With Double Concentrations Approved, Some Students Are Reconsidering Their Study Plans | News
Earlier this month, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences overwhelmingly approved a proposal allowing undergraduates at the College to pursue dual majors starting next fall.
Currently, undergraduate students who wish to study two disciplines must either pursue a joint concentration, which requires writing a thesis combining the two subjects, or add a secondary field, which has fewer requirements and less administrative support. .
Under this plan, students pursuing a dual concentration can double up to eight credits – usually two courses – in both study plans. According to Harvard spokeswoman Alixandra A. Nozzolillo, the double-counting limitation means that students cannot simultaneously pursue two concentrations whose coursework overlaps significantly.
More information on double concentrations will be published in the 2022-2023 College Handbook, she added.
Many students welcome the new option, saying it could affect their chosen course of study.
Jonathan Y. Fu ’25 said he now plans to pursue a dual major in Physics and Classics.
“It seems like something Harvard should have done a while ago, but I’m glad they did it this year,” he said.
Prior to the adoption of the dual-major plan, Fu said he was most likely going to major in physics with a high school in classics because combining the two fields into a common dissertation “would be quite difficult.”
Glen Liu ’25 said he thinks a lot of people who considered a joint concentration did so because it was the only option for them if they were interested in two different fields.
“I think a significant portion of people who are considering or originally planned to do a joint concentration will do a double concentration,” he said.
Paul Yang ’25 said he plans to major in both computer science and mechanical or electrical engineering. He previously considered pursuing a high school education in computer science, but said he preferred to be able to explore more courses with a dual concentration.
“With a high school, you only take four courses, so you don’t get a lot of computer experience,” he said. “There are so many computer science courses at Harvard, and it’s so hard to find the four that really interest you.”
On the other hand, Yang said he would need more information on how the College would count its credits when the two concentrations have more than two overlapping required courses.
“CS and Engineering, these two course loads are very similar in terms of the courses you need to take,” he said. “I’m just curious how it’s going to balance out or how it’s going to affect concentrations.”
Nonetheless, Yang said he considers himself “lucky” because as a rookie he still has room in his schedule to accommodate a potential double focus.
Dora Ivkovich ’24, on the other hand, said she thought it would be impossible for her sophomore to now change her curriculum to a double major in math and economics.
“Given that we’ve done four semesters already, unless I’ve taken three math classes for one or two semesters, it’s just not doable, honestly,” Ivkovich said.
Eric A. Forteza ’24, who declared a joint concentration in government and history, said he would have considered a dual concentration more seriously had the option been offered to him in freshman year.
“I think I would have taken a more equal balance of history and government because right now I’ve taken more government courses than history,” he said.
Forteza added that for him, pursuing a dual major now would limit the number of electives he could fit into his schedule.
“With the double concentration, I would have had to take 23 courses and I just wouldn’t have had time to take any other electives,” he said.
—Writer Ariel H. Kim can be reached at [email protected]