Harvard University

Harvard University is also featured in our ranking Top 50 Bachelor's Degree Programs in Psychology.

Harvard University Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

In this undergraduate program, students delve into the scientific study of the mind. Concepts such as perception, reality, the senses, and memories are explored through coursework. Students who choose psychology also choose a specific track. These include a General Track, the Mind/Brain/Behavior: Cognitive Science Track and the Life Sciences: Cognitive Neuroscience & Evolutionary Psychology Track.

All psychology majors are required to take a General Education course called Science of Living Systems 20. Additionally, students must take at least two Foundational Courses. These include Cognitive Neuroscience, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology and Neurobiology of Behavior.

Students also complete a series of Advanced Courses that support their academic track. General Track students need six Advanced Courses while Cognitive Science Track students need four. Students in the Life Science Track must complete three Advanced Courses. Examples of Advanced Courses include Exploring Addiction, Creativity Research: Eccentrics, Geniuses, and Harvard Students; What Disease Teaches about Cognition; Psychopaths and Psychopathy and Cognitive Neuroscience of Meditation. Harvard presents dozens of options for Advanced Courses, allowing students to tailor their curriculum to their interests and goals.

Psychology majors also engage in a Sophomore Tutorial for one semester. This seminar course allows students to explore psychology theory by examining primary sources. Senior Tutorials also may be required depending upon the chosen track. Weekly discussions, scientific writing, and an essay are all requirements for the tutorials. Other required courses include Basic Methods and Research Methods.

Students in each track further may decide to pursue a thesis. Slightly different classes may be required, and each student must complete an in-depth thesis project prior to graduation.

About Harvard University

Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest university in the U.S. It is a private, Ivy League school that places a heavy emphasis on research. Because of its many innovations and discoveries, Harvard is widely considered to be one of the best universities in the world.

Harvard has more than 2,400 faculty members plus some 10,400 academic appointments at its affiliated teaching hospitals. That faculty instructs approximately 6,700 undergraduates and an additional 15,250 students in graduate and professional programs. Alumni include 32 heads of state, 48 Nobel Laureates and a similar number of Pulitzer Prize winners. The institution is home to the largest academic library in the world with more than 20 million volumes. Harvard's 11 main academic units are served by the library. Additionally, the university boasts several museums and collections. These include the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Harvard Semitic Museum.

Harvard University had relatively humble beginnings. It was named for John Harvard, who willed his library of 400 books and half of his estate to the newly established institution in 1638. The first commencement was held in 1642, with a total of nine graduates receiving their degrees. Many other firsts soon followed, including the enrollment of a Massachuset Indian, Increase Mather earning the first Doctor of Divinity degree and the founding of the medical school. Several alumni of the school would sign the Declaration of Independence, and many U.S. presidents received their degree from Harvard.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities has named Harvard the world's best institution since 2003. Forbes also ranks Harvard at the first-place spot for national universities while U.S. News & World Report ranks it in second place. Accordingly, Harvard graduates are highly sought after in the professional world, and admission to the school is considered a prestigious honor.

Harvard University Accreditation Details

Harvard is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges' Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The most recent comprehensive accreditation review occurred in 2009 with an interim report being submitted in 2013. Harvard is currently receiving a comprehensive re-evaluation.

Harvard University Application Requirements

Undergraduate applicants must submit either the Common Application, the Coalition Application or the Universal College Application. Each of these may be completed online, and most of them require the same information. An application fee of $75 is due at the time of application. In addition to the online application, candidates must complete the Harvard College Questions. ACT or SAT scores are mandatory, and students may want to submit two SAT Subject Tests to bolster their application. A School Report and high school transcript must be part of the application package. Two teacher reports, a mid-year school report and a final school report further may be required.

Admissions is an incredibly competitive process at Harvard. Accordingly, it's advisable for high school students to plan ahead by taking advanced placement courses and carrying a full academic load. The student's activities outside of the classroom also will be reviewed by admissions staff. Officials emphasize comprehensiveness and commitment to activities over variety, so heavy involvement in only one or two activities is not necessarily a negative factor. In addition to the Harvard College Questions, students will be asked to submit an essay. The essay topics are quite broad, allowing for student interpretation. This may be an opportunity for students to distinguish their application from others.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for undergraduate students is approximately $46,350 for each academic year. The Griffin Financial Aid Office is available to help students find ways to make their college education affordable.

Most Harvard students are eligible to receive several types of financial aid. This aid may include scholarships, which are entirely need-based at Harvard. After establishing the parent contribution to the cost, the financial aid office factors in student employment and any outside scholarships and grants. Any costs left over will be covered by Harvard scholarships. Students are encouraged to seek scholarship funds from outside sources to help defray the cost of higher education.

Harvard students also may seek federal and state grants such as the Federal Pell Grant or the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Massachusetts residents also may apply for the Gilbert Grant. Additionally, Harvard estimates that as many as two-thirds of students work while pursuing their studies. This employment may include a Federal Work-Study Program or term-time work expectation. Harvard can help students find work under these programs.

Loans from private and government sources further are available to Harvard students. These funds must be repaid upon graduation.