The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science Degrees

Requirements for the Degree

Credit Requirements for the Degree

Requirements for the Degree

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences offers undergraduates a wide range of courses to satisfy individual objectives and interests. In defining the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, the Faculty has sought to accommodate those objectives and interests and, at the same time, to establish a framework for study in the College that ensures involvement with important areas of general knowledge (the General Education requirements) and in-depth study of one specific area (the concentration requirement). In addition, students must demonstrate competence in certain skills reflective of the complex demands of modern society (writing and foreign language requirements) and achieve a satisfactory level of performance in their work. Each of these requirements is set forth in detail below. (For the rules concerning the Bachelor of Science degree, see "Engineering Sciences".) Students are responsible for knowing the rules that apply to their candidacy for the AB or SB degree.

Exceptions to the rules may be made only by special vote of the Administrative Board of Harvard College (hereafter referred to as the Administrative Board) or by those administrative officers or committees to which the Faculty, for certain matters, has delegated authority to act on its behalf.

Credit Requirements for the Degree

All candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree must pass 128 credits (the equivalent of thirty-two 4 credit courses) and receive letter grades of C– or higher in at least 84 credits of them (at least 96 credits to be eligible for a degree with honors). A “course” is equivalent to 4 credits and normally is the length of a semester; a “course” is equivalent to the “half-course” designation in earlier Handbooks. The only non-letter grade that counts toward the requirement of 84 satisfactory letter-graded credits is Satisfactory (SAT); only one (8 credit) senior tutorial course graded Satisfactory may be so counted. Credits taken either by cross-registration or out of residence for degree credit will not be counted toward the letter-graded credit requirement unless they are applied toward concentration requirements or the requirements for the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (UTEP).

Forty-eight of the required 84 letter-graded credits should normally have been completed by the end of the sophomore year. Ordinarily, no freshman or sophomore may take fewer than three letter-graded courses (4 credits per course) in any term. 

Advanced Standing students graduating in six semesters and sophomore transfer students (16 credits granted) must pass 96 credits at Harvard and receive letter grades of C– or higher in at least 60 of them (at least 72 to be eligible for a degree with honors). Advanced Standing students graduating in seven semesters must pass 112 credits at Harvard and receive letter grades of C– or higher in at least 72 of them (at least 84 to be eligible for a degree with honors). Junior transfer students (64 credits granted) must pass 64 credits at Harvard and receive letter grades of C– or higher in at least 40 of them (at least 48 to be eligible for a degree with honors). All degree recipients must have been degree candidates for at least four regular semesters and have passed at least 64 credits as degree candidates during regular terms (fall or spring semester) in Harvard College. The precise number of letter-graded credits with C– or higher required of transfer students will be subject to evaluation at the time of matriculation at Harvard.