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The Harvard Kennedy School course registration process consists of four phases – Registration Round I, a single-round of bidding for oversubscribed courses, Registration Round II, and an online add/drop and cross-registration period. Faculty receive an email from the Office of the Registrar each semester outlining the relevant specific dates and are encouraged to contact the Office of the Registrar with questions regarding registration.
Harvard Kennedy School courses are only open to students who have matriculated in one of our degree programs or Harvard University staff who qualify. If you do not fit into either of those categories, you may elect to audit a class (see below for more information).
During Registration Round I, students logon to SPARKS, and may request up to five credits (including cross-registered and reading and research courses) that they wish to take. They may change their selections at any time during the Registration Round I (and later during Registration Round II).
Students who have selected an oversubscribed class during Registration Round I will be informed by the Office of the Registrar via email that they have the option to bid on the course. Students are given an endowment of points per academic year to use during the bidding process. The endowment is determined by a student’s expected year of graduation and program.
After the bidding period, Registration Round II opens on SPARKS, allowing students to revise their schedules. Registration Round II is first come, first serve. Students are advised to check the course capacities for these classes often to determine space availability.
After registration closes, add/drop and cross-registration begin. At this time, Kennedy School students will be able to further revise their schedules in SPARKS and cross-registrants will submit registration requests online as well (the Harvard University paper cross-registration petition will not be accepted at HKS). Kennedy School students’ and cross-registrant registration requests will appear in the same queue in SPARKS for faculty review and approval. The registrations will be sorted by submission date, but faculty have discretion to choose students according to their own priority order during the HKS add/drop and cross-registration period.
A jointly listed course is one that carries both an HKS course number and a course number in one or more of the other Harvard schools. The HKS Office of the Registrar will contact the faculty regarding how many places to allocate for HKS students and for students registered under the non-HKS number.
Enrollment in January classes takes place in October and the process is the same as in the fall and spring terms. More information about the specific courses and registration dates are made available during the fall term.
Class lists (rosters) are generated by the Office of the Registrar and may be accessed by faculty and their staff assistants via the intranet. The list will include cross-registrants, but it will not include students registered under the other school’s number in the case of jointly listed courses. During registration, rosters are constantly changing as students are adjusting their schedules.
If a course is jointly listed with another school, the instructor will receive a separate list of the students registered under the other school's number from that school's registrar. For instance, DPI-115 is jointly listed as Govt. 1540. The faculty member receives one class list from the HKS Office of the Registrar for all students (including cross-registrants) enrolled under DPI-115, and a second class list from the FAS Registrar for all students (including a different set of cross-registrants) enrolled under Gov. 1540. Hence the faculty do not receive one fully integrated list of all students registered in the course under all numbers. See the grades and grading information for details on submitting the grade list and changing a grade.
With the exception of National Security Fellows and Lee Kuan Yew Fellows, whether or not to accept auditors in a course is entirely up to the instructor. Note, however, that if there are more students who wish to take the course than there are available slots, auditors will be the first to be eliminated. Auditors do not formally enroll in classes; the Office of the Registrar keeps no records of any kind of auditing or auditors. Hence their names do not appear on class rosters or grade sheets. Nor is the auditing of a course recorded on the student's transcript. It is perfectly permissible for the instructor to require auditors to participate fully in course activities, including completing all assignments. Instructions for auditing a course at HKS can be found at this link.
For course registration purposes, National Security Fellows are given the same access to classes as degree program students (although they do not register online through SPARKS). National Security Fellows are senior officers in the US armed services who have had roughly 20 years of experience, and who come to HKS for a year of advanced study. Typically the group numbers 20 or more. National Security Fellows will not, however, appear on the class list. For additional information, call the Assistant Director of the program at (617) 496-4980.
For course registration purposes Lee Kuan Yew Fellows are also given the same access to classes as degree program students (LKY Fellows use SPARKS to register for classes). Named for the former Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, these midcareer officials from various Asian countries attend HKS classes during the spring semester. The LKY Fellows are candidates for the degree of Master in Public Management (MPM) at the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. The HKS component is part of that school's MPM curriculum. At HKS, the LKY Fellows Program is part of the school's Singapore Program. LKY Fellows are included on the Class Roster.