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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: Saturday March 28.

Zoom office hours

Office hours for CS faculty will be held online through Zoom. See this page for the list of office hours and Zoom links.

Undergraduate Grading in Spring 2020

The College has opted for universal Emergency Sat/Emergency Unsat grading: all undergraduates in Spring 2020 courses will receive a grade of either Emergency Sat (SEM) or Emergency Unsat (UEM). The College has additional information on their FAQ.

SEM courses will fulfill CS concentration and CS secondary requirements. (Normally courses taken for CS concentration or CS secondary credit must be letter-graded, except that CS50 may be taken SAT/UNSAT).

Concentration GPA and English Honors

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.


  1. If a student’s concentration GPA (calculated without Spring 2020 courses) is above the threshold, then the student will be eligible for honors.
  2. If the student’s concentration GPA is close to the threshold (i.e., would be above the threshold if the student had received A’s in Spring 2020 concentration courses), then we will consider other criteria, including qualitative feedback from Spring 2020 courses.

Graduate and AB/SM SAT/UNSAT Grading in Spring 2020

Update March 28: The Graduate School is still deciding their grading processes for Spring 2020, and determining how the College decision for Emergency Sat/Emergency Unsat grading will affect AB/SM students. Please continue to check the SEAS Graduate Covid-19 page. In the meantime, the information below is current.

Update March 27: Harvard College’s process for changing grading of courses seems to have removed bracketing from bracketed courses; Beth is looking into this with the Registrar.

Computer Science will allow Spring 2020 courses taken SAT/UNSAT to count for our graduate program requirements, including Ph.D. and SM. This is also a change from normal requirements. The deadline is April 13.

AB/SM students should follow the graduate procedures and elect SAT/UNSAT or letter grading (rather than SEM/UEM grading) for courses taken specifically for the masters degree (SM). However, we will also allow AB/SM students to use SEM/UEM graded courses from Spring 2020 to satisfy requirements of the masters degree in Computer Science.

Note that this applies to all courses used for Computer Science graduate requirements, including systems, theory, and breadth requirements.

To change your enrollment for a graduate course between SAT/UNSAT and letter grading, please contact Abby Rahn in the Office of Academic Programs for additional details (including how you can request a course to be graded SAT/UNSAT).


  • The deadline to change grading basis or to drop a course is April 13.
  • SAT/UNSAT for Graduate Students corresponds to a B- or better. See https://infoforfaculty.fas.harvard.edu/book/grading-system
  • MIT courses graded P/F in Spring 2020 will count as SAT/UNSAT for graduate students and AB/SM students.


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.