Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How old do I have to be to apply to Design Discovery?
A: Applicants must be at least 18 years old and must have a high school diploma or the equivalent. A high level of academic skill is necessary to take full advantage of our rigorous program.

Q: How do I submit my transcript(s)? Do I need to send an official copy with my application?
A: Transcripts should be submitted electronically through the online application. Applicants should scan a copy of their transcript(s) and upload these documents into the online application. During the application process, it is not necessary to send an official transcript.

Q: Does my transcript need to be official, or can I scan an unofficial version?
A: Scanned transcripts can be unofficial or official. If we need further information, we may ask for an official transcript to be sent to our office for review.

Q: I am having technical difficulties with the online application (such as uploading a transcript). What do I do?
A: Contact the Design Discovery office by emailing discovery@gsd.harvard.edu.

Q: I don’t have a background in design—can I apply?
A: Yes. Design Discovery is a program designed to introduce Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning & Design to those who have interest in the areas but have little to no experience with the disciplines.

Q: Can I apply for more than one concentration at the same time?
A: Participants of the program are exposed to all three concentrations through lectures, but your studio work will focus on only one chosen concentration. Participants have one week to switch concentrations once the program has begun.

Q: Do you teach design thinking?
A: That is exactly what we teach. The program is as much about the ‘mindset’ as it is about the ‘toolset’ of designers. Many of our students have gone on to other disciplines, taking with them what is now called ‘design thinking’; the processes, mental habits, and methods of research and collaboration that are second-nature to designers which can be beneficially applied to all fields and areas of study.

Q: When are admissions decisions made?
A: Beginning in February, admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants will be notified of decisions by email. Only completed applications will be reviewed.

Q: Where do most students live? Are there dorms?
A: A good portion of participants live on campus in dormitories provided by the Harvard Law School. Others live within walking distance of the school.

Q: What kind of computer resources are there?
A: Participants are given access to the computer labs in Gund Hall. They also have access to all programs on the GSD network. We recommend that you bring a laptop. Wireless internet is available in Gund Hall as well as in the dormitories.

Q. After completing the program, how do I request a Design Discovery transcript?
A: Fill out the form on the Evaluation and Certificate page.

Q: Can I be removed from your program’s mailing list?
A: Email a request to unsubscribe from our mailing list with your name and address as it appears on the mailing label to discovery@gsd.harvard.edu.