Academics

Our Approach to Undergraduate Education

Undergrad Lab Air EngineAt the undergraduate level, our goal is to create students who excel in engineering and applied sciences, but also have a broad knowledge of other disciplines and wish to connect advances in engineering to society’s most challenging problems.

To advance our plans, we are finding new ways to engage students and deliver content, reconsidering what we teach and developing more ways to connect classroom experiences to the wider world.

  • Unlike some programs in engineering and applied sciences, Harvard undergraduates who pursue the field are not enrolled in a separate school or college.
  • Students in engineering and applied sciences are part of a liberal arts environment, interacting with classmates from completely different concentrations in their dorms, Houses, dining halls, and clubs.
  • Students from all concentrations are required to complete the General Education Requirements.
  • Harvard is among only a few programs in the country to offer both an A.B. and an ABET-Accredited S.B. in Engineering Sciences.

Likewise, we want to enable students from all other concentrations to learn how engineering and technology underpin many aspects of society and the world. We believe that exposing all Harvard College students to the tenets of engineering—analysis, synthesis/integration, design, and building—will give them a greater appreciation for science and technology and better prepare them for a world in which technology is part of every sphere of life.

Our Approach to Graduate Education

Eric MazurIn keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of modern research, SEAS does not have traditional academic departments and does not award graduate degrees by specific research area.

Instead, students may work towards a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and Doctor of Philosophy degree in one of five subjects—Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Computer Science, Computational Science & Engineering, and Engineering Sciences.

To help students develop plans of study that have sound intellectual frameworks, SEAS has instituted model programs/guidelines by degree.

  • Students work in close consultation with their SEAS-based advisers to develop an appropriate and personalized plan of study.
  • We view courses as a way to enhance a student's research ability, to learn broadly about a field or related fields, and as part of the process of becoming a well-rounded member of one’s field. 
  • Our 10 course requirement is considered a a minimum, and not a goal; students are encouraged to take additional courses whenever appropriate.
  • We aim to balance disciplinary expertise (i.e., courses that provide the scientific, mathematical, and technical depth that students need for our graduate programs in engineering and applied science) with "innovation" style courses that broaden a student's perspective, suitable 100- level courses, or relevant courses at a suitable level in non-science departments (e.g., economics) or schools (e.g., Harvard Kennedy School or Harvard Business School).
  • Students are encouraged to interact with members of other departments, programs, Harvard schools, and from the various SEAS-based and University-wide research centers and initiatives.