the government (and hence, by Harvard). It forces the employer to take the responsibility of proving that an employee has the right to work in the United States. Citizens and permanent residents automatically have the right to work; foreign students can also work, but usually only in University-related jobs.
In filling out the form, you must show documents proving your citizenship or visa status. For U.S. citizens, a passport (current or expired), OR a driver's license plus Social Security card, or driver's license plus birth certificate, are the most common documents. Foreign nationals must bring their passport and visa card (the white card that's stapled inside the passport). The date on the white card must not have expired. You are also required to submit the I-94 departure record, printable from on line. Foreign students must also fill out a new I-9 when their visa is renewed.
The payroll office will not issue a paycheck to any individual, U.S. citizen or foreign, unless a valid I-9 is on file.
U.S. tax returns are due April 15 for the previous calendar year. Tax forms may be found in many banks, post offices, or by calling the local state and federal tax offices: for federal forms, 1/800-424-3676; for Massachusetts forms, 727-4392. You can also find both US and Massachusetts forms on line. Harvard and GSAS provide tax information.
Other than tuition grants, virtually every form of financial aid is taxable: Teaching Fellowships, research assistantships, stipends, outside awards, and research awards. Taxes are withheld from paychecks for teaching fellowships and Research Assistantships. For living stipends, no money is withheld from U.S. citizens, and no 1099 is filed with the IRS; however, the stipend is taxable, and it is the student's responsibility to declare the income and to have set aside enough money to pay any tax owed. Foreign students have no state tax withheld from stipends, but Massachusetts will expect you to pay taxes if you meet the income minimums.
Foreign students may or may not be responsible for paying U.S. tax, depending upon whether any tax treaties exist between the U.S. and their home country government. Check with the Student Billing Office in Holyoke Center to find out.
Paychecks and off-cycle checks
Teaching Fellow paychecks are sent monthly, on the 15th. Harvard encourages TF's to have their paychecks directly deposited into your bank account; the stub can be sent to your office. A paycheck will be issued if the TF appointment form has been processed by the end of the previous month.
Because of the Harvard shopping period, the Department does not know the final enrollment count of courses until several weeks into the semester. This makes the number of TF assignments in many courses uncertain. Therefore, some TF's will not get a paycheck the first month of a term, or in some cases the second month of the term, depending upon when enrollment figures are issued by the registrar. After the 15th of each month, a TF whose appointment was processed after the deadline can get an "off cycle check" for the missed paycheck. Please see Allie to request this. Your check will be available for pickup within a week or so.
The Payroll Office will not cut a check for an appointment that's already in the system. In other words, you can't get an off-cycle check on October 5 for an October check that will be issued on October 15.
The Department has set up a number of e-mail lists on the FAS Mailman lists system. We have mailing lists for all graduate students, for graduate students by year, for faculty, and for various subject-area groups. These are used by Department administrators for sending out notices of colloquia, talks, special events, deadlines, job openings, building information, and other public information. Students may wish to use the student aliases for many purposes: asking for assignments, looking for research material, recruiting subjects, extending social invitations, announcing talks, etc. It is not appropriate to send group e-mails for political persuasion, virus warning, commercial uses, etc. You should automatically be enrolled in the appropriate group(s), but please see the Graduate Office if something appears amiss.
Student Office Space
The Department tries to assign each student in Psychology office space during his or her five-year tenure in the Department; most share with one or two others. Students are housed in the research lab space of faculty members. Availability of student office space varies from year to year, depending on number of faculty vacancies and renovations in the building and number of affiliates in your adviser's lab; in some years the Department will be able to assign space fairly generously, and in other years students can expect to have more people assigned to each office. If you have problem with heat or cold, burned-out lights, or if you need furniture, please call Building Operations at 617-495-3801.
Each student is provided a desk, and usually shelves and/or a file cabinet; other equipment (lamps, phones, space heaters) is the responsibility of the student to secure.
Information on common building facilities is available from Building Operations, which also publishes Connection, a weekly electronic newsletter which lists events. Please notify Bill Santoro if you'd like a talk or event advertised in Connection, or if you'd like to submit a classified ad.
Dancing. Swimming. Sculling. Karate. Skating. Squash. Tennis. Jogging. Don't forget the joy of movement in the sedentary pursuit of intellectual excellence this year! Harvard offers a wide variety of recreational classes, most of which are free, during the academic year. Harvard Recreational Sports includes intramural and club sports and recreation classes. Generally registration for most of these classes is held in the Malkin Athletic Center on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the first week of classes. Sign up early to get the classes and times of your choice. Most dance classes (tap, modern, ballet) are offered through Agassiz House in Radcliffe yard and must be registered for separately from other recreational classes. In addition, they are not usually free to graduate students. Harvard Varsity Athletics include several men's and women's sports.
In order to use the Harvard athletic facilities -- which include two indoor pools, a sailing center, squash, racquetball and tennis courts, an indoor track, weightlifting rooms, and gyms -- and to sign up for classes, you must present your GSAS ID card each and every time you go to the facility. If you wish to sign up for a locker and towel service, you can now do so on line once your ID is activated and you have gotten a HarvardKey. Otherwise you can go to the Murr Center, located across the river at 65 N. Harvard Street from the hours of 10am - 5pm to purchase a locker or towel service for the academic year.
It is a good idea to get involved in some type of exercise early in your grad school career, before you develop daily habits that exclude movement. More than one student has found himself in the third year in the worst physical shape ever and under too much pressure to do anything about it. Remember, someday you hope to be an old psychologist.