Undergraduate FAQ for AY 2021-22

If you have a question not addressed below, feel free to reach out to the Academic Programs Manager, Campbell Halligan (campbellhalligan@fas.harvard.edu).

Research

  1. If I am an enrolled student living off-campus, will I be able to access the labs?
    • Yes, as long as you adhere to the unviersity's COVID-19 testing policy for undergraduates.
  2. What kinds of research are conducted in EPS?
    • The Earth and Planetary Sciences department houses faculty and students conducting research across all STEM disciplines. Research is often interdisciplinary, including biology, chemistry, physics, applied mathematics, computer science, engineering, and astronomy. Research crossing disciplinary boundaries to study the intersection of economics, public policy, social sciences, and government with the geosciences is also encouraged. You can get a sense of research in the department by visiting https://eps.harvard.edu/pages/research and the linked websites for faculty and their research groups. To see some current undergraduate research projects, visit https://eps.harvard.edu/undergraduate-research.
  3. How do I get to know more about the faculty and their research?
    • In addition to visiting faculty websites and taking courses that interest you, students are also invited to attend monthly Undergraduate Department Tutorials. At these informal gatherings, faculty members talk about their research interests and take questions from students. For fall 2021, we will plan to offer Department Tutorials in a hybrid format. If you would like to get on the mailing list to receive announcements about tutorials, contact Campbell Halligan (campbellhalligan@fas.harvard.edu).
  4. What kinds of remote research are available?
    • During the pandemic, faculty and students demonstrated incredible creativity in providing research opportunities that can be conducted completely online. Research has focused on modeling all types of geophysical processes, including climate change, glacier dynamics, atmospheric pollution, groundwater flow, biogeochemical transformations, mineral physics, earthquakes and tectonics, volcanism, and natural hazards. Research has also included analyzing and asking new questions about existing or remotely collected data sets, with the chance to improve proficiency in coding. As we return to on-campus life, many faculty are still offering remote research opportunities.
  5. Is there funding available for research, whether conducted remotely or in-person?
    • The EPS department is able to provide some financial support for undergraduate research assistants who are enrolled in Harvard classes, though the exact amount is determined on a case-by-case basis. EPS primary and joint-allied concentrators, secondary students, and others who have indicated interest in EPS will receive information about research funding. To be added to our mailing list, contact Campbell Halligan (campbellhalligan@fas.harvard.edu).
  6. Can I participate in research as a student on leave?
    • If you are on a leave of absence, you are not able to work as a funded research assistant. Any exceptions must be approved by the Ad Board prior to starting the position. For more information, see https://uraf.harvard.edu/.
  7. What is the difference between being a research assistant and taking EPS 91?
    • Enrolling in EPS 91 provides an opportunity to receive academic credit for conducting research. Since you are receiving course credit, you are not also eligible for funding. EPS 91 is a good opportunity to explore a topic of interest and gain research experience.
  8. When and how do I get involved in research?
    • All students are welcome to conduct research. The best way to get involved is to reach out to faculty whose research is of interest to you. You can get to know faculty through attending tutorials, taking classes, or even reading through their websites and sending them emails.
    • Once you find a faculty member, ask about the possibility of working with them. Sometimes faculty have existing projects you can work on, or you may be able to bring an idea of something you’d like to research to them and see if it can be made into an appropriate research project. Try not to get frustrated if you do not hear back from them right away or if they don’t currently have a project available for you. The faculty may be able to refer you to other related research projects.
    • Once you have secured a faculty member to work with, you can seek out funding through the department (see above) or from many other sources (see the website for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships here: https://uraf.harvard.edu/funding-considerations).
  9. What is the short-term research program?
    • The short-term research program, initiated in the summer of 2020, is intended to provide opportunities for incoming first-year students and rising sophomores who are not already involved in EPS. These opportunities last for 2-3 weeks and pay a $300 stipend. New opportunities will be emailed to prospective concentrators, as well as other undergraduate program administrators. More information about the short-term research program can be found here: https://sites.google.com/g.harvard.edu/eps-short-term-program/home.

Courses

  1. What classes will be offered in the upcoming academic year?
    • For a list of EPS courses, visit https://eps.harvard.edu/pages/courses. Descriptions of these courses are also available in the my.harvard course catalog. If you have questions about specific courses, feel free to reach out to Campbell, the Head Tutors, or the faculty member teaching the course.
  2. What will be the grading policy for courses?
    • All courses will return to normal grading for the fall semester. Courses may be taken for letter grades or pass/fail, though classes taken pass/fail cannot normally be used to satisfy concentration requirements. Courses that need to be used as pre-requisites for other courses should also be taken for a letter grade. For more information on concentration and secondary requirements, visit https://handbook.fas.harvard.edu/book/welcome.
  3. In general, what will Harvard classes look like in the fall?
    • Most courses will return to a pre-COVID in-person format, with all faculty adhering to guidelines regarding mask use and social distancing. Faculty are also prepared to offer instruction in a remote format for any student planning to attend classes virtually this semester.

Other

  1. What is the Geological Society (GeoSoc) and how do I get involved?
    • The GeoSoc is the undergraduate organization open to all students (primary and joint-allied concentrators, secondaries, students who have taken EPS courses, and anyone else with an interest). The group organizes social activities throughout the year and is a great way to connect with fellow undergrads. To get involved, reach out to this year’s president, Caleb Fried (cfried@college.harvard.edu).
  2. Where should I go for more information?
    • For general questions about the undergraduate experience in the EPS department, contact the Academic Programs Manager, Campbell Halligan (campbellhalligan@fas.harvard.edu).
    • If you would like to get in touch with current undergraduates or recent graduates, contact Campbell, who can share the email addresses of students who have indicated their willingness and excitement to provide insight into the student experience.
    • You can also reach out to the GeoSoc president, Caleb Fried (cfried@college.harvard.edu), for advice on how to be connected with current students.