Fulfilling SLS & SPU

Fulfilling Science of Living Systems & Science of the Physical Universe
Students graduating in or before 2018 will complete the current General Education requirements, with much greater flexibility in how their requirements are met.  The Class of 2019 and Class of 2020 (including students who graduate in March 2019) will graduate under new requirements, which will take effect in Fall 2018, and can begin to benefit from the flexibility of these new requirements now.    

For the paired categories of Science of Living Systems (SLS) and Science of the Physical Universe (SPU), students must take one course (either Gen Ed or previously-designated departmental course) that currently counts for either SLS or SPU.  The other course in this pair may be either SLS or SPU, a departmental course that counts toward either category, or a departmental course within the Sciences division.  Essentially, students are given the option for one course in this pair to act as the new program’s distribution requirement.  In order to receive Gen Ed credit for a Sciences course, students must first take a Gen Ed or departmental course that is currently approved for Gen Ed credit.  Credit can then be given retroactively, as appropriate, for the Sciences course.  Learn more about courses in the Sciences division.

When the new requirements take effect in Fall 2018, anyone who has already fulfilled both parts of the paired categories of SLS & SPU will automatically have fulfilled the new General Education requirement for Science & Technology in Society and the new distribution requirement for Sciences.  Anyone who has already fulfilled SLS or SPU will automatically have fulfilled the new General Education requirement for Science & Technology in Society. 

Please note the following:

  • Credits & grades: Only four-unit FAS courses taken for a letter grade can count toward current Gen Ed requirements.
  • Expos and Freshman Seminars: Courses in Expository Writing and Freshman Seminars will not count toward any of the current Gen Ed requirements or the new requirements.     
  • Math, Applied Math, Statistics, and Computer Science: Courses in these departments can count for EMR, but cannot count for SLS or SPU.
  • Psychology, Mind Brain Behavior, and Environmental Science & Public Policy: By Fall 2018, my.harvard.edu course descriptions will include information about which distribution requirement courses satisfy, if any.  Until then, courses in these departments automatically count as Social Sciences courses.  Some courses from these departments might also count as Sciences courses.  Please contact us with the course syllabus to confirm if a particular course from these departments can count as a Sciences course.