For Freshmen

Welcome to Harvard!

The freshman year is a time for you to explore. Although you do not need to know your exact concentration during the freshman year, now is the time to gain a solid foundation that will allow you to specialize in subsequent years.

We recommend that you take a look at the Life Sciences Advising Booklet (right). to learn about the life sciences concentrations and recommended courses. Pages 1-5 have information specifically for freshmen.

Here are some other things you might find helpful:

Courses and placement exams:  If you are considering concentrating in the Life Sciences, you should take the online Chemistry and Biology placement exams during the summer before your freshman year.  General information about placement exams can be found on the Freshman Dean's Office website.

Freshmen interested in the life sciences typically take a set of interdisciplinary, foundational courses.  Visit the Courses page for more information about Life Sciences 1a, Life and Physical Sciences A, and Life Sciences 1b.  Additional courses for freshmen with an emphasis on the life sciences include:

    • Life Sciences 100r or Freshman Seminar 25o – These are both hands-on research courses.
    • Freshman seminars – Each year, a number of faculty from the life sciences offer freshman seminars.
    • Expository writing – Some Expos classes have a focus on the life science

Advising:  Your freshman adviser is a great resource for helping you navigate your first year at Harvard.  For more specific questions about course selection and concentrations in the life sciences, feel free to talk with any of the life sciences advisors.  The life sciences advisors are happy to talk with you about your interests, regardless of whether you only have vague ideas about what you would like to study or whether you have more concrete plans.

Research: Some students get involved with research during their freshman year, while others wait until their sophomore or junior year.  If you would like to begin exploring research opportunities, visit the research pages of this website and talk with Undergraduate Research Advisor, Dr. Margaret A. Lynch.

Additional Resources of Interest: The Advising Programs Office (APO) has information about all of the concentrations at Harvard.

Mailing List: We would love to add you to our life sciences mailing list so that we can keep you apprised of events and advising opportunities. Please complete our Pre-concentrator Survey so that we know that you are interested in the life sciences.