Fulfilling Aesthetic & Interpretive Understanding and Culture & Belief
Students graduating in or before 2019 will complete the current General Education requirements, with much greater flexibility in how their requirements are met. The Classes of 2020 and 2021 (including students who graduate in March 2020) will be transitioned into the new program, which will take effect in Fall 2019, and can begin to benefit from the flexibility of these new requirements now. Any requirements fulfilled in the current program will count toward requirements in the new program.
For the paired categories of Aesthetic & Interpretive Understanding (AI) and Culture & Belief (CB), students must take one course (either Gen Ed or previously-designated departmental course) that currently counts for either AI or CB. The other course in this pair may be either AI or CB, a departmental course that counts toward either category, or a departmental course within the Arts & Humanities 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 an Arts & Humanities 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 Arts & Humanities course. Learn more about courses in the Arts & Humanities division.
When the new requirements take effect in Fall 2019, anyone who has already fulfilled both parts of the paired categories of AI & CB will automatically have fulfilled the new General Education requirement for Aesthetics & Culture and the new distribution requirement for Arts & Humanities. Anyone who has already fulfilled AI or CB will automatically have fulfilled the new General Education requirement for Aesthetics & Culture.
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.
- Language courses: Language courses below the advanced level will not count toward any of the current Gen Ed requirements or the new distribution requirement, and not all advanced language courses will count. Only advanced language courses that engage primarily in critical inquiry can count toward as Arts & Humanities courses.
Please see the Divisional Distribution information in a course’s my.harvard.edu description for information about individual courses. If no divisional information is provided, please contact us to confirm if a particular advanced language course can count.