Established in 1920, the Harvard Graduate School of Education was the first Harvard graduate school to enroll women in a degree-granting program at Harvard University. In 1922, Lorna M. Hodgkinson became the first woman to earn HGSE’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree. Her dissertation was entitled A State Program for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Atypical children in Public School Systems and was the first earned doctorate by a female student.
In 1963, more than twenty-five women became the first female candidates to receive the Ph.D. degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to 1963, women candidates for the Ph.D. were registered through and received their degrees from Radcliffe College (then an institution for women independently chartered but still closely connected to academic life at Harvard University) .In fact, the first Ph.D. degrees had been awarded at Radcliffe College as early as 1902 and the Radcliffe Graduate School was formally established in 1934. The Radcliffe Graduate School closed in 1963 after Harvard’s GSAS began admitting women.
For further information about the first women graduates at Harvard, please see A Century to Celebrate: Radcliffe College, 1879-1979 and other published sources listed on the Harvard/Radcliffe Online Historical Reference Shelf.