This page describes information related to COVID-19 and the Harvard Computer Science undergraduate program. For Harvard University information about COVID-19 see https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus; For Harvard College, see https://dso.college.harvard.edu/coronavirus.
This page last updated: Tuesday March 9, 2021. If you have a question that isn’t addressed below, please contact us!
Courses that require an iPad/tablet and stylus should have this clearly stated on their Canvas site. Students, TFs, and course assistants may then borrow them from Harvard. To borrow equipment, please fill out this form.
Computer Science is planning on having higher faculty-to-student ratios than we usually do. Core courses with high expected enrollments will be team-taught (CS 124, CS 181). Unlike the spring 2020, we have now had time to prepare, and structure the courses to optimize for the online experience and better address issues such as students dispersed in many time zones. The Office of Undergraduate Education trained faculty in best practices for online learning over the summer.
In 2020-21, courses will be letter graded as in standard semesters. As always, you can, with instructor permission, take a course Pass/Fail. And CS50 can be taken either for a letter grade of Sat/Unsat. However, any course in academic year 2020-21 used to satisfy CS concentration requirements must be taken for a letter grade, with the sole exception of CS50, which can be taken Sat/Unsat.
We appreciate that community is critical, and we will strive to ensure that we build community for students in Harvard CS and provide opportunities for students to interact with faculty, staff, and other Harvard CS students. Computer Science will work with the Peer Concentration Advisors and other groups to find ways to build community. We are also interested in having CS Nights return. This is work in progress, and we are open to your ideas and feedback for how we can best build community! Please let us know your ideas!
If you haven’t yet joined the CS Undergrad Piazza Forum, we encourage you to do so!
Many of our faculty can provide remote research opportunities for students. As always, please refer to our research group Google Sheet for information faculty research interests and how to join their groups. https://csadvising.seas.harvard.edu/research/
Please note that the only undergraduates allowed to enter FAS or SEAS research labs will be students who are living on campus. Enrolled students living nearby may be able to participate in research in accordance with the policy described here.
Students who are on leave may not enter the lab and may not be hired for on-campus lab research.
This guidance only applies to labs in FAS or SEAS buildings.
Note that if you are on a Leave of Absence, then you will need Ad Board approval to be engaged in research, even if remote. See the FAQ below about Leave of Absences.
Many of the CS senior thesis writers will be able to conduct their research remotely. However, some may need to do laboratory or practice-based work that cannot be done remotely. These students should have requested to live on campus.
Harvard CS will support students through the thesis process, even remotely. We hosted a thesis seminar series to help with the thesis-writing process.
Access to libraries for enrolled students writing a thesis will be addressed at the University level. The University’s latest guidance on libraries is here.
There was a webinar for international Harvard College students on Wednesday December 4, 2020. The recording is available at https://oie.fas.harvard.edu/international-student-advising. That page also links to an FAQ for international students.
Current OUE policy is that Harvard students must be enrolled to be CAs or TFs. That is, under current policy, if you are on a Leave of Absence, you can not be a CA or TF. You should plan accordingly. If this policy changes, we will update this FAQ and post on Piazza.
Regarding research: while on a Leave of Absence you would need Ad Board approval to be able to engage in research. See the relevant section of the Student Handbook. While on Leave you will not be able to enter research lab buildings.
More information about Leaves of Absence is at https://college.harvard.edu/ourpathforward#leave-of-absence-advising.
Yes! More information is available here.
Background: There are two types of honors for undergraduates: Latin honors (summa, magna, cum laude) are determined by the College and English honors (highest honors, high honors, honors) are determined by concentrations. See this page for more. The College Coronavirus FAQ has information about how Latin honors are affected by SEM grades. It is up to each concentration to determine how SEM grades will affect English honors.
Harvard CS will strive to ensure that SEM/UEM grading in Spring 2020 does not adversely affect students’ eligibility for English honors. Recall that English honors involve an objective GPA cutoff and a vote based on a holistic view of the student’s academic and scientific achievements. SEM/UEM grading will change our treatment of GPA.
SEM/UEM graded courses from Spring 2020 can be used to satisfy requirements of a Computer Science SM. Note also that appropriate MIT courses graded P/F in Spring 2020 will be able to count towards SM requirements.
Computer Science will count the following Summer 2020 courses at Harvard Summer School for concentration credit (and, where relevant, for secondary credit):
We were able to move forward with some of our searches to make offers, though not as many offers as we would have if the school’s financial situation was good. We have open searches in 2020-21 as well.
This is a form for anonymous feedback, for your ideas for CS to consider, or to let us know how you’re doing: CS Feedback.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help and support you however we can.