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Declaring CS concentration

As of Fall 2021 computer science has new concentration requirements. Students who completed at least one term in the college prior to Fall 2021 may elect to follow the 2020 requirements instead (comparison). It is not possible to mix and match between the two. The plan of study forms are different for the two sets of requirements.

We’re glad you’re interested in concentrating in Computer Science! Here are the steps, in order, that you should take to declare your concentration in Computer Science. (These are the same steps that CS concentrators should follow to submit an updated Plan of Study.)

  • Step 1: Look over our concentration requirements, consult some of the resources on this website and read our FAQ. In particular you may want to look at our Sample schedules and plans page to see some example plans of study.
    You may wish to meet with one of the Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in CS, Professors Boaz Barak and Stephen Chong or Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies Adam Hesterberg (contact via cs-dus@seas.harvard.edu). Students proposing to pursue the MBB track should instead meet with Prof. Stuart Shieber, shieber@seas.harvard.edu, after reading Frequently Asked Questions about the Computer Science MBB track.

  • Step 2: Fill out and email a Plan of Study for the CS concentration.

    • Step 2a: Download the Plan of Study excel spreadsheet from the Forms page
    • Step 2b: Indicate on the Plan of Study whether your program is basic, honors, joint, or MBB, and then follow the directions.
      This will take only a few minutes and will be instructive even if you aren’t sure what courses you should take or even if you really want to concentrate in the field. If you fill out the Plan of Study with the concentration requirements and Tags or handbook entry open, you can easily see which courses count in which category. You would also want to consult our course information page which describes which courses count for what requirements, as well as the terms in which they are planned to be offered.
    • Step 2c: Email the completed form as an Excel file (preferred) or PDF (no Numbers files) to cs-dus@seas.harvard.edu for approval (or, for MBB track, to shieber@seas.harvard.edu).
      Note that this form is for our internal departmental bookkeeping: filling it out does not officially make you a concentrator, so make sure you complete the following step.
  • Step 3: Use my.harvard.edu to formally declare (or change to) Computer Science as a concentration.
    After a DUS has approved your CS Plan of Study, go to my.harvard.edu to formally declare (or change to) Computer Science as a concentration (instructions available here). If a CS Plan of Study has been approved per the steps outlined above, a DUS will use my.harvard.edu to approve your declaration and will upload your CS Plan of Study file to your “Reports and Documents” section in my.harvard.edu. 

Feel free to meet with a DUS at any time. Once your declaration has been approved, a DUS will assign you an advisor from among the CS faculty before the start of the next term. (The DUSes will try to honor preferences you may express, so it’s fine to look at the list of CS faculty before you join the concentration.) See this page for more information about advising.

It is your responsibility to make sure you follow the plan of study. If your plan changes, you can update and send us a new plan of study form at any time.