Course Preview Period



Course Preview Period

Before the Term Begins

Finding and enrolling in courses at the start of each academic term can be both exciting and challenging. Many factors enter into course choice: concentration requirements, workload, scheduling, as well as exploring new fields and questions. Course Preview Period provides you with the resources and events to find and select interesting courses, while also giving you the time, before classes officially start, to plan your schedules and meet with your academic advisers.

In lieu of Shopping Period (or Early Shopping) for Spring 2022, Course Preview Period begins on January 14, 2022, before classes start. The Preview Period offers students a chance to explore course options, attend synchronous and asynchronous course events, and enroll in courses.

Key Facts and Dates

On January 10, 2022, Crimson Carts open. On this date, you will be able to add courses from the my.harvard Course Catalog into your Crimson Cart and begin submitting any necessary petitions for individual courses.

On January 12, 2022, Course Registration begins. On this date, you will be able to enroll in any approved courses in your Crimson Cart. You must meet with your first-year, sophomore, or concentration adviser between January 12 and the course registration deadline on January 20, 2022 in order to release the electronic advising hold and enroll in courses.

The Spring 2022 Course Preview Period dates are January 14, 2022 – January 20, 2022. On these dates, you will be able to explore courses you are interested in, attend synchronous events, view asynchronous resources, and begin to submit petitions and enroll in courses.

January 18, 2022 is generally the deadline to enroll in course lotteries and limited enrollment courses. You will be notified of most results the following day (January 19). Check department websites and course canvas pages for specific deadlines.

January 20, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET is the deadline for course registration. You must enroll in your minimum course load, typically 16 credits (equivalent to four Harvard 4-credit courses), and complete required petitions. Any student that submits their enrollment after this deadline will incur a charge of $40.00 per week until their enrollment is submitted.

On Monday, January 24, 2022, classes begin, following a Monday schedule.

Though Course Preview Period and Course Registration will occur before the start of classes, you will have the opportunity to make changes to your schedule during Add/Drop period, which runs from Friday, January 21 through Tuesday, February 22, 2022, the Fifth Monday of the term. From Friday, January 21 – Monday, February 7, 2022 (Third Monday), you may add or drop a course without paying a fee. After February 7, 2022, you can still add or drop a course until the official Add/Drop deadline on Monday, February 22, 2022, with a fee

For a complete list of Spring 2022 academic calendar dates, visit the FAS Registrar’s Office website.

For detailed instructions on how to browse, register, and enroll in courses on my.harvard, visit Harvard University Information Technology’s (HUIT) Help website.

Exploring and Selecting Courses

There are many tools and resources to assist you in determining whether a course will be a best fit for you this academic term.

  • Individual course syllabi: A course’s syllabus often provides the most detailed description and overview of the course. Access course syllabi through individual course Canvas websites or on Syllabus Explorer.
  • Canvas: Canvas is the platform for FAS course websites. You may view syllabi, assignments, announcements, and messages for courses. Access to course Canvas sites is available through the course descriptions on my.harvard. Additionally, when you place courses in your Crimson Cart on my.harvard, you will receive announcements posted via Canvas sites.
  • my.harvard Course Search: Use my.harvard to browse courses, create a Favorites list, and enroll in courses, including those that are available for cross-registration at other Harvard schools and MIT. Discover FAS courses on innovative or timely topics through the “Have you Considered?” section, or access the PDF version of the FAS course offerings (both available on my.harvard. Visit the IT Help Center to learn more about how to use the course search and tips for narrowing your course search on my.harvard.
  • Academic Advising Report (AAR): The Academic Advising Report is a tool that aggregates all the Harvard College requirements in one place to facilitate transparency in advising, course selection, and report on individual student progress towards degree. The AAR is accessible through my.harvard.
  • Q Evaluations and Q Guide: The Q guide provides important student feedback about courses and faculty, and can be used as a helpful resource when selecting courses. The Q guide aggregates student-collected data such as average hours of workload per week, student comments about the course, and evaluations of the teaching staff. Use the Course Selection Tool to browse past course evaluations and view individual Q scores for classes you are interested in. Course descriptions on my.harvard also link to past Q evaluations.
  • Curricle, developed by the metaLAB (at) Harvard, enables users to explore the Harvard curriculum through engaging visualizations and plan a tentative schedule before completing registration through my.harvard.
  • Syllabus Explorer: Syllabus Explorer is a dynamic web application that gives students at participating Harvard Schools the ability to search for, explore, and download syllabi.
  • Your Personal Advising Network (instructors, advisers, Advising Programs Office, Peer Advising Fellows, Tutors, and Faculty or Resident Deans): There are many individuals and advisers who are ready and willing to support you in the process of finding and enrolling in courses. We encourage you to reach out to these individuals as needed to find answers to your questions or concerns.

For additional resources and more information about the tools above, visit the Registrar’s Office page on Course Registration and Preview Period or the Choosing Courses page on the Advising Programs Office website.

