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Summer Seminars at Harvard Summer School

Experience small, highly interactive classes at Harvard Summer School.

4/06/2018 | Academics | 4 minute read

Picture of Rebecca Bakken
Written By:
Rebecca Bakken

Whether you're a Harvard student staying near campus over the summer or you’re visiting from another university for an immersive experience, Summer Seminars at Harvard Summer School give undergraduate students the unique opportunities and personal faculty instruction that’s hard to find on a large campus.


These seven-week, on-campus courses are limited to 15 students each to keep class sizes small. The benefits you’ll enjoy during Summer Seminars include:

Small Class Sizes

The learning experience is maximized for students when enrollment is limited, allowing for open and dynamic discussion, peer study groups, in-class presentations, and equal opportunity participation in the classroom.

Close Faculty Interaction

Another benefit to small class sizes is personal guidance and advising with a faculty member. Throughout the seminar, students can consult with and learn from instructors in a small-group or one-to-one format that lets them dig deep into a subject and build valuable expertise.

Independent Research Opportunities

Learn the researching and writing skills that will let you rise to the top of your undergraduate class or prepare you for graduate school. Your Summer Seminar instructor will give you the frameworks and advice needed to complete a final research project in your area of study.

Inspired by Harvard’s renowned freshman seminars that get students acclimated and engaged in campus life, the goal of Summer Seminars is to give both Harvard and visiting students the unique chance to study with us in a small-group format.

Summer Seminars are available for undergraduate credits only.

Summer 2020 Seminars

Human Evolution
Review 8 million years of evolutionary history in seven weeks. In this seminar,  you gain first-hand experience in research methods and laboratory exercises working with fossils and artifacts from Harvard museums.

The Insanity Defense
Explore the insanity defense in the legal system, as well as its impact on psychology, law, and society. Using case materials and empirical research, you’ll learn the history of the defense, understand its impact, and examine the arguments that have arisen from the controversial defense.

(Very) Contemporary American Fiction
Read some of the most vital works of American fiction to appear in recent years—works that deepen our understanding of our contemporary moment. This is a rare opportunity to study the great literature of the here-and-now. Students complete a creative project exploring their own experience of time, both in the course and out.

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