Your concentration – your commitment to a specific discipline or specialization – will provide you with a broad base of knowledge about a particular area of study. It will also sharpen your writing and analytic and, depending on the area, quantitative skills as well. As you advance through your concentration, you will become a more sophisticated thinker, learning to learn more deeply. Departments strongly recommend that you seek out pre-concentration advising in your first year, to ensure that your final choice of concentration is one you’re excited by and that it meets your expectations and goals.
Harvard offers 50 concentrations. Concentration requirements vary widely from field to field. The number of required courses ranges from 10 to 20. Some concentrations require an application. Some are honors-only. Some require a thesis. Some allow for highly individualized design; others are more regimented, having, for instance, strict course sequencing requirements. Though your choice of concentration should be motivated, above all, by what interests you, it is important that you be aware of the concentration requirements of the different fields you’re considering, in particular any that may require you to start planning early.