Arts & Humanities Division

The thirty-three departments in the Arts and Humanities are dedicated to exploring every aspect of human culture, from literature, philosophy, and religion, to architecture, languages, and music. Whether want to practice law or medicine, start a business, or dedicate yourself to public service, a foundation in the arts and humanities gives you the insight and critical thinking skills to live a life of purpose, express yourself with ease, and appreciate your role in the world.

"Reading and writing – apparently simple tasks – play such a powerful role in the formation of a soul equally capable of invention, witness, transformation, and resistance."*

Outside the classroom, Harvard’s music, dance, and theater scene includes a mix of student-led and faculty-led groups. All groups perform at a variety of venues, and many take their productions on tour nationally and around the world.

The Office for the Arts (OFA) at Harvard oversees a thriving arts community and integrates the arts into university life. Through its programs and services, the OFA teaches and mentors, fosters student art making, connects you to accomplished artists, commissions new work, and collaborates with local, national, and international constituencies.

*Quote by: Jorie Graham, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory in the Dept. of English, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Spotlight on the Humanities Video

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Student playing guitar

Theater and Dance

Perform in any of more than sixty theatrical and dance productions each year, ranging from Broadway musicals and Shakespearean tragedies to experimental pieces and original student plays. Our facilities include concert halls, proscenium and black-box theaters, dance and recording studios, rehearsal spaces, and practice rooms.

Three students warming up on stage

Creative Expression

Theater, Dance, and Media - Harvard's newest concentration - is just one of the many pathways in the arts and humanities.

In the Theater, Dance & Media concentration, you can refine your craft, develop your own productions, and participate in professional departmental productions.

The Office for the Arts Dance Program offers noncredit classes in modern dance, ballet, jazz, tap, choreography, and improvisation. You can take choreography courses for credit, or join one of more than twenty dance companies.

Music

The Department of Music offers courses in music theory, composition, ethnomusicology, and performance, and our dual enrollment programs with the New England Conservatory and the Berklee College of Music enable you to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) and a Master of Music (M.M.) in just five years.

Join one of seven orchestras, two jazz bands, a marching band, a concert band, a gospel choir, a glee club, many a cappella groups, several jazz combos, or a madrigal vocal ensemble.

Harvard Art Museums

From the Harvard Art Museums—contained in Renzo Piano's stunning building that is itself a work of art—to the natural beauty of the Arnold Arboretum, art, history, science, and culture are always on display at Harvard’s many museums.

Museum Ceiling

Visual Arts

Our Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies offers instruction and workshops, as well as studios and exhibition spaces for painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture, ceramics, photography, and filmmaking. The department has a strong commitment to fostering dialogue among makers, critics, and theorists. Studying the visual arts within a liberal arts setting allows you to gain an understanding of the structure and meaning of the visual arts through both study and practice.

Arts Innovation

In addition to academic offerings in the arts, the University is expanding opportunities for artistic exploration with the new ArtLab, featuring spaces that allow faculty, students, and artists to collaborate across media and academic disciplines, bringing together Harvard, our growing Allston campus, and the surrounding community.