Guide for Prospective Students

Explore History & Literature

First-year students and sophomores interested in History & Literature are encouraged to take one of our HL90 Seminars to get to know the concentration. There are no prerequisite courses, and every year History & Literature accepts concentrators who did not take any courses in the concentration prior to applying.

We believe that your first and second years of college are a time for intellectual exploration, so choose courses that excite you and change the way you understand yourself in the world. Then, seek out a concentration that will give you more of what you want and support your intellectual growth. If you are considering History & Literature, we encourage you to contact our Peer Advisors, current students who are eager to share their experiences in the concentration.

Many History & Literature concentrators are students with a strong interest in the humanities who do not want to be restricted to a single discipline. The structure of our interdisciplinary program provides coherent knowledge of a field and extensive writing support, so even if you have not identified a particular region or period of focus, you can count on History & Literature to prepare you to write a strong senior thesis. 

If you have questions about requirements or any other aspect of the concentration, please visit us in the Barker Center, Room 122. During the academic year, our most experienced faculty advisers hold open office hours Monday though Thursday afternoons from 1-4. You are also welcome to contact us individually or send an email to histlit [at] fas.harvard.edu.

Declare History & Literature

Step 1: Sophomores wishing to concentrate in History & Literature should submit a completed Application for Admission to History & Literature to Barker 122 by 4 pm on November 1.

Step 2: Upon submitting an application, you will be asked to schedule an advising meeting with History & Literature faculty advisers. This conversation takes the place of the Plan of Study online, and it is the first of many advising meetings that form the backbone of the concentration.

Step 3: Declare History & Literature on my.harvard! You do not need to complete the Plan of Study online. 

If you miss the application deadline, don't despair! Every year a few students join the concentration later without difficulty. We are here to help you find the right concentration, so please contact us to discuss your next steps.