Proposing Courses

Photo of Caroline Light discussing course

Interested in teaching in the Gen Ed program?

Tenured faculty, tenure-track faculty, and faculty with renewable teaching appointments at Harvard are welcome to propose courses for the Program in General Education.


Ideally, a suitable Gen Ed course will satisfy the following general principles (this is meant to be a helpful guide, not hard and fast criteria):

  • the title and description of the course are concept-driven
  • course is geared toward non-specialists
  • it is not an introduction to a scholarly discipline, nor is it centered on illustrating the methods of a particular scholarly discipline to a non-specialist audience. It may, however, deploy various disciplinary methods in order to elucidate the course concept.
  • it is unusually explicit in drawing connections between the classroom and the world beyond it, between the subject students are studying now and the people they will one day become. (If this is implicit in the submitted materials but not made explicit, we will invite faculty to make this explicit.) Such connections may be found in courses on contemporary topics, as well as in aesthetic questions that have a long history or an artistic genre or other phenomenon that has long engaged humanity.

The Standing Committee on General Education reviews proposals on a rolling basis during the fall and spring terms. The initial step requires a course title and a student-oriented description (150 to 250 words) of the course you have in mind, as well as a brief summary for the committee on how the course satisfies the general principles for what makes a Gen Ed course, included above. Please send your course title, student-oriented description, and summary to

We encourage you to review some logistical guidelines on our Guidance for Faculty page. You may also find it helpful to view a sample, annotated version of a Gen Ed course description. Syllabi for Gen Ed courses are available on request.


    Questions about Gen Ed?

    Gen Ed is hosting virtual drop-in advising Tuesday-Friday during the summer.  We also welcome online questions.

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