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Graduation Requirements

students at Commencement

Components of Your Degree

Your Harvard education is made up of three main components: your concentration, general education, and a distribution of electives. You must complete a total of 32 credits (semester-long courses). For detailed explanations of academic requirements, please consult the Handbook for Students.


Choose your concentration near the end of your third term in residence. There are currently 50 concentrations from which to choose, including several interdisciplinary programs. Most concentrations require between 12 and 14 credits, or around 40 percent of your overall program.

General Education and Distribution Requirements

The Program in General Education is transitioning to one that will require four courses in four different perspectives.  You must also complete a required course in Expository Writing during your first year, as well as fulfill a language requirement before the beginning of your third year.  In addition, starting in Fall 2019, students will be required to complete a course in Quantitative Reasoning and to take three departmental courses distributed across the three main divisions of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences:  Arts and Humanities, Social Science, and Science and Engineering and Applied Sciences.  

General Education, Expository Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, and the language requirement combined will require 10 to 12 courses, or around 30 percent of your overall program.


The number of elective courses in your program (which can include your departmental distribution courses) will depend on a number of factors, including your concentration and whether or not you pursue an honors degree.


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