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Arts & Humanities

Explore the Arts and Humanities

No matter what your academic or professional goals may be, studying the arts and humanities can provide a new lens through which to explore and understand our world.

The Division of Arts and Humanities allows you to study the riches of the world’s languages, artifacts from the past, and new media from the digital age. Our 33 departments in the Arts and Humanities are dedicated to the interpretation of every aspect of human culture: from the study of literature to philosophy, religion, architecture, languages, and music. Here  you can explore all the ways in which people have sought to express, define and understand themselves and the world.

The study of the arts and humanities leads us to understand difference and communicate across boundaries, not only enriching our lives but enabling us to enrich the lives of others. Grasping the power of stories equips you to be an effective citizen and leader.  The center of any worthwhile effort - a political campaign, a charter school, a theater company - is a compelling story that can motivate and inspire others. From the great stories of the past and present, students in the arts and humanities learn about themselves and about their world, while also learning how to tell the stories of our future -and through telling bring about.

Explore the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and sample courses in art, film, and environmental studies, or focus on the arts as your concentration. The Department of Music offers courses in music theory, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance, and our dual enrollment program with the New England Conservatory and the Berklee School of College of Music enable you to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) and a Master of Music (M.M.) in just five years. In Harvard’s newest concentration, Theater, Dance & Media, you can refine your craft, develop your own productions, and participate in professional departmental productions.

A Community of Artists

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. By supporting your development as an artist and cultural steward, the OFA works to enrich society and shape communities in which the arts are a vital part of life. Whether you want to sing, dance, act, create music, paint, or make ceramics, you can find a home in one of our many arts-focused organizations. If you’re an artist—of sight, sound, or movement (or perhaps all three)—you can flourish here.

Performing arts

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.

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.

Perform in any of more than 60 drama and dance productions each year, ranging from Broadway musicals and Shakespearean tragedies to experimental pieces and original student plays. You may also participate in the Common Spaces program, which encourages community-building performances in Harvard Yard.

Our facilities include concert halls, proscenium and black-box theaters, dance and recording studios, rehearsal spaces, and practice rooms.

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 over 20 student dance companies. Watch past performances on the Harvard Dance Youtube Channel.

Visual arts

Enjoy the visual arts as an extracurricular endeavor or as a concentration through our Department of Visual and Environmental Studies. We offer instruction and workshops, as well as studios and exhibition spaces for painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and filmmaking.

In addition to academic offerings in the arts, the University is expanding opportunities for artistic exploration with the new ArtLab, located across the Charles River in Allston. The ArtLab will feature spaces that allow faculty, students, and artists to cross media and academic boundaries to explore possibilities in sensory experience and social cognition. The lab will also host exhibitions and performances, bringing together Harvard, its growing Allston campus, and the community. The ArtLab is expected to open in 2019. Read more about it here.

Facts About Financial Aid


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.


John Harvard Statue in front of University Hall

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