Harris hurt the thumb in mid-November and originally was told surgery wasn't necessary. He hurt the thumb again before Miami's loss in the Champs Sports Bowl, and further evaluation this week showed repair was needed.
Spring practice begins in late February. No decision has been made about his availability for those workouts.
Harris threw for 3,352 yards and 24 touchdowns this season for Miami, which finished 9-4.
The Hurricanes announced Tuesday that Harris would have the surgery.