Program in General Education Policies

Statement of Principles

In all cases, these policies are designed to provide students with flexibility to pursue a variety of educational opportunities. In general, General Education requirements will be proportional to the number of terms a student spends in residence at Harvard. Students may not reduce their requirements by more than one category in specified clusters, thus maintaining breadth in their overall program. The Program in General Education has the right to approve or deny requests for exceptions.

Minimum General Education Requirement

In all cases, students must complete a minimum of four half-courses in General Education through regular coursework at Harvard College.

Advanced Standing

The General Education requirement for Advanced Standing students will be reduced by one course per term of Harvard College credit granted for Advanced Placement tests. No student may reduce his or her requirements by more than one category in the following groupings: (For example, no student will be excused from both “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding” and “Culture and Belief.”)

Transfer Students

The General Education requirement for transfer students will be reduced by one course per term of Harvard College credit granted for prior coursework, up to four courses. Students staying at Harvard for an “extra transfer term” must take an additional General Education requirement. No student may reduce his or her requirements by more than one category in the following groupings: (For example, no student will be excused from both “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding” and “Culture and Belief.”)

NOTE: Transfer students admitted prior to September 2009 may not switch from Core to General Education requirements.

Study Abroad During Term Time

The General Education requirement will be reduced by one course per term of Harvard College credit earned for study abroad during term time. No student may reduce his or her requirements by more than one category in the following groupings: (For example, no student will be excused from both “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding” and “Culture and Belief.”)

Summer School

Designated Harvard Summer School courses may count for General Education. Ordinarily, courses count if they are identical to courses that receive General Education credit during the academic year and are taught by the same Harvard faculty members who teach them during the academic year (or by a member of the same department). Other courses may count, as determined by the Committee on General Education. Harvard Summer Study Abroad courses will be subject to the same rules.

Foreign Language Citation

Unlike the Core Curriculum, completion of the Foreign Language Citation does not fulfill a requirement for General Education. However, individual courses with a General Education designation may count for both the language citation and satisfy a General Education requirement. For questions, students should contact the General Education Office, Fourth Floor, Holyoke Center, 617-495-3022, gened@fas.harvard.edu.