Advanced Standing


Undergraduate students with advanced standing have the option of applying for a joint A.B./A.M. degree. The Joint Degree Program at Harvard is in practice a double degree program; it involves earning independent master's and bachelor's degrees which are conferred at the same time. Joint degree candidates register at the College in the usual way and carry a normal undergraduate bursar's card. Their academic programs are different from those of other fourth-year students in that they are ordinarily focused narrowly on one area of specialization and often involve quite advanced work in that field.


Candidates for A.B./A.M. degrees register as undergraduates (not graduates) during their senior year.  Students must file an Advanced Standing Activation form and bracketing forms, available on the Office of Undergraduate Education website. In addition, an Application for Degree form is due at the Registrar’s Office, Graduate Requirements, 20 Garden St., Rm. 109 (please consult the Registrar's Office for deadlines).

Note the following requirements, other than departmental, for the Master of Arts degree:

  1. Eight 4.0 credit courses must be bracketed (i.e. not counted for undergraduate credit) for the master's degree. These courses must be in the subject of, or fulfill the requirements for, the master's degree. The student must file a form to bracket courses taken beyond the bachelor's degree at the Office of Undergraduate Education, University Hall 1st Floor North, by the 5th Monday of the term in which the course is taken.
  2. Courses being used towards the master’s degree should ordinarily be taken in the student's fourth year. Courses taken in the third year may, in certain circumstances, be approved by the Chair of the graduate department in which the student is a candidate for the master's degree, as long as these courses are bracketed by the 5th Monday of the term in which they are taken. Retroactive bracketing of courses is allowed only by petition to the Administrative Board explaining special circumstances.
  3. Requirements for the master’s degree must be completed by the end of May in the fourth year.
  4. Courses bracketed for the master's degree may not be taken for Pass/Fail. They must be taken for letter grades. A "B" average is required.
  5. In no circumstances may courses taken (or work done such as a thesis) be counted for both the bachelor's and the master's degree.
  6. Applications for the master's degree, listing the eight half courses, must be signed by the Chair of the graduate department.

If you have any questions, contact NELC’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, Gojko Barjamovic at