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Concentration Requirements

The requirements for these concentrations can be found in the Harvard College Handbook for Students.

Environmental Science and Engineering (A.B.)

The ESE A.B. degree requires 14-16 half-courses (dependent on math placement). In brief, concentrators are required to take a fundamental set of introductory math, physics, and chemistry courses as the foundation of their studies (6-8 of the 14-16 required courses). Students also take one foundational course (ESE 6, or one of a small number of appropriate Gen Ed courses by petition) to provide an introduction to the field. The remaining 7 courses are selected from a list of approved electives from across the breadth of the ESE course offerings, as well as related natural sciences. To provide a core foundation in environmental science and engineering, all students will be strongly recommended to take at least one course on environmental physics and at least one course on environmental chemistry. Additionally, one of the approved electives must be a course approved to have significant engineering design content, which provides each student with exposure to the design challenge of solving an environmental problem.

The Plan of Study form for the Environmental Science and Engineering A.B. provides an easy to follow summary of the concentration requirements. A copy of each student's approved plan of study is filed with the Office of Academic Programs at the time of declaration and is updated annually by the student and their concentration adviser.

Engineering Sciences (S.B.) - Environmental Science and Engineering Track

The ESE Track of the Engineering Sciences S.B. degree requires 20 half-courses. Similar to the A.B. degree, students have the flexibility to tailor their specific path through the ESE requirements to align with their interests in Environmental Science & Engineering. The additional course requirements in the S.B. program, compared to the A.B., provide students with depth within ESE, greater breadth across additional engineering areas, and two S.B.-specific courses in engineering design. In their junior year, S.B. concentrators take a team-based design course (ES 96), which provides the opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary team that will analyze and design a prototype solution for a real-world engineering problem. Past ES 96 projects have included designing a novel research instrument to measure atmospheric ozone concentrations while suspended in the payload of a high-altitude balloon. In their senior year, all S.B. concentrators take a year-long capstone design course (ES 100hf) in which they design and prototype a solution to an engineering problem of their own choice, resulting in their individual senior design thesis.

The Plan of Study form for the Engineering Sciences S.B. - Environmental Science and Engineering Track provides an easy to follow summary of the concentration requirements. A copy of each student's approved plan of study is filed with the Office of Academic Programs at the time of declaration and is updated annually by the student and their concentration adviser.


Course Petition Form for Engineering Concentrations

For any course petitions related to concentration requirements, this form should be submitted to the ADUS.


English Honors

Recommendations for English honors are decided individually by vote of the engineering faculty based on the student's academic accomplishments, superior performance in an ambitious set of courses, and scholarly achievement in their senior capstone design project. Ordinarily, the following criteria set the minimum qualifications necessary to be considered for an honors recommendation:

  • For Highest Honors: a concentration GPA in the top 5% and an outstanding capstone project
  • For High Honors: a concentration GPA in the top 20% and an excellent capstone project
  • For Honors: a concentration GPA in the top 50% and a capstone project worthy of merit


Petition for additional semester beyond senior year to complete the SB degree

In exceptional cases, and only to meet specific SB degree requirements, students may petition to remain in SEAS beyond the end of the second term of their senior year. Students in SB programs must submit these petitions to the Undergraduate Engineering Committee in SEAS, who will make the final decision. Like the Ad Board, decisions of the Committee take into account the best educational and personal interests of the student as well as the mission of SEAS. The process of petitioning the Committee begins with a conversation between a student and his or her program’s ADUS or DUS, in which the reasons for the petition and the circumstances that may or may not warrant its approval are all discussed. At the same time, the student should consult with their Allston Burr Resident Dean about their tuition and fees, and their eligibility for College housing and financial aid. The student will then write a statement explaining their request and specific circumstances and forward this petition to the Undergraduate Engineering Committee, where it will be read carefully, discussed, and decided.

The Committee will weigh the student’s academic record and performance in the SEAS community when considering the petition. Petitions related to non-medical events must be submitted to the Undergraduate Engineering Committee no later than January 15 between the student’s fifth and sixth terms (i.e., middle of junior year), or August 15 between the student’s fifth and sixth terms if the student’s fifth term is the spring. (Petitions related to legitimate medical conditions that require a request for approval for work at a reduced rate should be submitted directly to the Ad Board at any time.) Petitions are either “approved” or “denied.” The student is informed of the decision and any related instructions or stipulations in writing. In addition, SEAS will notify the Registrar and the student's Resident Dean (if applicable). A copy of the petition and the decision letter are placed in the student’s SEAS file. Under no circumstances will the Committee grant a student permission for more than two additional terms.