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Secondary Field

Information technology and computation has had a profound impact on many aspects of society, health care, and the scientific disciplines. As such, a foundation of formal training in computer science can benefit undergraduate concentrators in many fields of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. To provide this training, a secondary field in Computer Science requires that students with primary interests in other fields take four courses in computer science.

Key points

Here are the key points about the secondary concentration (see below for full details):

  1. You need to take four computer science courses that either have a course numbers 100 or greater or are one of CS 50 ,CS 51 and CS 61.

  2. All of the courses used for satisfying the secondary requirement must be Harvard Computer Science Courses. No MIT, study abroad or Harvard courses from concentrations other than CS are allowed. If a course is cross-listed as both a computer science course and a course in another concentration then it counts even if a student takes the course under its other number. Computer Science courses offered by the Harvard Summer School may be used for a Secondary Field in Computer Science only if they would count for concentration in Computer Science (see here ).

  3. None of the four courses can be taken Pass/Fail.

  4. CS 50 can be taken Sat/Unsat but all other courses must be letter graded, and the grade achieved in these courses must be C or better (i.e., a C- is not sufficient).

  5. At most one course can be double counted for a secondary field and a concentration.

Transfer students who wish to use some of their coursework in their prior institution towards secondary credit should contact the computer science DUS’s.

You can declare or change your secondary through my.harvard, see this page for instructions.

Formal requirements

The requirement for a secondary in computer science is 4 courses (16 credits). Any four computer science courses with course numbers 100 or greater. Students may also count Computer Science 50, 51, and 61 toward this requirement.

None of the four courses may be taken Pass/Fail, and the student must achieve a C or better in each of the courses. While Computer Science 50 will count for secondary credit if it is taken for a grade of SAT, students intending to do a secondary in computer science should take the course for a letter grade. Freshman Seminars may not be counted toward secondary requirements. Only courses offered by Harvard Computer Science may be included in the program — no MIT courses and no substitutions of courses from other programs, including study abroad programs, are allowed. Computer Science courses offered by the Harvard Summer School may be used for a Secondary Field in Computer Science only if they would count for concentration in Computer Science.

At most one course may be used for both a secondary field and a concentration. (This is a College-wide requirement; see Student FAQs for Secondary Fields.)

Advising Resources and Expectations

Questions concerning this secondary field should be addressed to the Co-Directors of Undergraduate Studies in Computer Science, Professors Boaz Barak and Stephen Chong (cs-dus@seas.harvard.edu). The Directors are available to help students choose computer science courses that best meet their interests and objectives.

More information on the Secondary Field in Computer Science

How to Declare

Follow the instructions here to declare a secondary in Computer Science via my.harvard. You are welcome (but not required) to contact the co-Directors of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in Computer Science (cs-dus@seas.harvard.edu) with a list of courses you plan to count towards the secondary field.