Harvard and MIT Launch New Online Cross-Registration System

Harvard students hoping to cross-register at MIT will encounter a simpler, online-only process starting Tuesday, according to information made available on the MIT Registrar’s website.

Previously, Harvard students hoping to take classes at MIT had to go through a bevy of logistical hurdles before they could register for courses at the nearby university. Tiffany H. Song ’16 described the process as “inefficient.”

The old process required students to obtain signatures from registrars of both schools as well as relevant faculty members and advisers.

“It was a little bit time-consuming,” Anita K. Lo ’16, who cross-registered last spring, said of the old process. “Cross-registration took place in person, so I had to get a form and take one to [Harvard’s] registrar and then also go to MIT’s registrar.”

The new application, which will be conducted entirely online, was designed to fix just these sorts of inefficiencies, according to Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar Michael P. Burke.

“It started over a breakfast conversation with the MIT registrar,” Burke said of the move to bring the application online. Harvard’s cross-registration system for students between its own schools was already an online-only process when Burke and MIT Registrar Mary Callahan began discussions to change the process for Harvard students to study at MIT more than a year ago.

“MIT [provides] their course catalog so we [can] load it into our University course catalog, and then we... provide data back to them with what courses our students are selecting,” Burke said of the new system. “Both universities have been working on this for quite a while.”

Christopher D. Rodowicz ’18, who plans to cross-register at MIT this term, said he was pleased with the planned change.

“It seems pretty simple—you can just search classes by all the schools at Harvard and MIT and pick the ones you’re interested in,” said Rodowicz. “The MIT registrar approves it online, the Harvard registrar, and the professors, and our advisers all approve it online.”

Harvard and MIT administrators say they are satisfied with the cooperation between the two schools.

"I am very pleased that MIT and Harvard have collaborated so well in this trailblazing effort,” Callahan said in an emailed statement. “The time Harvard students will save is invaluable and the MIT faculty will benefit from receiving more immediate class list information.”

According to Burke, such cooperation in simplifying the process of cross-registering may expand to other schools with which Harvard has cross-registration relationships. Currently, Harvard allows students from some graduate schools to cross-register with Brown University and Tufts University’s Fletcher School.

“We want to see how it goes with MIT this semester as an initial stage, and we have already spoken with those other schools about the possibility of coming in,” Burke said. “We’re not making any commitment at this point, but we want to see how it goes with MIT.”

—Crimson staff writer Jonathan G. Adler can be reached at jonathan.adler@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanGAdler.

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