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: Friday August 14th. We will continue to update this page with new information; if you have a question that isn’t addressed below, please contact us!
As of 7/6/2020, here are the non-300-level courses that Harvard CS plans to offer in Fall 2020:
|Course Number||Course Title||F’20 Instructors|
|CS 50||Introduction to Computer Science||Malan, David|
|CS 61||Systems Programming and Machine Organization||Kohler, Eddie
|CS 91r||Supervised Reading and Research||Various|
|CS 96||System Design Projects||Gajos, Krzysztof|
|CS 105||Privacy and Technology||Waldo, James|
|CS 107||Systems Development for Computational Science||Sondak, David|
|CS 109a||Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science||Protopapas, Pavlos
|CS 121||Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science||Sudan, Madhu
|CS 126||Fairness, Privacy, and Validity in Data Analysis||Dwork, Cynthia
|CS 143||Computer Networks||Kung, H. T.|
|CS 171||Visualization||Pfister, Hanspeter|
|CS 182||Artificial Intelligence||Tambe, Milind
|CS 187||Computational Linguistics||Shieber, Stuart|
|CS 222||Algorithms at the Ends of the Wire||Mitzenmacher, Michael|
|CS 229r||Algorithmic Spectral Graph Theory||Vadhan, Salil|
|CS 249r||Tiny Machine Learning||Janapa Reddi, Vijay|
|CS 252r||Advanced Topics in Programming Languages: PL + AI||Amin, Nada|
|CS 263||Systems Security||Mickens, James|
|CS 279||Research Topics in Human-Computer Interaction||Glassman, Elena|
|CS 286||Multi-Robot Systems: Control, Communication, and Security||Gil, Stephanie|
There are also additional Harvard courses offered outside of Computer Science that are permitted to count towards concentration requirements. We will list here the courses that we know are being offered in Fall 2020:
|Course Number||Course Title||F’20 Instructors||Notes|
|ES 143||Computer Vision||Zickler, Todd||Can be used in place of CS 17x course|
|Stat 110||Introduction to Probability||Blitzstein, Joe||Statistics/Probability Math or Tech Elective|
|AM 22a||Solving and Optimizing||Gortler, Steve||Linear Alegebra Requirement in CS|
We thought carefully about the best way to present a set of courses for the fall semester that could help students meet graduation requirements while providing a good online experience. Several professors also opted to push back sabbaticals and were then available to teach.
We are maintaining a Google Doc with Shopping Week information.
Fall courses may offer a wide range of interaction modes. These can include lectures, sections, office hours, as well as meeting in smaller groups. Some of these components will be recorded and can be viewed asynchronously, while others will be live and interactive. Instructors will make an effort to schedule those components of courses that must be accessed synchronously to accommodate students’ time zones. You should check the courses’ webpage for more information on the schedule of each course.
Shopping period will run from August 17 to August 21. During this time, Canvas sites will be live, syllabi will be posted, and instructors will find some way to give students a sense of their courses and their teaching styles. Students will register for courses by August 26, and the semester will begin on September 2. After that, students may add or drop courses until October 5.
More information is at https://registrar.fas.harvard.edu/shopping-week-registration.
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 61, CS 121, CS 182). Unlike the spring, 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 is training faculty in best practices for online learning over the summer.
In the fall, 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 Fall 2020 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 seniors who are living on campus and working on their thesis.
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. SEAS and the Division of Science discourage students from working in labs at Longwood or other local institutions during Fall 2020.
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. If you are in this situation, you should fill in the Learning Environment Questionnaire (linked to from https://college.harvard.edu/ourpathforward), by Monday July 13. You will need to provide some information about why your research needs to be conducted on the Harvard campus. Even if you missed the July 13 deadline, you should fill in the form: late applications will be considered.
Harvard CS will support students through the thesis process, even remotely. We will once again host a thesis seminar series to help with the thesis-writing process. Look for more information in the fall.
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, and the Office of Undergraduate Education has promised to host library town halls (Fall Advising information, including library research town halls, will be here)
Advising Faculty and the DUS team will continue to have remote office hours in the Fall.
SEAS, Computer Science, and the Peer Concentration Advisors will continue to host advising events throughout the Fall semester.
If you are not in the cohort that will automatically be invited to return to campus, you can apply to return to campus. More information is at https://dso.college.harvard.edu/ourpathforward. Please note that the deadline for the Learning Environment Questionnaire is July 13. Even if you missed the July 13 deadline, you should fill in the form: late applications will be considered.
More information is at https://college.harvard.edu/ourpathforward.
The Department of Homeland Security and ICE have rescinded their policy that barred international students from taking only online courses.
There was a webinar for international Harvard College students on Wednesday July 8. The recording will be available at https://oie.fas.harvard.edu/international-student-advising. That page also links to an FAQ for international students.
Regardless, if you’re wanting to apply to be invited back to campus, you should fill in the Learning Environment Questionnaire (linked to from https://college.harvard.edu/ourpathforward). Even if you missed the July 13 deadline, you should fill in the form: late applications will be considered.
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. From https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/coronavirus/advice-faculty: “The only undergraduates allowed to enter the FAS and SEAS research lab buildings will be seniors who are living on campus and conducting research for their senior thesis or comparable capstone project.”
More information about Leaves of Absence is at https://college.harvard.edu/ourpathforward#leave-of-absence-advising.
We strongly enocourage you to write to email@example.com with any questions so that you receive a centralized response, and so that they know what questions are being asked.
Yes! The Registrar’s Office has confirmed that Harvard students will be able to cross register at MIT in Fall 2020, as usual. Students can begin cross registration at the start of classes and the deadline is the 5th Monday. 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.
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.