Fulfilling SW & USW

Fulfilling Societies of the World & United States in the World
Students graduating in or before 2019 will complete the current General Education requirements, with greater flexibility in how their requirements are met. The Classes of 2020, 2021 & 2022 (including students who graduate in March 2020) will transition 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 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 also take a Gen Ed or departmental course that is currently approved for Gen Ed credit. Credit can then be given, as appropriate, for the Social Sciences course. Learn more about courses in the Social Sciences division.

When the new requirements take effect in Fall 2019, 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 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 10a/b
    • Class of 2019: Students may count the combination of Economics 10a and 10b to fulfill either USW or EMR (but not both) when both are completed before Fall 2019.  If students have fulfilled the SW or USW requirement with a course that carries Gen Ed credit, they can count either Economics 10a or 10b for SW or USW, provided it is completed with a passing letter grade before Fall 2019.
    • Class of 2020 and later: Economics 10 and 10b, taken before Fall 2019, can count for USW or EMR (but not both); credit will then be transferred appropriately to the new College requirements.  If the combination of Economics 10a and 10b is used for this purpose, neither can be used to fulfill the Social Sciences distribution requirement.  Economics 10a and 10b, taken any time, will fulfill the EMR requirement.  Economics 10a or 10b, taken any time, can fulfill the new distribution requirement in the Social Sciences as long as neither is used to fulfill USW or EMR (or the equivalent new requirements).
  • 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.