The concentration in Computer Science is designed to teach students skills and ideas they will use immediately and in the future. Because information technology affects every aspect of society, graduates with computer science degrees have open to them an enormous variety of careers—engineering, teaching, medicine, law, basic science, entertainment, management, and countless others.
At Harvard College, students choose a "concentration," which is what we call a major. All prospective undergraduate students, including those intending to study engineering and applied sciences, apply directly to Harvard College. During your sophomore spring you’ll declare a concentration, or field of study. You may choose from 50 concentrations and 49 secondary field (from Harvard DSO website).
All undergraduates in Computer Science at Harvard are candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree (A.B.). With the knowledge that it requires extra course work, you can consider the more intensive A.B./S.M. option through a concurrent masters degree.
A.B. in Computer Science
The basic degree requirements are eleven to fourteen 4-credit courses in mathematics, theoretical computer science, computer software, and other areas of computer science. Math courses cover linear algebra, single variable calculus and probability/statistics. Students who place out of part or all of the introductory calculus sequence, Mathematics 1ab, reduce their concentration requirements to 11 courses.
Computer Science Secondary Field
A lightweight way of getting official recognition within Harvard for work in two fields is to do one or the other as a secondary field. For Computer Science, this involves taking 4 courses in the secondary field. Learn more about the computer science secondary field.
A.B./S.M. in Computer Science
Our AB/SM degree program is for currently enrolled Harvard College students only. Students who are eligible for Advanced Standing on the basis of A.P. tests before entering Harvard may be able to apply for admission to the S.M. program of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and graduate in four years with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree (not necessarily in the same field).
Beginning with the class of 2022, students have the opportunity to apply to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for a master’s degree pursued concurrently with the bachelor’s degree. As part of the concurrent degree program, students will be allowed to double-count up to sixteen credits (normally, four courses) for the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Science. An undergraduate pursuing the concurrent degree must complete both of these degrees by the end of eight terms of residency, or the equivalent.
The Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program (MBB)
Students interested in addressing questions of neuroscience and cognition from the perspective of computer science may pursue a special program of study affiliated with the University-wide Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative, that allows them to participate in a variety of related activities. (Similar programs are available through the Anthropology, History and Science, Human Evolutionary Biology, Linguistics, Neurobiology, Philosophy, and Psychology concentrations.) Requirements for this honors-only program are based on those of the computer science Requirements for Honors Eligibility. See the handbook entry for more information and also Frequently Asked Questions about the MBB Track. This is an honors track program: students are eligible for English Honors.
Why study CS at Harvard? What’s different about pursuing CS in a liberal arts setting?
Learn about the prerequisites for the concentration on our First-Year Exploration page. Students interested in concentrating in computer science can refer to our Sophomore Advising page and request to be matched with a Peer Concentration Advisor (PCA). PCAs serve as peer advisors for pre-concentrators (and current concentrators), providing a valuable perspective and helping students to discover additional resources and opportunities.
Learn more about the Computer Science requirements>
Research Opportunities in Computer Science
As part of your Bio/Biomedical Engineering coursework, or perhaps as part of individual research opportunities working with professors, you will have the chance to take part in or participate in some extraordinary projects. Learn more about research opportunities at Harvard SEAS.
Learn about the research interests of our Computer Science faculty.
Computer Science Career Paths
Computer Science & Society
Harvard Computer Science has several programs that allow undergraduate students to think about the broader issues in tech and CS.
Computer Science Clubs and Organizations
SEAS-affiliated student organizations are critical to the overall growth of our concentrators as engineering and applied science professionals. These organizations enable our students to pursue passion projects and events in areas of interest that are complementary to the current formal academic curriculum. Learn more about computer science student clubs and organizations.