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COVID-19 Update: All 2021 Harvard Summer School courses and activities will be offered online.

Harvard College Student Course & Policy Guidelines

Please review the list of Summer School 2021 Courses Available for Harvard College Degree Credit. This list may be updated periodically; the most up-to-date version will always be posted on this webpage. In addition, please see the list of Summer School 2021 Courses for Gen Ed Credit and visit the Divisional Distribution Credit and Quantitative Reasoning with Data webpages for additional information.

You may take Summer School courses for credit toward your Harvard College degree in accordance with the following guidelines and the regulations in the Harvard College Handbook for Students.

Please also see the Harvard College Student Overview page for additional information on Summer 2021.

General Guidelines For Course Selection

Courses offered in the three-week format may not be taken for Harvard College credit. Courses in professional fields, such as Management and Museum Studies, as well as expository writing (EXPO) courses may not be taken for Harvard College credit. See Course Types and Degree Credit and Special Instructions and Exceptions by Department below for more information.

Harvard College students may not count a Summer School course that duplicates a previously taken academic-year course. Students should consult their department tutorial office or Director of Undergraduate Studies about summer and academic-year course equivalencies, as well as the availability of particular courses for concentration credit. See Policy Information below.

Course Types and Degree Credit

Courses in Professional Fields

Courses in the Summer School catalog in the following areas may not be taken for Harvard College degree credit:

  • Biotechnology (BIOT)
  • Education (EDUC)
  • Information Systems Management (ISMT)
  • Journalism (JOUR)
  • Legal Studies (LSTU)
  • Management (MGMT)
  • Mathematics Review (GMAT)
  • Museum Studies (MUSE)

Expository Writing (EXPO) Courses

EXPO courses may not be taken for Harvard College degree credit and do not fulfill the Harvard College expository writing requirement.

General Education Curriculum Courses

See the list of approved on-campus Summer School and Summer Study Abroad courses on the Program in General Education website.


Proseminars are courses designed for Harvard Extension School graduate students and may not be taken for Harvard College degree credit.

Reading and Research Courses

In accordance with policies and requirements in your department, you may enroll in up to 8 credits of reading and research or tutorial during the Summer School session. Reading and research courses are available only for Harvard College students and only in departments that regularly offer the courses during the year.

To register for a reading and research course, obtain written approval from your Allston Burr resident dean and the head tutor or director of undergraduate studies in your department on a Summer School supervised reading and research course application form. Submit that form along with Summer School registration form and tuition (per 4 credits) to the Summer School Registrar’s Office no later than the registration deadline.

Summer Seminars

Unlike Harvard freshman seminars, summer seminars are taken for a letter grade, and some may have a final exam in lieu of a paper or project. Summer seminars provide one semester-long (4 credit) course of Harvard College degree credit.

Three-Week Courses

Courses in the three-week format may not be taken for Harvard College degree credit.

Policy Information

Pass/Fail Option

You may submit a pass / fail request form to request approval to enroll for up to 8 credits with a pass/fail (PA/FL) grade except in expository and creative writing, education, and management courses. PA covers the range of letter grades from A to D–.

Requests for the pass/fail option must be submitted by the course changes deadline. The pass/fail deadlines for study abroad programs vary, but generally you have the first three days of your program to submit the pass/fail form. If you wish to request the pass/fail option, first consult the Harvard College Handbook for Students for information on the number of pass/fail courses that can be counted toward your degree.

Returning from a Leave of Absence or Withdrawal

If you are returning after a leave of absence or withdrawal from Harvard College, you must submit a completed Form to Attend Harvard Summer School From a Leave of Absence to the FAS Registrar’s Office as soon as possible after registering, and no later than the registration deadline.

Completing Degree Requirements

If you plan to complete your Harvard College degree requirements at the Summer School, notify the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar’s Office by email ( or phone (617-495-1543) before registering to ensure you select courses that meet your final degree requirements.

Newly Admitted Freshmen

If you are admitted as a Harvard College freshman and will matriculate for the upcoming fall term, you must apply to take Summer School courses through the Secondary School Program. You may apply Summer School credit toward your degree if you obtain prior approval from your resident dean of first-year students.

New Transfer Students

If you are a new College transfer student for the upcoming fall term, you may register online through the Summer School website. You may apply Summer School credit toward your degree provided you obtain prior approval from the transfer program coordinator.

