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Undergraduate Engineering at Harvard

Engineering plays a critical role in enhancing social progress and improving our quality of life, and rapid and efficient access to new innovations is necessary to tackle myriad challenges. The SEAS engineering programs educate future leaders with the technical background necessary to develop and critically evaluate the next wave of engineering innovations, to apply these innovations to important local and global problems, and to make informed decisions about them in a societal context. 

Because the engineering concentrations exist within Harvard’s liberal arts environment, it provides students with both the breadth and depth of study necessary to excel in integrative areas of engineering. The curriculum emphasizes a solid background in applied science and mathematical analysis, with ample opportunities to apply these fundamentals to real-world issues and learn about state-of-the-art technologies. Students gain experience in the engineering design process, which is a unique engineering activity that requires creative synthesis and analysis to fulfill specified needs.

Engineering Guidebook

For current or prospective students interested in learning more about our undergraduate engineering programs, we are happy to offer our Engineering Guidebook. This document summarizes the four primary engineering areas in SEAS and provides first-year advising information for preconcentrators.

Primary Areas of Study

Bioengineering lies at the intersection of the physical and life sciences, incorporating principles from physics and chemistry to understand the functioning of living systems. The overarching intellectual goal of biomedical engineering is to apply quantitative engineering analysis to understand the operation of living systems and design novel systems to satisfy unmet needs in clinical medicine.  Biomedical engineering distinguishes itself from the other life sciences disciplines by using scientific knowledge to create new biomaterials and devices. 

Electrical Engineering spans a broad range of topics, ranging from the physics of new materials and devices, the circuits and next-generation computing platforms made from these devices, and the algorithms that run on these platforms.  The range of subtopics includes power systems, (micro)electronics, control systems, signal processing, telecommunications, and computing systems. Students learn how to analyze, design and build devices and systems for computation, communication and information transfer.

Environmental Science & Engineering is an interdisciplinary field that applies principles from other branches of engineering, the natural sciences, and mathematics to better understand and address environmental challenges. Students interested in environmental science and engineering study the fundamental processes and technologies underlying environmental systems, including natural and polluted waters and soils, the atmosphere, climate, and energy. Students learn to apply these principles to mitigate human impact on the environment by providing technical solutions and advancing innovations in environmental measurement, modeling, and control. 

Mechanical Engineering focuses on the study and application of mechanical systems. It covers a range of subtopics including mechatronics and robotics, structural analysis, thermodynamics and engineering design including the analysis of mechanical systems using finite element methods, the science of new materials and devices for micro electromechanical systems (MEMS), and biological and nanotechnology applications. Students receive a foundational education in a discipline central to challenges in energy, transportation, manufacturing, robotics, and the development of public infrastructure.

Engineering Sciences provides an integrative approach to developing the engineering skills necessary to tackle real-world problems. Engineering has evolved over the years to not only dive deeply into specific fields, but also to seek out solutions to real-world problems by combining concepts from a broad range of scientific inquiries and innovations. The Engineering Sciences concentration is ideally positioned to provide students with both the breadth and depth of study needed to excel in these and other exciting integrative areas of engineering within the liberal arts setting of Harvard. Students choosing the Engineering Sciences Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts programs select a specialization in one of the primary areas described above through their concentration Track.

Available Concentrations

Area of interest Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) Bachelor of Science (S.B.)
Bioengineering Biomedical Engineering A.B.

Engineering Sciences A.B.
(Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Track)
Engineering Sciences S.B.
(Bioengineering Track)
Electrical Engineering Engineering Sciences A.B.
(Electrical and Computer Engineering Track)
Electrical Engineering S.B.
Environmental Science and Engineering Environmental Science and Engineering A.B. Engineering Sciences S.B.
(Environmental Science and Engineering Track)
Mechanical Engineering Engineering Sciences A.B.
(Mechanical and Materials Science and Engineering Track)
Mechanical Engineering S.B.