Departments and individual courses may have synchronous events in addition to all of the resources on Canvas pages and departmental websites. Courses may advertise Preview Period events through their Canvas sites, department websites, and course descriptions on my.harvard.

You can also contact the course instructor or department website for questions about individual courses or any Course Preview offerings.

canvas sie screen shot

We encourage you to take advantage of the Course Preview Period to review Canvas sites and syllabi, speak with your academic adviser, and attend events. Plan your Course Preview Period so that you can not only explore the courses you are interested in, but also be prepared to enroll in courses by the course registration deadline.

Note that not all courses will host synchronous preview events. Many courses may provide asynchronous information like recorded events or course materials. You may find that some synchronous course events occur at the same time, or within the same day. If you are finding it difficult to attend a course meeting or have a conflict, you may reach out to individual course instructors, who will likely have ideas for how you can learn more about their courses.

There are many considerations when creating a course schedule, such as concentration, General Education, or divisional requirements, options to take courses such as Freshman Seminars, and balancing academic workload and different types of assignments. We encourage students to use the Harvard College Student Handbook when determining course schedules and planning the fulfillment of academic requirements. The Office of Undergraduate Education’s web page provides a great visual on the Harvard College Curriculum.

As part of your planning, consider that many courses will require lab or discussion sections in addition to scheduled course meeting times. To ensure you can meet all requirements for a course and attend all necessary components, consider how you might schedule labs or discussion sections, and how many courses with labs or discussion sections it may be reasonable to take during one term.

onsider how much time will be required for homework outside of each course, the types of assignments for a course, and a course’s in-class hours, including lab sections or discussions. Connect with your first-year, sophomore, or concentration adviser in order to determine a class schedule that is manageable in terms of workload and balances both time, necessary assignments, and academic intensity. Plan to spread out your requirements over your remaining academic terms at Harvard College in order to balance your workload. Academic Coaches and workshops offered at the Academic Resource Center can help with time management, organization, managing academic anxiety, and more.

For additional questions to consider when choosing courses, visit Advising Programs Office (APO), or watch the APO webinar on Building Your Advising Network and Choosing Courses. For more information about requirements and the Harvard College Curriculum, visit:

Academic Advising Conversations

ou have an expansive advising network that is willing to support you in your course planning and enrollment.

You are required to meet with your first-year, sophomore, or concentration adviser prior to the course registration deadline (January 20, 2022). You will be unable to enroll in courses until your adviser approves the courses in your Crimson Cart and lifts the Advising Hold. When meeting with advisers, you may find it helpful to bring any questions or concerns that you have about courses, concentrations, grading, or requirements.

Course Registration

You must register for courses via my.harvard in order to receive academic credit. For Spring 2022, you can begin enrolling in courses on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, and the deadline to complete enrollment is Thursday, January 20, 2022.

Course registration is not complete until you have enrolled in your minimum required course load. Typically, this minimum course load is 16 credits, or four Harvard 4-credit courses. Any required petitions for course lotteries, cross-registration, or Independent Study must be approved by the course registration deadline or the Add/Drop deadline.

For more information about course registration, visit the Registrar’s Office site. For detailed instructions and an overview on how to browse, register, and enroll in courses on my.harvard, visit Harvard University Information Technology’s (HUIT) Help website

Many courses will require additional discussion sections, labs, or other secondary components. When you enroll in a course in my.harvard, you will be prompted to enroll in any required labs or sections. For many courses, you will initially enroll in a generic “placeholder” lab or discussion section. After registration, the instructor or teaching fellow will reach out to collect preferred times for labs or sections and assign students appropriately. For questions about individual course sections or labs, contact your course instructor.

Many courses with enrollment caps will conduct course lotteries or request student petitions for interested students. Courses may have specific lottery or petition instructions and deadlines. It is important to submit petitions through my.harvard before the advertised lottery deadline, and contact your instructor directly with individual course lottery questions. See the Harvard College Program in General Education website to learn more about General Education lotteries.

Many courses, such as Freshman Seminars or Expository Writing, are only open to certain groups of students, such as first-years. Some upper-level courses within certain concentrations will require prerequisites, relevant experience, or instructor permission before enrolling. Read the full course descriptions on my.harvard and course syllabi to determine whether you may be permitted to register for the course.

  • Freshman Seminars: application due Sunday, January 16, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET
  • Gen Ed: deadline Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 11:59 PM
  • LPCE102: lottery deadline on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET
  • Expos 20 and Expos Studio 20 Spring Registration
    • sectioning opens at 10 AM ET on Wednesday, January 19, 2022
    • sectioning closes at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, January 20, 2022
    • section assignments released by end of day on Friday, January 21, 2022

Depending on the course, there may be multiple options available for grading, including taking a course for a Pass/Fail (P/F) or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (SAT/UNS) grade. For information about grading and honors, visit the Harvard College Handbook for Students. We encourage you also to speak with your course instructor and adviser if you want to take a course without the traditional letter grade system.

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