Options for Meeting Core Area Requirements

In order to satisfy an area requirement, students must pass with a letter grade a course approved for Core credit and listed in that area. Core courses and departmental courses approved for Core credit (Departmental Alternates) are listed in the relevant sections of Courses of Instruction 2009-2010. While Courses of Instruction is regularly updated, students should also consult the Core Program Website, my.harvard.edu/core, for the most recently approved Departmental Alternates. Note that all courses that count for the new Program in General Education will also count for Core requirements. These courses are listed with the Departmental Alternates.

Students should be aware that Departmental Alternates are not necessarily designed for a general audience. Such courses may assume prior experience or assume more than could be expected of students seeing the subject for the first time. As with Core courses, not all of these departmental courses are offered every year.

Students who would like to satisfy a Core requirement with an unapproved departmental course should contact the General Education Office for further information.

In addition to Departmental Alternates, students have three additional options for satisfying the Foreign Cultures requirement:

Core Requirement for Joint Concentrations; Change of Concentration

Joint concentrators who would like to have their Core exemptions specified should petition by the beginning of their seventh term, and ideally, as soon as their joint concentration has been approved. Those joint concentrators who choose not to petition will be assigned the exemptions of their primary field (the field listed first in their joint concentration).

Some students making late changes of concentration are able to have the Core requirement of the new field modified on the basis of significant departmental coursework completed in the previous field of study.

Any inquiry about or request for a modification of the Core requirement must be submitted in writing to the General Education Office.

Core Credit for Study Abroad

A student who earns one or two full terms (2.0 Harvard credits/term) of Harvard credit for an approved program of study abroad may reduce his or her Core requirement by one course for each full term of credit; however, a student may not omit more than one course in each of the following three clusters on the basis of study abroad:

A student who reduces his or her Core requirement by fewer than two courses may apply to satisfy the Foreign Cultures area on the basis of summer study abroad or a partial term of Harvard credit for study abroad in a non-Anglophone country.

Core Credit for Foreign Language Citations

Students completing the requirements for the Citation in Foreign Language in a modern language may satisfy the Foreign Cultures Core requirement with the citation alone. Students who complete the requirements for the citation in a classical language may satisfy the Foreign Cultures Core requirement by completing one additional course that places the citation language substantially in a modern context.

Students earning credits for a term or terms of study abroad for which they are also reducing their Core requirements may use a maximum of two courses from such a program towards the Foreign Language Citation alternate.

Students must present their approved Citation Plan and complete a form at the General Education Office to request Foreign Cultures credit for a Language Citation.

Core Requirement for Advanced Standing Students

Students who accept Advanced Standing will begin with the same Core requirement as all other students. The Core requirement will be reduced for Advanced Standing students in the following categories:

1. Students who complete their undergraduate program in fewer than eight terms must satisfy the following number of Core areas:

Advanced Standing students may not omit more than one area in each of the following three clusters on the basis of Advanced Standing:

2. Advanced Standing students who enroll in an AB/AM degree program and “bracket” eight courses for this graduate degree will have their Core requirement reduced by two areas. See page 45 for information on Advanced Standing.

Advanced Standing students who remain for eight terms and do not earn a graduate degree must complete the full Core requirement for their chosen field of concentration.

Core Requirement for Transfer Students

Students who entered Harvard College as sophomores or juniors, like those who enter as freshmen, are expected to devote almost one-quarter of their undergraduate coursework at Harvard to the Core Curriculum. The minimum number of Core areas from which courses must be chosen is specified upon entrance, as each student’s transfer credit is evaluated:

Transfer students who “accelerate” in order to complete their degrees in fewer terms than anticipated must nevertheless satisfy their Core requirement as originally specified upon entrance. Transfer students who opt to extend their undergraduate studies must complete one additional Core area for each additional term, with the exception that junior transfers who remain for a fifth term do not need to take a fifth Core course.

To ensure that each transfer student is introduced to the breadth of approaches to knowledge offered in the Core Curriculum, the Core requirement of each student is individually defined. Those areas designated as required are those Core areas most remote from the work to be done in the concentration and from the coursework already completed at the previous institution.

Minimum Core Requirement

No student may satisfy the Core requirement with fewer than four Harvard Core courses or Departmental Alternates by combining study abroad with their reduced Core requirements as a transfer or Advanced Standing student.