Exploring Concentrations for First-Year Students

Use your first year to pursue your academic interests as you explore the 50 concentrations Harvard offers. Take courses that interest you and speak in person with advisers in concentrations. Each department lists at least one person whom pre-concentrators (i.e., first-year students and first-term sophomores) can talk to about the field. Students declare a concentration near the end of their third term (for most students, sophomore fall). Specific information about each concentration is available in the Fields of Concentration section of the Handbook.

Introductory Courses

Taking a course in a field is one excellent way to sample the discipline. You may discover it isn’t possible to take as many courses in your first year as there are concentrations that interest you. That’s okay – there are other avenues of exploration.

Meet with Concentration Advisers

Write to a concentration adviser to set up an advising appointment. Find out whether the concentrations you are interested in have peer advisers available to talk with you, or if there is an undergraduate student organization affiliated with the department through which you might learn more about concentrators’ experiences. Ask the department if there are senior theses available so you can get a sense of the kind of capstone projects undergraduates do. Connect with a faculty member during their office hours, even someone whose class you aren’t taking this term.

Use the links below to learn more about the 50 concentrations, and enjoy your exploration!