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Academic Environment

Be Inspired by the People and Ideas Surrounding You

An education at Harvard has limitless possibilities. Our thousands of diverse courses, taught by esteemed faculty members and augmented by Harvard’s unparalleled libraries and resources, will take you as far as your imagination allows.

Extend your learning with courses at Harvard’s graduate schools. Conduct research as early as your freshman year, and even in the summer. Collaborate with peers at the Innovation Lab. Explore the full range of Harvard’s curriculum while enjoying a rich social and extracurricular life.

Our academic advisers help you choose your path and provide the resources to get you where you want to go:

  • Small classes, with a median class size of 12
  • More than 130 freshman seminars
  • World-class laboratories, libraries, museums, and research centers
  • Study abroad programs with full need-based financial aid
  • Cross-registration at most of Harvard’s 10 graduate schools
  • Cutting-edge research opportunities available year-round with extensive research funding
  • A Program in General Education that prepares you for the future
  • An Office of Career Services that provides advice and support for summer and post-graduate opportunities of all kinds

Freshman year

In your first year of study and throughout your Harvard education, making choices will be part of the learning process. There is no predetermined course of study, so you will select from a wide range of offerings to devise your own academic path.

Many choose to enroll in one of 130 Freshman Seminars. Designed for 15 or fewer students and led by one or even two faculty members, seminars provide an excellent opportunity for close, personalized instruction.

At the beginning of each semester, you will participate in the Shopping Week, when students sample as many classes as possible before deciding which ones to take. Few colleges devote such attention to course selection. We want our students to choose wisely and well.

Fields of Study

Your education at Harvard will focus on a particular field of study, called a concentration. You may choose from more than 49 concentrations, many of which are interdisciplinary, or you can work with your adviser to fashion your own special concentration. Some students also choose one of our 45 secondary fields to complement their education.

Your path and pace are up to you. Whatever your goals, we work with you to make sure your coursework is intellectually fulfilling while providing you with the skills you need to achieve your future goals and career.  

Recent graduates have found their Harvard education successfully prepares them for their next steps, whether that is attending graduate or professional schools, securing employment in fields of their choice, or pursuing public service opportunities, fellowships, and internships.

The Program in General Education

While your primary concentration will comprise approximately half of your course load, another quarter will be devoted to the Program in General Education. This flexible curriculum ensures your education encompasses a broad range of topics. With an emphasis on topics with real-world applications, the program aims to make our students more informed citizens.

Choose from more than 450 General Education classes to complete one course in each of the following eight areas:

  • Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding
  • Culture and Belief
  • Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Science of Living Systems
  • Science of the Physical Universe
  • Societies of the World
  • United States in the World

Study abroad

You may choose to incorporate international study into your education, spending a summer, a semester, or even a full year abroad. We help with funding and offer a variety of options, such as study at a foreign university, humanitarian relief efforts, and pre-professional internships.

 

Facts About Financial Aid

$0

Amount that parents making less than $65,000 are expected to contribute.

Ninety percent of American families would pay the same or less to send their children to Harvard as they would a state school.

VISIT HARVARD

John Harvard Statue in front of University Hall

Stroll through Harvard Yard, ask Admissions staff all your questions, and feel the warmth of the Harvard community. See tour dates and times.