Exceptions to Maximum Enrollment

To enroll for greater than the maximum credit enrollment in any session, you must obtain approval from your Allston Burr resident dean or resident dean of first-year students. Submit a completed Maximum Enrollment Petition Form to the Summer School Registrar’s Office as soon as possible after registering, and no later than May 17, 2021.

Grades and Academic Credit

Grades for your Summer School general program courses are available via your MyDCE account. after classes end. See the calendar for specific grade posting dates. Study abroad course grades are generally available approximately one to two weeks after the program ends.

Your Summer School courses and grades are also submitted to the FAS Registrar’s Office. They are entered on your Harvard College academic record if at least one course counts toward your College degree.

Special Instructions and Exceptions By Department

Please review the list of Summer School 2021 Courses Available for Harvard College Degree Credit. Only courses that appear on this list may be taken for degree credit. 

If a department has provided special instructions about concentration requirements, they are listed here. The Summer School strongly recommends that students consult their Director of Undergraduate Studies with any questions about concentration credit.

Biological Sciences

Harvard College biology concentrators must petition their concentration undergraduate office before registering for Summer School courses to determine which Summer School biological sciences courses are appropriate for their plan of study. 


CHEM S-1AB satisfies a year of general chemistry, either for a Chemistry concentration or a premedical program. Likewise, CHEM S-20AB satisfies a year of organic chemistry, either for a Chemistry concentration or a premedical program. Chemistry S-17 satisfies one semester of organic chemistry for the Chemistry concentration. CHEM S-A and CHEM S-B do not count for Chemistry concentration credit but may be taken for Harvard College degree credit.

Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature concentrators must consult their faculty advisor before enrolling in a Summer School course to determine if credit can be applied to their concentration.

Computer Science

Computer Science concentrators may count CSCI S-20, CSCI S-50, and CSCI S-109A for 4 concentration credits each. CSCI S-111 counts as 8 degree credits but only 4 concentration credits (equivalent to Computer Science 50). 

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Please consult the EPS concentration for information on whether Summer School EPS courses can be counted for concentration credit.


Ordinarily, Students can count only one course not offered during the regular academic calendar year toward their Economics concentration or secondary field requirements. This includes approved Harvard Summer School Economics courses, approved study abroad Economics courses, and approved cross-registered Economics courses at MIT. Please see the Department of Economics summer webpage for information about exceptions made due to COVID.

Harvard students who have completed Econ. 10 and meet individual course prerequisites listed below need not take the proficiency exam to enroll in the following Summer School courses:

Summer School CourseEquivalent Harvard College Prerequisites
ECON S-1010Mathematics 1a
ECON S-1012Mathematics 1a
ECON S-1123Statistics 100

Harvard College students taking ECON S-1010 must enroll in the course’s undergraduate section. A student’s grade in a Harvard Summer School Economics course is not included in their Economics concentration GPA. For more details on all of these points, consult the Department of Economics summer webpage, or contact the Economics Undergraduate Program Coordinator at 617-495-3247 or

Engineering Sciences

Engineering sciences concentrators must consult their Director of Undergraduate Studies regarding concentration credit for Summer School courses.

Environmental Studies

When offered, ENVR S-100 counts as credit towards a Harvard College degree, but will not, in most cases, count for concentration credit in the Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration. Prior to registering for courses, Harvard College students must consult with the head tutor in the Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration to determine if a course is eligible for concentration credit.  


German concentrators must have the permission of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures to enroll in GERM S-R.


Please consult the Government Department’s undergraduate website for current policies about counting HSS courses for Government concentration or secondary-field credit.


History concentrators may count only one degree-credit-eligible Summer School course toward the concentration. Concentrators should speak to their Director of Undergraduate Studies about any questions concerning concentration credit.


When offered, MATH S-P may be taken for Harvard College degree credit, but may not be taken for credit in the Mathematics concentration. 


PHYS S-1A and S-1B count for Harvard College degree credit and fulfill the requirements for medical school. They do not count toward the Physics concentration. They may meet physics requirements in other concentrations; please consult with individual departments for more information. 


Only some Summer School Psychology courses count toward the concentration or secondary field. Please consult the department’s electives webpage or email for further information. 


SPAN S-27 does not count toward a language citation.

Theater, Dance & Media

Theater, Dance & Media concentrators must consult their Director of Undergraduate Studies before taking any Summer School drama (DRAM) courses for concentration or secondary field credit.