Description: Visiting Faculty

A visiting appointment is a short-term, non-tenure-track teaching position that is held by an individual who ordinarily continues to hold a tenure-track or tenured position at another academic institution. It is ordinarily expected that visiting faculty members, if paid by Harvard, will be on unpaid leave from their home institutions. In rare instances of significant curricular need, however, faculty members from Boston-area institutions may be appointed as visitors in the FAS, even when they continue to teach full-time at their home institution. In such cases, it is expected that the faculty members will have gained approval from the relevant administrative units at their home institutions in advance. Departments or degree committees may make such appointments as a short-term measure to help meet the curricular needs of the appointing unit in a given term or year. Visiting faculty may serve as course heads for courses that would otherwise be taught by tenure-track or tenured faculty.

When appointing visitors, departments are expected to give priority to scholars who are at the early stages of their careers. The titles for visiting faculty members will be at the same ranks as the tenure-track or tenured positions they hold at their home institutions. Individuals holding non-ladder faculty ranks or those visiting from non-academic institutions (e.g., a research institute) are ordinarily appointed as visiting lecturers. All questions about appropriate titles for visitors should be referred to the Office for Faculty Affairs before an invitation is extended.

Visiting appointments are annual, ordinarily limited to a maximum of three years within a ten-year period, whether full- or part-time. The three years need not be consecutive. The title is held only for the term in which the visiting faculty member is teaching.

Note: Members of the FAS and University community are expected to familiarize themselves with, and conform to, Harvard policies on teaching, research, and service, as appropriate to their position. Please see Chapter 2, “FAS and University Policies,” for more information.

In keeping with Harvard University’s Intellectual Property policies ( and other research policies, visitors (individuals for whom Harvard is not their primary affiliation) must submit an electronic PDF of a signed hard copy of one of three Harvard University Visitor Participation Agreements ( by the start of their appointment. Note: Visitors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) are not required to submit a VPA form, with the exception of M.I.T. undergraduates, who must submit a VPA form.

If working in one of Harvard’s laboratories, and if not receiving any form of payment from Harvard, visitors should also submit an electronic PDF of a signed hard copy of the Acknowledgement of Risk and Release for Non-Harvard Personnel Using Harvard Research and Instructional Laboratory Facilities form by the start of their appointment.