The Harvard University PIN system is an authentication system used used by multiple Harvard-affiliated websites and web applications to provide a secure means for Harvard users to access online resources. One of the benefits of the PIN system is that it allows you to access many different systems using a single ID and password.
Yes. Because Harvard's PIN system originally used a "short PIN" instead of a true password or passphrase, you may occasionally hear people say "PIN" when referring to the password/passphrase now used in conjunction with your HUID number or other PIN system login type. A password may take different forms, such as a random group of characters, a memorable but not plain-English string of letters and numbers, or even an entire phrase.
The PIN system website exists to provide information about how to create and manage a PIN, basic advice about internet security, and resources for website developers wishing to use the PIN system for authentication in their sites or applications. The PIN website is also where you go to request a new PIN or change your existing one.
Many online resources within the Harvard community require verification of your identity before granting you access. By supplying a login ID and a password that match, you can verify, or authenticate, your identity. To reduce the number of login IDs and passwords that users need to remember, many Harvard systems use the PIN system to authenticate users.
Your PIN will not automatically expire when you leave Harvard. However, after you leave, if you forget or disable your PIN, it may be difficult to obtain a new PIN. Harvard University does not always maintain address and email records of individuals who leave. Because personal contact information quickly becomes outdated, to continue using PIN-protected resources after you leave, make sure that your contact information is up to date before you go.
The Harvard University PIN system, and the systems, data, and other resources that require PIN authentication for access, are only for legitimate Harvard University users. Use may be monitored, and improper use of the PIN system or those resources may result in disciplinary action and civil and criminal charges.
Once you're there, note that the most efficient means of obtaining a PIN is through email notification and activation; using this method means your activation email will be sent immediately. However, be sure that you check for that email at the same address that is registered with Harvard University; if you're unsure of the email address you have on file with Harvard, check all your active email addresses for notification of PIN-related messages.
Alternatively, you can obtain a PIN by mail. Mail notification may take 3-10 business days for processing. When you receive your PIN letter in the mail, follow the instructions provided to complete the process.
A third option is to request a temporary PIN letter in person. See the Campus Services website for more information.
Please note that PIN letters sent by postal mail or received in person contain temporary PINs with an expiration date. Be sure to follow the directions for resetting your temporary PIN as soon as you receive your letter to avoid having to repeat the process.