Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who should sign my study card?

Your study card should be signed by both your Faculty Adviser and the Director of Studies for Special Concentrations. The same is true for any changes you make to your course selection, i.e. drops, adds or withdrawals.

2. What if I want to take courses not on my original Plan of Concentration?

You will need to discuss your planned change with your Faculty Adviser and have him/her signal approval of the change by initialing your updated Plan of Concentration which you submit each semester. You should also discuss the proposed change with the Director of Studies.

3. Who is responsible for the "conc" marks on my transcript?

The Director of Studies updates sophomore and junior records annually. Senior records are updated twice, once in November and once in March.

4. How can I arrange an independent study within Special Concentrations?

You can arrange to take a graded course of supervised reading and research, known as 91r, but the Director of Studies must approve the arrangement.

5. Can courses "double count" to meet both General Education and Special Concentrations credit?


6. How many and which courses may I take Pass/Fail?

None of your Special Concentrations requirements may be taken Pass/Fail.

7. Can I count a Freshman Seminar towards requirements in Special Concentrations?

Yes, with the permission of the Committee.

8. As a transfer from another college, can I receive any credit toward degree requirements in Special Concentrations for previous course work?

Yes, you will receive credit towards fulfillment of requirements for those courses which are (1) approved for Harvard credit by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and then (2) approved for Special Concentrations credit at the time you apply to the concentration. (The grades received for courses taken elsewhere do not contribute to a student's Special Concentrations grade average.)

9. If I am admitted to Special Concentrations as a junior, can I count sophomore or junior tutorials in another concentration?

Yes, if these tutorials are relevant to your Special Concentration.

10. Can I get credit for summer school courses?

For Harvard Summer School courses which are included in your Plan of Concentration, you can. For courses taken elsewhere, please see the Director of Studies.

11. What if I need an extra semester to complete requirements?

You should see your Allston Burr resident dean, who will explain the process for petitioning the Administrative Board for an extra semester.

12. Can I do a "creative" project for my senior thesis?

Yes. Special Concentrations is often the last refuge for students who are unable to fulfill their goals of a "creative" thesis in another department. Students considering a "creative" thesis should be able to demonstrate, however, that their thesis is solidly rooted in scholarship and is the culmination of a coherent, in-depth plan of study in their field.