Classes of 2017 & 2018

new set of requirements for Harvard College students will take effect in Fall 2018. While most students in the Classes of 2017 and 2018 will graduate before the new requirements take effect, students may benefit from the spirit of the new program through greater flexibility in how they can fulfill the current Gen Ed requirements.

Students who graduate in or before 2018 must fulfill the current Gen Ed requirements.  However, to ensure that students can benefit from the spirit of the new program now, students will be given expanded flexibility in meeting their requirements during the period prior to the new program launch in Fall 2018.  Please see Key Information below to learn more.

Before the start of each term, the General Education office will review each student’s record and update it to reflect the new flexibility.  If a student record has been changed, it meant Gen Ed could find additional courses that could be used to fulfill Gen Ed requirements.  If a student record has not changed, this means that the student has already completed the Gen Ed requirements, or that no existing courses could be used toward the Gen Ed requirements.  Students should access their Academic Advising Report via my.harvard.edu before the start of classes to confirm which requirements are still outstanding.  Students may have fewer requirements left to fulfill than expected.  (Click here for instructions on how to generate your report.)

Key Information

  • Many departmental courses not approved for Gen Ed credit can now count for current Gen Ed requirements.  Please note the following: 
    • Only four-unit FAS courses taken for a letter grade can count toward Gen Ed requirements.
    • Courses in Expository Writing, language below the advanced level, and Freshman Seminars will not count toward any of the current Gen Ed requirements.   Please note that not all advanced language courses can count toward Gen Ed requirements: they must engage primarily in critical inquiry to count.  If you wish to determine if a particular advanced language course can count, please contact us with the course syllabus to request confirmation.    
    • In certain paired Gen Ed categories (AI/CBSLS/SPU, SW/USW), a second course in the same category or in its pair will meet the Gen Ed requirements for the entire pair, or you may receive credit for a departmental course not previously approved for Gen Ed credit for one category per pair.  In order to receive this credit, you must first take a Gen Ed course or departmental course that is currently approved for Gen Ed credit.  Credit can then be given retroactively, as appropriate, for a departmental course from the relevant academic division.  To learn more, see Fulfilling AI & CB, Fulfilling SLS & SPU or Fulfilling SW/USW.
    • Math, Applied Math, Computer Science, and Statistics courses can count for EMR, but cannot count for SLS or SPU.
    • History, History of Science, and History of Art and Architecture (excluding studio courses) will now count for Study of the Past.  Other departmental courses might count as well.  To inquire about whether a particular course fulfills Study of the Past, please contact us with the course syllabus.
  • Certain on-campus, seven-week Harvard Summer School courses and certain Harvard Summer School Study Abroad courses can count toward Gen Ed requirements. Learn more

For more information, please see our FAQs

Questions? Contact us.