CS91r Supervised Reading and Research

CS91r, Supervised Reading and Research, is a course for supervised instruction of a individual student by a CS faculty member. It is a letter-graded course (i.e., you can not take it Pass/Fail or Sat/Unsat). The CS Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) is the instructor officially "offering" the course for registration purposes, but the course is supervised instruction of an individual student by an individual faculty member. 

The "r" in CS91r means that the course is repeatable. However, it can be taken at most once for CS concentration credit, and at most twice for degree credit.

Who takes CS91r and why?

CS91r is often taken by students writing a CS Senior Thesis, typically in their Senior Fall (when most of the work on their Senior Thesis happens). It can, however, be taken at any time during a student's undergraduate degree. 

Often a CS91r is a mechanism to enable a student to have sufficient time to work on research with a faculty member. But you don't have to take a CS91r to be involved in research! You can do research over the summer, or during the semester.

Note that per Harvard College policy, you can not receive academic credit for work for which you are financially compensated. So you cannot be paid for research that will be part of a CS91r. 

Who can supervise a CS91r?

The CS91r supervisor is typically a CS faculty member.

Non-CS faculty members are occasionally permitted to be CS91r supervisors, but the student and the potential supervisor should contact the CS DUS well in advance of the Course Registration deadline. While we greatly appreciate the willingness of non-CS faculty to spend time and energy supervising a CS student for a CS91r, we want to ensure that the student will have a suitable research experience, with appropriate supervision. In particular, the CS91r should provide an opportunity for thinking like a researcher.  Even if the day-to-day activities of the project are going to be mundane, the student should be able to articulate what new knowledge is being sought and how their particular research activity contributes to the big goal.

How do I sign up for a CS91r? 

Please follow these steps.

  1. Download the CS91r form.
  2. Student fills out the top portion of the form.
  3. The student and supervisor exchange the document electronically until both are satisfied with its description of the project and the basis for evaluation. The project description should have a recognizable research component.
  4. The student "signs" at the bottom by typing his/her name and sends the "signed" form to the supervisor.
  5. The supervisor "signs" at the bottom by typing his/her name and emails the signed copy to cs-dus@seas.harvard.edu from the supervisor's official Harvard email address.
  6. The student requests to enroll in CS91r via my.harvard.
  7. The DUS will approve the student's enrollment only upon receipt of the signed form from the supervisor. Student and supervisor will both receive copies of the completed document, "signed" by the DUS.