Affiliation Distinctions

CMES hosts several different categories of visitors. Broadly speaking, those who wish to conduct independent research at Harvard (under the supervision of an appropriate Faculty Sponsor) are considered Visiting Researchers (VR). Those who wish to engage in coursework as a non-enrolled student may apply to be a Special Student under GSAS Non-Degree Programs.

There are separate application processes for VRs and Special Students. See the Application Process page on this website for more on the CMES VR application process. Application information for Special Students is found here.

Visiting Researchers at CMES are further divided into the following categories based on a number of professional distinctions.

Visiting Scholar

Typically, this category is for tenured or tenure-track faculty members from other institutions on paid leave who wish to conduct research at Harvard with one or more CMES faculty members. Individuals may hold this annual appointment for no less than three months and no more than two consecutive years, pending renewal by the CMES Steering Committee. Part-time appointments or non-consecutive appointments for a fraction of a year will ordinarily count as a one-year appointment in determining eligibility for renewal. The PhD degree is required.

Predoctoral Fellow

CMES offers a small number of these positions, which enable independent research with one or more CMES faculty members. This category is predominantly open to advanced doctoral students. Applicants with a PhD are not eligible for this category. Individuals may hold this annual appointment for no less than three months and no more than three consecutive years, pending renewal by the CMES Steering Committee. Part-time appointments or non-consecutive appointments for a fraction of a year will ordinarily count as a one-year appointment in determining eligibility for renewal.

Postdoctoral Fellow

This appointment enables research under the supervision of one or more Harvard faculty members. To hold an appointment at this rank, the candidate must have received a doctoral degree at the time of appointment. The candidate must have external funding that meets the salary minimum requirement of $50,000 per year. Personal funds may not be used (in full or in part) to meet this requirement. Ordinarily, the candidate will have earned a doctorate recently. The appointment is made for a minimum of three months and is not to exceed 12 months. Individuals may ordinarily serve in this category, whether full- or part-time, for a maximum of three years.

If you have questions about these categories, please contact Jesse Howell at cmes_vr@fas.harvard.edu.