Harvard Kennedy School’s course registration process consists of four phases:

  • Registration Round I
  • A single round of bidding for oversubscribed courses
  • Registration Round II
  • An online add/drop and cross-registration petitioning period

The HKS Office of the Registrar emails faculty members each semester to outline the specific relevant dates and encourage them to contact the registrar with registration-related questions.

Harvard Kennedy School courses are open to:

  • Students who have matriculated in one of our degree programs
  • Harvard University staff who qualify
  • Students enrolled in any Harvard school or college 
  • Eligible students from MIT and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

Cross-registrants and Harvard University staff do not participate in the HKS registration steps listed below. Tuition Assistance Plan (TAP)-eligible Harvard employees—both degree and non-degree seeking—who want to register into HKS courses must submit a new TAP registration form, print out the completed form, get the signatures of the instructor as well as the employee's work supervisor or HR contact, and submit the form to the HKS Office of the Registrar.

Cross-registrants from Harvard and Fletcher submit petitions to faculty members through my.harvard. MIT cross-registrants submit petitions through the MIT portal, and Fletcher students must first complete an online application found on the course catalog before they can submit a petition prior to every semester. Others who are interested in HKS classes may audit the class with faculty permission. 


The Four Phases of Registration

Registration Round I

Students log on to my.harvard for Registration Round I and may request up to 20 credits they would like to take. Cross-registered credits and Reading and Research credits are counted in this total. They may change their selections at any time during Registration Round I and later during Registration Round II.


Students who have selected an oversubscribed class during Registration Round I will receive an email from the HKS Office of the Registrar about 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 anticipated graduation year and program.

Registration Round II

After the bidding period, Registration Round II opens in my.harvard to allow students to revise their schedules. Registration Round II is first come, first served. Students are advised to check the course capacities for these classes often to determine space availability.

Add/Drop and Cross-Registration

After registration closes, add/drop and cross-registration begin.

At this time, HKS students may revise their schedules in my.harvard. Harvard cross-registrants and Fletcher students will submit their online registration requests through my.harvard. MIT students will use their own MIT portal. HKS student and cross-registrant registration requests will appear in my.harvard for faculty members to review and approve. Faculty members have the discretion to choose students according to their own priority order during the HKS add/drop and cross-registration period.


Jointly Offered Courses

A jointly offered course carries 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 faculty members about how many places to allocate for HKS students and for students registered under the non-HKS number.


January Classes

Enrollment in January classes takes place in October. The process is the same as in the fall and spring terms. Details about specific courses and registration dates are available during the fall term.


Class Lists for HKS Courses

Class lists (rosters) are generated by the HKS Office of the Registrar and may be accessed on my.harvard by faculty members and their staff assistants. The list includes all students who are formally enrolled in the class, including cross-registrants. Auditors and fellows do not appear on the roster. During registration, rosters change regularly as students adjust their schedules.


Class Rosters for Jointly Offered Courses

If a course is jointly offered with another school, the instructor will receive a separate roster of students registered under the other school's number from its registrar. For example, DPI-115 is jointly listed as Govt. 1540. The faculty member receives one class roster from the HKS Office of the Registrar for all students (including cross-registrants) enrolled under DPI-115, and a second class roster from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Registrar for all students, including a different set of cross-registrants, enrolled under Govt. 1540. Faculty members do not receive one fully integrated list of all students registered in the course under all numbers.

See HKS grading details for submitting the grade list or changing a grade.


Absent/Failure to Drop (ABS)

Absence from a final exam: To receive credit for an HKS course with a final examination, students must attend the exam unless they are excused prior to the time of the exam by the HKS Registrar’s Office for serious illness or family emergency; in this case, they also must inform their program director or the assistant dean for student services and programs of their expected absence. If students are not excused and fail to sit for the exam, they will receive an ABS (Absent) grade. This may be converted to a letter grade only if they provide medical documentation that they were suddenly seriously ill at the time of the exam. In that circumstance, or in the case of an excused absence, they will be required to take a make-up exam scheduled by the instructor. Failure to drop a course: Students who fail to submit a drop petition when dropping a course will receive an ABS grade. Students who receive an ABS or an E grade in two classes ordinarily will be required to withdraw without the possibility of readmission to the School.



It is the instructor’s decision on whether to accept auditors in a course. If, however, there are more students who want to take the course than available slots, auditors will not be accepted. Auditors do not formally enroll in classes. The HKS Office of the Registrar keeps no records of any kind of auditing or auditors, and their names do not appear on class rosters or grade sheets.

An audited course is not recorded on a student's transcript. Instructors may require auditors to participate fully in course activities, including completing all assignments.

Learn about how to audit a course at HKS.


National Security Fellows

For course registration purposes, National Security Fellows are given the same access to classes as degree program students. They enroll in and bid on classes through my.harvard. National Security Fellows are senior officers in the U.S. armed services with about 20 years of experience who come to HKS for a year of advanced study. Typically, the group numbers 20 or more.

National Security Fellows are included on the class roster, but they do not receive grades for any coursework.


National Security Fellows
Learn more about the program, its curriculum, and how to apply.