In the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree program, you’ll hone the critical thinking skills essential to success in any profession. And you’ll develop the ability to communicate your ideas effectively—both in writing and in person before an audience.
To build specialized industry knowledge to suit your career and interests, you can select a field of study and a minor.
You can supplement your coursework with a variety of special academic options at Harvard, including research opportunities and programs at the Harvard Innovation Lab.
1. Choose an area of concentration
This will be the cornerstone of your program and help guide your course selection. You choose either:
- Social sciences
You can check out the types of courses in each concentration by using the degree course search.
2. Consider an optional field of study and minor
You have the option of selecting a field of study or minor, enabling you to focus your coursework on a specialized area. Browse fields and minors.
3. Fulfill core degree requirements
You need 128 credits to earn the degree. You can transfer up to 64. Most of our courses are 4 credits. See a sample pathway of how you might complete all requirements.
On-campus requirement: You can complete the majority of your courses online if you wish, but four on-campus courses are required.
Area of concentration: Earn 40 credits in your concentration (at least 32 credits at Harvard).
Distribution requirement: In addition, take courses across the three concentrations:
- 8 credits in humanities
- 8 credits in science
- 8 credits in social sciences
- 8 credits from outside the areas of concentration
Expository writing: 8 credits, 4 of which must be EXPO E-25—required for admission.
Foreign language: 8 credits in one lower-level language (e.g., French I and II), 4 credits in the second semester of one language (e.g., French II), or 4 credits in one upper-level language (e.g., Intermediate French I). You have the option to choose our reading courses, French and Spanish E-1x and E-1y, where you learn how to read and translate rather than speak the language. You complete both terms in sequence, and you can’t mix and match with speaking courses.
Quantitative reasoning: 4 Harvard credits required.
Moral reasoning: 4 Harvard credits required.
Writing intensive: 12 Harvard credits.
Harvard instructors: 52 credits in courses taught by Harvard instructors.
Upper-level courses: 60 credits of upper-level coursework.
All core degree requirements, area of concentration, distribution, foreign language, quantitative reasoning, moral reasoning, and writing intensive must be completed with a grade of C- or higher.
For expository writing, EXPO E-/S-25 must be completed with B or higher grade and another 4-credit expository writing course with a C- or higher grade.
After being admitted with a 3.0 or higher GPA, you need to maintain good academic standing with a 2.0 or higher GPA throughout the program and to graduate.
Limit your withdrawal grades. After five, they begin to count as a zero (failing grade) in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.