Teaching Practicum: History 3920hf

The teaching practicum History 3920hf is the primary way the department trains new student teachers. All first-time teaching fellows take this course, which presents an introduction to teaching history, both at Harvard and beyond. Through practice, observation, reading and discussion, students gain familiarity with a range of techniques and styles of teaching. Class meetings provide an open forum for first-time teaching fellows and tutors to share ongoing concerns and experiences. The course meets approximately five times per semester. Each meeting centers on a specific aspect of teaching history, including lecturing, leading discussions, responding to student writing, and balancing teaching and research. At the end of the year, students have the opportunity to reflect on their teaching experience and begin assembling a teaching portfolio.

While students are enrolled in the teaching practium, they also work as teaching fellows for courses offered in the History Department or in other departments at the University. During the semesters that students receive teaching fellowships, they typically teach two sections. Enrolled students can learn more about teaching fellowships within the Teaching section of the Graduate Resources website.

Residential Tutor and Freshman Proctor

Residential positions are available to all graduate students. In early January applications for freshman proctor and house tutor positions can be made to the freshman Dean’s Office and also to the the undergraduate houses. The usual stipend is room and board plus half of a teaching fifth for resident tutors or freshman proctors, and free meals for non-resident tutors.

Tutors and proctors are expected to participate fully in the life of the houses and provide academic advice to undergraduate history concentrators. Graduate students may consult the Graduate School bulletin for application deadlines; the coordinator of graduate studies, may provide a departmental reference for applicants.

The graduate program office also hires house advisors, which are held in conjunction with the residential positions. For more information please reach the coordinator of graduate studies.


Advanced graduate students may explore teaching opportunities in two undergraduate concentrations, Social Studies and History & Literature. These concentrations have traditionally hired many graduates from the History PhD program. Applications for these positions are completed in late winter for the following academic year. Social Studies and History & Literature may renew lecturer appointments for up to three years after completion of the degree. If you are interested in pursuing a lectureship position, contact the concentration offices by early January.