Harvard Terms and Acronyms

Students eating in dining hall

Learning the Harvard Lingo

When one first begins their journey at Harvard College, it can often feel as though students, faculty, and staff are speaking in their own unique lingo. With the many acronyms, terms, and general lingo that are specific only to the Harvard experience, new students may feel confused about locations, offices, courses, activities, or resources available to them.

If you are having trouble deciphering all of the Harvard acronyms and abbreviations, you are not alone. In the guide below, find all of the common abbreviations heard around the Yard, as well as links to any locations or resources.

A group of people eat a meal together while in a meeting.

Offices and Locations

Have a class being held in WJH? A professor recommends that you check out the ARC? Your friends say they are going to a virtual event organized by the SOCH?

Many offices and locations around campus are abbreviated for simplification. See below a list of acronyms for the many places around campus, with links to their respective websites and details, so you will never be wondering where you need to be next.


Offices and Locations

two students in a classroom
Liz Linder


Maybe a friend recommends a course in the MCB department, and you aren't sure what MCB stands for. Maybe you receive an email from a TF, but don't know what TF means.

Many academic departments within the College are abbreviated for course registration purposes. See below a list of acronyms for some of the academic departments offered for students, as well as other academic terms such as a concentration, section, and more.


Six Harvard students with foam fingers cheering for Harvard-Yale football game

Student Organizations and Extracurriculars

The beginning of each semester is often overwhelmed with opportunities and invitations from student organizations and extracurriculars. If you are wondering what that email from the CEB means, or you aren't sure what WHRB stands for, see below for a list of acronyms related to student organizations and extracurriculars.

Organizations and Extracurriculars

Smith Campus Center

Health, Wellness, and Safety

The College's highest priority is maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of its students. For that reason, the College offers many different resources and support, both professional and peer support, in order to maintain community health and wellness.

If you are in need of support, there are many resources available to you. See below a list of some of the most commonly-abbreviated health resources, but also know that there are additional resources available to you on each of their respective websites.

A student walks through Harvard Yard at dusk

Campus Life

As you arrive on campus for your first year, you may have many questions. Who is a proctor? Is an entryway the same thing as a hall? What is FlyBy?

See below a list of terms that relate to Harvard's on-campus life, including terms related to the first-year residential experience.

Campus Life

A student and her mother carry a box into a dorm for first-year move-in day

First-Year Programs

As incoming first-year students approach the beginning of their College experience, there are many pre-orientation programs available to them. These programs allow first-year students to meet other students, learn about the College, and ask any questions they may have before arriving on campus.

See below a list of acronyms for all of the pre-orientation programs offered to incoming first-year students.

Two students studying in the library with laptops


At Harvard, there are many resources available to help students in their academic, residential, social, and extracurricular endeavors. Though we encourage students to take advantage of these resources, we understand that it may be difficult to utilize these tools if a student does not recognize an acronym or abbreviation.

See below a list of terms, acronyms, and abbreviations relating to resources. These resources include library tools, financial resources, technological support, student events databases, academic office hour spaces, and more.