Teaching Certificates

As with research, developing as a teacher involves learning, practicing, and reflecting on your process. GSAS PhD students who are interested in demonstrating their commitment to developing as teachers in higher education may pursue one of the Bok Center’s two teaching certificates. Our Certificates are designed to provide an opportunity for PhD students to structure their teaching development in community with peers. Click on the buttons below to view the details of each certificate:

Visit the Teaching Certificate Gallery to hear from recent Bok Teaching Certificate recipients about what they learned over the course of the program and to view the complete list of recipients of the Bok Teaching Certificate and the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture.

  • Teaching Certificate Gallery"Tools and Techniques for Leading Classroom Discussions invigorated my teaching, and I was able to learn more about how to construct effective lesson plans and how to better foster a generative and inquisitive classroom space."

    - Jewel Pereyra, American Studies, Teaching Certificate Recipient 2021–22

    Read more reflections in the Teaching Certificate Gallery

  • "I believe I have become a more self-reflective, flexible and sensitive teacher, better equipped to address the needs of my students, and more confident in my ability to adapt to those needs as they necessarily will change over time."

    - Elaine Fitz Gibbon, Music, Teaching Certificate Recipient 2022-23

    Read more reflections in the Teaching Certificate Gallery

  • "I learned practical skills, heard from experts in the field, got exposed to the literature in teaching, and refined my own techniques in terms of interacting with students and bringing them the best educational experience possible."

    -Charles Law, Astronomy, Teaching Certificate Recipient 2021–22


The Bok Teaching Certificate

GSAS PhD students may pursue a Bok Teaching Certificate through a variety of different avenues, depending on the pedagogical training offered in their respective departments and their own interests. Participants can join the Certificate program at any time, but we recommend that you begin early in your teaching, so that you have a chance to reflect on your teaching progress over time.

To complete the Certificate, participants must fulfill requirements in three areas:

Please plan ahead to make the most of each component of the Certificate. Completing the Bok Teaching Certificate typically takes at least 2 semesters and requires you to record a section while you are teaching at Harvard. Requirements may be completed in any order, and there is no deadline for completion. Certificates are awarded on a rolling basis.

Apply for the Certificate   |   Frequently Asked Questions


Take three seminars that cover a range of topics in pedagogy and classroom practice:

1. One seminar must cover core principles in pedagogy and classroom practice. This may be satisfied by either:

2. Take ANY two additional Bok Seminars.

Bok Seminars are organized into categories based on target audience and topic: Foundations, Methods & Classroom Practice, Equity & Inclusion, Communication & Language, and Professional Development (for experienced TFs). Candidates should be intentional in assembling meaningful electives that will allow them to tell a coherent story about their progress through the Certificate.


Complete a video consultation. Watching a video of your class with an experienced consultant will allow you to put yourself in the shoes of your students. What do you notice about your class when you take on the role of student or observer? What are other ways of approaching the course material or strategies to engage students?  Use these questions in conjunction with your teaching goals to guide your conversation with your consultant.

The video recording and consultation must be of a course or section you are teaching at Harvard. Having your section videotaped as part of a departmental pedagogy class fulfills this requirement. Please plan ahead to ensure you can meet this requirement.


Create three products that capture your critical reflections on teaching and learning:

  1. A teaching statement similar to one which might be included in a Teaching Portfolio.
  2. An original syllabus for a course you might propose to teach, whether at Harvard or at another university.

  3. A reflective piece of approximately 1000 words which integrates what you have learned from the experience of pursuing the teaching certificate. Candidates should write a reflective narrative on their trajectory through the certificate, incorporating any or all of the following: the connections (or disconnections) between the seminars they took, what the experience has meant to them, particularly noteworthy takeaways that they will use in their future teaching or scholarship, and ideas or suggestions to inform future iterations of the Bok Teaching Certificate.

In addition to the guidance offered by our Online Resources, several of our Bok Seminars also provide a workshop environment in which you may create and refine these materials.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to pursue the Bok Teaching Certificate?

Our certificates are limited to GSAS PhD students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.

2. Can I pursue the Bok Teaching Certificate if I’m a postdoctoral fellow?

If you are engaged in teaching undergraduates in Harvard College as a Teaching Fellow or Teaching Assistant, you may apply for the Bok Teaching Certificate. If you are teaching in Harvard College as a head instructor, preceptor, or lecturer, please refer to our resources for Harvard faculty.

3. Can I pursue both the Bok Teaching Certificate and the Bok Certificate in Teaching Language and Culture?

Participants should choose the certificate program most relevant to their disciplines and their goals for university teaching. If you would like to talk more about which program is the best fit for you and your goals, contact us at bokcenter@fas.harvard.edu.

4. Which Bok Seminars count toward the core pedagogy and classroom requirement?

Starting in Spring 2022, Bok Seminars that fulfill this requirement will be marked as *CORE on the Bok Seminars page. We offer at least one seminar that fulfills this requirement each term. Previous Bok Seminars that count toward the core requirement include:

  • Foundations of Teaching in STEM
  • Foundations of Teaching in the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Preparing to Teach: A Seminar for New TFs
  • How Am I Doing? Using Feedback to Improve Your Teaching
  • Problems and P-Sets: Creating and Teaching Questions in STEM
  • Tools and Techniques for Leading Classroom Discussions
  • Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs
  • Course Design: From Transparency to Transfer

5. Does attending the Fall Teaching Conference or Winter Teaching Week count toward the Bok Teaching Certificate?

No, attending sessions at the Fall Teaching Conference or Winter Teaching Week does not count toward the seminar requirement for the Bok Teaching Certificate.

Hit the Ground Running!

hands typing on laptop

Don’t miss our Hit the Ground Running resource site,which features self-study modules for new TFs on the fundamentals of teaching, as well as modules on equitable and inclusive teaching, responding to student writing, and teaching as an international scholar.