Students considering applying for a Special Concentration are welcome to (and should!) make an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies well in advance of application deadlines to discuss their academic goals, concentration ideas, and the application process. Formulating a statement of purpose, meeting and talking with potential faculty advisers, and constructing a concentration curriculum take time; starting early mitigates inevitable roadblocks. Students who have been admitted to Special Concentrations have often spent several months preparing their application. The following tasks take time!
- Formulating the intellectual rationale for an independent field of study;
- Demonstrating that the Special Concentration is a liberal-arts undergraduate program of study (rather than a pre-professional graduate one);
- Showing that the plan cannot be accomplished within existing structures for concentrations, joint concentrations, and secondary fields;
- Finding a committed faculty adviser willing to direct and advise the student’s independent program of study until he or she graduates;
- Crafting a thoughtful curriculum to support the intellectual goals of the concentration;
- Locating tutors for junior and senior tutorials;
- Identifying and making appointments with other faculty around Harvard who can provide guidance and suggestions.
For more detailed on-line information about the academic requirements for a Special Concentration, and to download an application form, go to Academics on the webpage. Although the application form is quite lengthy, each part of it connects to its centerpiece: the Statement of Purpose. Again, having a conversation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies early on in the process is to students’ great advantage.