Faculty Likely to Vote on Altered Advanced Standing Requirements

Daniel E. Lieberman ’86
Daniel E. Lieberman '86 walks into University Hall to attend last December's faculty meeting.

The Faculty of Arts and Science will likely vote on a proposal to amend current guidelines for the College’s Advanced Standing program at their monthly meeting this week.

The proposal, last introduced by Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris at the December Faculty meeting, will make it more difficult for students to receive college credit for courses taken prior to matriculating. If passed, the proposal will begin affecting students in the class of 2023.

Previously, students had to apply to the Advanced Standing program using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credits and had the option of either graduating in three years or pursuing a master’s degree in their fourth year. The new program would make all students eligible for Advanced Standing.

To earn the master's degree, students must apply to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in their junior year and “complete all requirements for both degrees without reduction” in the eight semesters at Harvard, eight credits of which will count toward both the undergraduate and graduate degree.


If passed, students would still be able to use Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations for placement, at the discretion of departments, and for meeting the 2-semester language requirement in place for all undergraduates.

Faculty raised several concerns about the proposal at the last Faculty meeting in December. Some said they were worried students would be unable to complete an undergraduate degree and a master’s in four years. Computer Science professor Michael D. Mitzenmacher ’91 said the new program may affect his department’s ability to recruit students.

The proposal would disproportionately affect concentrators in the Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, divisions that see the most Advanced Standing applicants.

Last December, several students said that they were not aware of the proposal and that the recommendations surprised them. Some professors also warned that the new proposal could drive top students to peer institutions like Stanford, where advanced standing programs are significantly more popular.

At the faculty meeting on Tuesday, Claudine Gay, divisional dean of social science, will also report on the progress of the Inequality in America Initiative, first launched last October.

—Staff writer Angela N. Fu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @angelanfu.

—Staff writer Lucy Wang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lucyyloo22.


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