Requirements Explained

Social Studies 10a & 10b

Introduction to Social Studies. All students must complete both halves of the yearlong introduction to the classics of social theory. 

Social Studies 98 (2)

The purpose of junior tutorials in Social Studies is to immerse students in a detailed and focused study of empirical, theoretical, or historical social questions. Junior tutorials also teach social science methodology, providing students with instruction on research techniques and offering them experience in conducting primary research in preparation for their senior theses. 

Students who study abroad can waive one of their junior tutorials if they submit a second major research paper, either written abroad or in a social science or history course taken at Harvard, to the Director of Studies. 

Social Studies 99

Seniors take two terms of Social Studies 99, the senior thesis course, and work one-on-one with a thesis supervisor as they research and write their thesis. 

Focus Field Courses (4-6)

The focus field must include a minimum of four, and a maximum of six half-courses, normally drawn from at least two social science departments and including at least one half-course on an historical topic. Students may petition the Board of Instruction to include social science courses given in non-social science departments. At least two courses must be taken in FAS.

Economics Requirement:

  • Economics 10a,10b, or both
  • Economics 50 or 50a (can fulfill either the economics or statistics requirement, but not both)
  • Any economics course for which Economics 10a or 10b is recommended preparation

Statistics Requirement

  • A 5 on the AP Statistics Exam
  • Economics 50 or 50a (see above), 1123, 1126
  • Government 50, 51, 2001
  • Psychology 1900
  • Statistics 10, 104, 109, 110, 111

Methodology Requirement

Social Studies students who study empirical (how and why) questions are strongly encouraged to take Social Studies 50, “Foundations of Social Science Research,” and students who study social and political theory are strongly encouraged to take Social Studies 60, “Methods Training for Social and Political Theorists.” These courses have been designed to provide Social Studies concentrators with the knowledge and skills they will need to write their senior theses.

However, students studying empirical questions can take the following courses, which teach the practice of research. Approved courses are:

  • Anthropology 1610
  • Government 52 (formerly Gov 1006), 62, 1010
  • Sociology 128, 1157

Students studying political or social theory or intellectual history can petition to take a methods course or other course that prepares them to conduct primary source research. Examples of such courses include:

  • Government 63, 94 SAF
  • Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights 133 (cross-listed as WGS 1204)

*These courses are current from the 2019-20 and Fall 2020 catalog. Courses that previously counted for credit towards the economics, statistics, or methods requirements but are no longer listed in the catalog will still count.

NOTE:  All of the above courses count towards a student’s concentration GPA (e.g., if a student takes Psych 1900 and Stat 104, both will count towards the concentration GPA).