Study Abroad

The Department encourages its concentrators to study abroad. Exposure to other cultures and ways of life not only enriches the college experience; it also lends a useful perspective to historical study, which is itself, after all, an extended exercise in coming to grips with peoples, places, eras, and cultures foreign to our own. Recent graduates of the program have studied everywhere from Britain to Zimbabwe to Manchuria.

Well in advance of going abroad, students should initiate discussions with the History Undergraduate Office, and also consult the Office of International Education (OIE). The OIE provides information on programs abroad and on Harvard’s policies and processes, and can help students decide which program will best meet their goals as well as how to secure degree credit for time spent abroad. Students should start this process as early as possible, and no later than the start of the term preceding their time away; one must file a preliminary application by October 15 in order to go abroad for the spring term, and by March 15 for the fall of the following academic year.

Some study abroad programs require letters of recommendation. For guidelines on requesting letters of recommendation, please see http://history.fas.harvard.edu/guidelines-requesting-letters-recommendation?admin_panel=1

Courses taken abroad need not be identical to courses taught at Harvard, but should require comparable effort and seriousness. Note that only full semester courses, taken for letter or number grade (not Pass/Fail) can count toward concentration requirements, and all such arrangements must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). (The OIP provides students with the appropriate paperwork, which the student must bring to the Undergraduate Office as part of the application process.)

The History Department is flexible in granting credit for courses taken abroad. For details, please refer to the following charts.

One Term Abroad

Courses Taken Credit Granted (instruction in English) Credit Granted (instruction in foreign language)
1 History Course 1 course 1 course
2 History Courses 1 course 2 courses
3+ History Courses 1 course 2 courses

Two Terms Abroad

Courses taken Credit Granted (instruction in English) Credit Granted (instruction in foreign language)
1 History course 1 course 1 course
2 History courses 2 courses 2 courses
3 History courses 2 courses 3 courses
4+ History courses 2 courses 3 courses