Course Selection

Course selection is an exciting process but can feel overwhelming. In order to set yourself up to succeed, think carefully about workload and design a schedule that allows you to take advantage of the full range of opportunities at Harvard. You may want to join a student group, attend lectures, volunteer or do an internship. Many students report that the friends they made at HGSE have become some of their most valued colleagues so you will want to be sure to allow time to take part in social events too.

The following resources will be helpful as you think about choosing courses.

  • Course Catalogue
    • Browsing through the course catalogue will give you a sense of what courses are most aligned with your interests and will help you come up with a list of courses to shop. Please note that new search features and final course information will not be finalized in the new HGSE Catalogue until the start of Orientation on Tuesday, August 22.
  • Course Evaluations 
    • Past students are quite candid in their assessments of courses and it is helpful to hear their perspectives on workload, teaching style, knowledge gained, and course expectations.
  • Course Previews
    • Attending course previews is one of the most important steps you can take and you are encouraged to preview as many courses as your schedule permits. 

What are course previews?

During Orientation week, you will have the opportunity to "preview" courses by attending faculty overviews of the classes they teach. This is a wonderful opportunity to get a better sense of how the course will be taught, the personality of the professor, and what to expect from the course in general.

It is especially important to attend previews of limited enrollment courses as the criteria for enrollment will be covered.

Not all Schools at Harvard offer course previews (also called shopping). In many cases students attend the first few classes before they are officially enrolled. If you are interested in cross-registration, be sure to check the policy for the School you are interested in.