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Leadership & Service

Working Together to Build Thriving Communities

Giving back to communities and serving actively in government are ideals that are fundamental to Harvard’s mission. In addition to concentrations in fields like government and public policy, you will also find a wide range of extracurricular activities and events designed to help you connect with your community, make a difference, and learn to lead.

Whether you have political aspirations, seek a career in nonprofit or non-governmental work, or simply enjoy service for the sake of service, we have activities and organizations that will support your goals and serve your community. You also have access to a variety of funding sources to support your public service and leadership endeavors.

Learn political leadership

The Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School gives you opportunities to serve your community, connect with political leaders, and pursue leadership positions through student government.

As a student at Harvard, you have immediate access to the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, one of the world’s premier arenas for political speech, discussion, and debate. The Institute also runs a resident fellows program, offering a unique opportunity for renowned political practitioners with diverse experiences and viewpoints to spend semesters at Harvard.

The IOP is also home to: 

  • Paid summer internships
  • A nonpartisan, quarterly journal written and run entirely by undergraduates
  • A women’s leadership initiative
  • A unique, nationwide survey of youth attitudes toward politics and public service, involving Harvard students in all aspects of the project

Serve your community

Join the many students who give back to Harvard and the surrounding communities through a variety of public service programs.

Many programs are coordinated by the Phillips Brooks House Association and the College Public Service Network, and students direct more than 120 service programs in and around the Greater Boston area. Some of your options include mentoring local youth, literacy tutoring for local adults, working on environmental sustainability issues, and running a local homeless shelter.

Become a Presidential Public Service Fellow

For those dedicated to community initiatives, Harvard offers a Presidential Public Service Fellowship, which supports students who choose to spend a summer doing government, community service, non-governmental organization, or non-profit work, or who develop their own innovative projects that serve the common good.

These fellowships are ideal if you have a strong commitment to public service, a demonstrated leadership record, and service-related career or educational goals.



Facts About Financial Aid


Amount that parents making less than $65,000 are expected to contribute.

Ninety percent of American families would pay the same or less to send their children to Harvard as they would a state school.


John Harvard Statue in front of University Hall

Stroll through Harvard Yard, ask Admissions staff all your questions, and feel the warmth of the Harvard community. See tour dates and times.


Get step-by-step tips for completing your application.