Read this website thoroughly! Then, attend an information session, or visit office hours to talk through your ideas with our staff. Talk to faculty, tutors, and TFs from courses that you liked, and who have some expertise in your proposed field. Tell them what you are interested in, ask if they think it can be done in an existing program, and ask them who else to talk with. Talk to Directors of Undergraduate Studies in departments that might work with your interests. Tell them what you are interested in, ask if they think it can be done in an existing program, and ask them who else to talk with. Make a list of courses that you want to take over your four years at Harvard, and see if they fall into a particular program or not. Start writing your statement of purpose, but continually revise it as you gather more information. Share this with faculty, tutors, and TFs. Work on your “elevator pitch:” you have one minute to tell someone what you study at Harvard, what do you say? Be prepared to find out that your course of study might just work in an existing concentration or joint concentration, a combination of concentration and secondary field, or a path of research including departmental tutorials and senior thesis.
Your courses should be reviewed and approved 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. You will be asked to confirm your plan of study each semester. The Director of Studies for Special Concentrations will lift the advising hold on your study card.
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 Study which you submit each semester. You should also confirm the proposed change with the Director of Studies.
The Director of Studies updates sophomore and junior records annually. Senior records are updated twice, once in November and once in March.
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.
None of your Special Concentrations requirements may be taken Pass/Fail.
Yes, with the permission of the Committee as part of your overall plan of study.
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.)
For Harvard Summer School courses which are included in your Plan of Study, you can. For courses taken elsewhere, please see the Director of Studies.
You should see your Allston Burr Resident Dean, who will explain the process for petitioning the Administrative Board for an extra semester.
Yes. Special Concentrations is often the landing place 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. The Faculty Adviser or Thesis Adviser (may or may not be the same individual) will be the arbiter of what constitutes a sufficient thesis.