Featured Spring Courses in Social Science & Cultural Studies

November 16, 2018

For centuries, philosophers, artists, historians, and scientists have examined the human experience to gain a deeper understanding of who we are and our place in the world. In our courses, you can dive deep into what makes people tick, how societies develop, and lessons from past civilizations in your own pursuit of understanding what it means to be human.

Note: Some courses have limited space and fill quickly. Act early to save your seat!

Self and Identity

Self and Identity

Gain insight into psychological perspectives on self and identity. You’ll learn how we develop a sense of self and navigate multiple identities. And you’ll explore how these identities affect our thoughts, motives, feelings, and behavior.

Format: On campus or online

Taught by: Alexandra Sedlovskaya, Assistant Director, C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard Business School

Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes

Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes

Look beneath the surface of superhero narratives, and you can discover complex stories ripe for philosophical investigation. In this course you’ll consider the struggles of Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and other favorite heroes. And you’ll gain a deeper understanding of metaphysics, moral relativism, and other core areas of philosophy.

Format: Online

Taught by: Christopher Robichaud, Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School



Famed political philosopher Michael Sandel guides you through an analysis of classical and contemporary theories of justice. You’ll look at issues like affirmative action, income distribution, and same-sex marriage through various lenses. And you’ll learn how to critically examine your own views.

Format: Online

Taught by: Michael J. Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, Harvard University

Poetry in America: From the Civil War through Modernism

Poetry in America: From the Civil War through Modernism

In this course, Professor Elisa New guides you through a critical era in American literature. Explore the poetry of Civil War-era poets like Walt Whitman and W.E.B. DuBois. Then traverse into the era of modernism, when the likes of T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and Langston Hughes sought to break free from past traditions.

Format: Online

Taught by:

  • Elisa New, Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, Harvard University
  • Gillian Osborne

Anthropology and Human Rights

Anthropology and Human Rights

Apply ethnographic field methods and interpretive analysis to human rights issues and debates. In this course, you combine an introduction to the formal, theoretical, and normative structures of human rights with analyses of contemporary case studies.

Format: On campus

Taught by: Theodore Macdonald, Jr., PhD, Lecturer on Social Studies, Harvard University

Interested in taking a course in the spring?

Registration for spring courses is open through January 27. Learn how to register

Looking for more courses?

We’re offering nearly 500 courses in the spring term.


Want to earn a Harvard credential?

We offer many options for students seeking post-graduate credentials in social science and cultural studies. 

Explore Graduate Degrees and Certificates in Social Science and Cultural Studies

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Registration is Open!

Spring course registration is open through January 27. Interested in a 3-week January session course? Register by December 19. You can browse the course catalog.