Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University

Frequently Asked Questions About the Advanced Leadership Initiative

    • What is the curriculum?
      While the A.L. Fellowship is largely a self-guided journey of inquiry and discovery, Fellows participate in a unique core curriculum.  The A.L. Fellowship is designed to provide each Fellow with the opportunity to customize their year as they advance a social impact project.

    • Is there a course or courses that all Fellows will be required to take?
      There is a curriculum especially designed for Advanced Leadership Fellows consisting of an Introduction to Harvard, Think Tanks, a Global Conference or Field Immersion experience, and the Spring Semester Core Course.

    • Can I audit classes?
      Many areas of the University may be available for course audits. With faculty approval, A.L. Fellows audit up to two courses during the year. Course audits are currently not available in the Harvard Extension School, first year (or required) MBA or Medical School courses, or Executive Education programs.

    • How many days per week am I expected to be in residence at Harvard?
      To fully benefit from the program and contribute to their cohort, Fellows are required to be in residence at least 3 days a week during the first semester (from late January through mid-May).

    • Will Advanced Leadership Partners have the same access to program activities?
      Partners are invited to attend all Advanced Leadership Initiative sponsored events such as organized dinners, Think Tanks, and the Core Course. Advanced Leadership Partners may also audit an available course, with the instructor's permission. Advanced Leadership Partners do not present a project, however, many have collaborated with their accompanying  A.L. Fellow in advancing his or her work.

    • Will Fellows engage with students?
      Fellows frequently lead study groups and connect with students with shared interests or through class projects. These activities provide opportunities for students to learn from Fellows and assist in the advancement of their social impact projects.

    • What will happen when I finish the ALI Fellowship?
      Completion of the program involves development of a written analysis and action plan for intervention in the chosen societal problem area. This may include Fellows' "business plans" for their next steps and the impact they expect to make during the next stage of their careers. Previous projects have included creation of a social venture or foundation, authoring a book or other form of thought leadership, or transforming an existing mission-driven institution.

    • Does Harvard provide housing while I am a Fellow?
      Following the invitation to join the A.L. Fellowship, the ALI staff connect Fellows with Harvard Real Estate Services as well as private real estate offices that have worked closely with previous Fellows to help them find appropriate housing. Given the flexible nature of the Fellowship year, some A.L. Fellows arrange extended stay arrangements with nearby campus hotels. The cost of housing and living expenses will be borne by the Fellow.

    • Will there be parking available for Fellows?
      For Fellows who may be commuting during periods of their Fellowship, the Advanced Leadership Initiative will provide information on parking options. The cost of parking will be paid by the Fellow.

    • Will I have a Harvard ID card?
      Fellows will be provided with a Harvard identification card needed  to access the ALI office, libraries, and many of the resources of the Harvard community.  Advanced Leadership Partners will be provided with a Harvard-affiliated ID, as well.

    • Will I be able to access Harvard facilities such as libraries and gymnasiums as a Fellow?
      With your Harvard ID, you will be permitted to access various Harvard athletic facilities. There may be separate fees for the use of certain facilities.

    • What if I do not know precisely what my area of interest may be?
      Fellows are not expected to have a fully developed  idea of their post-Fellowship project when they enter the program. Through their coursework, Think Tanks, and Core Course, Fellows define and develop their post- Fellowship project. During their second (Autumn) semester, A.L.  Fellows are focused on advancing these project plans.

    • What is required to be considered for an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellowship?
      Candidates for the Fellowship are asked to submit the required initial information at the "Introduce Yourself" section of the ALI website. Please attach a current CV, as well. The Selection Process for Advanced Leadership Fellows is detailed in the "Selection Process" section.
    • When will decisions be made?
      The Faculty Selection Committee begins to notify candidates in several Decision Rounds, beginning in late May, with most decisions made by late August or early September. Each Decision Round, a small group of Finalists are considered by the Faculty Selection Committee. Finalists have earlier confirmed their ability to accept, fund, and join the AL Fellowship. Program costs for the A.L. Fellowship are comparable to a year of graduate study in a peer institution. The timing of the selection process provides invited Fellows with the time needed to prepare to join us at Harvard the following January.

    • When is the introductory weekend?
      The two and a half day "Introduction to Harvard" is typically held in early December preceding the start of Spring Semester classes which begin the following January.

    • Are there fees outside of the Fellowship program fee that I will be responsible for?
      Fellows will be responsible for the cost of any books or materials related to their specific course audits and any school or service-related fees such as parking. Fellows also pay the transportation and housing expenses associated with the Field Immersion or Global Conference.

If you have any further questions, please contact the Advanced Leadership Initiative Office.