Policy Information

Credential Eligibility

Anyone with a Harvard University ID number (HUID) may request credentials for HarvardKey, but may or may not have access to any particular application. HarvardKey provides an authentication service only, not an authorization service. Authorization, or eligibility to use an application, is dependent upon the individual's status and affiliation within the University and with a particular application. Each application's owner is responsible for determining whether an affiliate is authorized to use the application.

Initial Assignment of Credentials

Initial assignment of credentials may be requested by registrars, department administrators, or application owners. Assignment may be based on the following:

  • A set of Harvard University ID numbers
  • Specification of existing criteria in the HUID database (e.g. school codes, HR department codes)

Registrars may request credentials in bulk for incoming students each semester.

Application owners may request credentials in bulk one time only, when an application is brought online.

Department administrators may request credentials in bulk one time only, when they become authorized to use an application protected by HarvardKey.

At some time in the future, it may be feasible to automatically assign credentials to all students and employees upon enrollment and employment. This will depend upon availability of protected applications open to students and employees in general.

Distribution of Initial Student Credentials

With the introduction of HarvardKey as the replacement for the previous PIN system, so-called "PIN letters" containing temporary passwords have been replaced by self-service account claim at key.harvard.edu. Students will need to supply their Harvard University ID (HUID), last name, and date of birth in order to claim a HarvardKey.

Distribution of Replacement Credentials

Under HarvardKey, users who have forgotten or need to reset their passwords may do so using the self-service portal at key.harvard.edu. Additional help is available by contacting ithelp@harvard.edu or 617-495-7777.

Application Requirements

Applications must support the missions of Harvard University and the various faculties. Applications with an academic, operational, or internal business function may all use Harvard authentication, as may applications developed by sanctioned student organizations with the approval of the Academic Dean of the affiliated faculty. Businesses or organizations outside Harvard University, including non-sanctioned student organizations, may not use Harvard authentication without the proper arrangements; for details, contact the Identity & Access Management Program at iam@harvard.edu.

If there is any question of whether a particular application may use Harvard University authentication services, IAM will consult with the Academic or Administrative Dean of the faculty involved, or with the Vice President of the central administrative unit involved.

To ensure that only legitimate applications use Harvard authentication services, each application owner must register their application(s) with the Identity & Access Management program.