Before I begin, feel I should make it clear that I have no doubt that undertaking a PhD. anywhere, let alone at Harvard, will be a difficult and strenuous task!
To briefly explain, I have graduated with a good Bachelors of Arts from the UK, and am set to do my Research Masters in Holland. However, I have been in contact and have contacted the literature faculties in Harvard, who have been very encouraging but, to be honest, the system itself seems very different.
To clarify, I'll copy in some of what my (possible) supervisor has emailed me:
Our students enter the program, take two or three years of courses, and only then settle on a dissertation topic and choose a committee of three faculty -- one primary advisor and two other readers.
This sounds at once much more fluid and liberal a way of doing things, but, considering the ridiculous costs of studying in the USA, I'm not sure how leisurely that would be in reality! Should I assume that Doctoral programs in the USA are like a Masters leading into a PhD? Is there a scholarship available for both of these? Has anyone reading this had any experience on the matter, and can relate more clearly how this process works, and whether exceptions are every possible?