Fulfilling SW & USW

Fulfilling Societies of the World & United States in the World
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 Societies of the World (SW) and United States in the World (USW), students must take one course (either Gen Ed or previously-designated departmental course) that currently counts for either SW or USW.  The other course in this pair may be either SW or USW, a departmental course that counts toward either category, or a departmental course within the Social 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 Social 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 Social Sciences course.  Learn more about courses in the Social Sciences division.

When the new requirements take effect in Fall 2018, anyone who has already fulfilled both parts of the paired categories of SW & USW will automatically have fulfilled the new General Education requirement for Histories, Societies, Individuals and the new distribution requirement for Social Sciences.  Anyone who has already fulfilled SW or USW will automatically have fulfilled the new General Education requirement for Histories, Societies, Individuals. 

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.
  • Economics:  Economics 10a or 10b alone cannot fulfill USW (or EMR): only the combination of both Economics 10a and 10b together can fulfill these requirements.  For students graduating under the current General Education requirements (Classes of 2017 & 2018), Economics 10a or 10b alone cannot serve as a Social Sciences departmental substitution for SW or USW: only the combination of both Economics 10a and 10b together can, provided they are not being used to fulfill USW or EMR.  For students graduating after the launch of the new College requirements in Fall 2018 (Class of 2019 & beyond), Economics 10a or 10b alone can fulfill the new divisional distribution requirement in the Social Sciences.  Students should be aware that this will not be reflected on their Academic Advising Report until Fall 2018, when all students are transitioned to the new requirements.  Students who use the combination of Economics 10a and 10b to fulfill USW (or EMR) cannot also use Economics 10a or 10b to fulfill the new Social Sciences distribution requirement.     
  • African & African American Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies:  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 count toward the Social Sciences divisional requirement.  Some courses from these departments might also count toward the Arts & Humanities divisional requirement.  Please contact us with the course syllabus to confirm if a particular course from these departments can count toward the Arts & Humanities divisional requirement.
  • 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 count toward the Social Sciences divisional requirement.  Some courses from these departments might also count toward the Sciences divisional requirement.  Please contact us with the course syllabus to confirm if a particular course from these departments can count toward the Sciences divisional requirement.
  • East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Linguistics, Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and South Asian Studies: 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 count toward the Arts & Humanities divisional requirement.  Some courses from these departments might also count toward the Social Sciences divisional requirement.  Please contact us with the course syllabus to confirm if a particular course from these departments can count toward the Social Sciences divisional requirement.