Non-Departmental Advanced Courses

Non-Departmental Advanced Courses are courses from other departments that allow students to explore topics in psychology from the perspective of a related discipline, and/or courses that contain relevant psychological or neuroscienctific content. 

Psychology secondary field students may count pre-approved Psychology courses offered in other sections of the catalog, but cannot count any other non-departmental courses toward the secondary field requirements.

Psychology concentrators may choose to count one or two Non-Departmental courses (limits on these courses depend on your track) towards their Advanced Course requirements. (Note that there is a separate list of courses offered in other departments that are considered Departmental courses and that do not count against these limits.)

Non-Departmental courses are broken down into two groups:

  1. Expedited Courses
  2. Petitioned Courses

Expedited Courses

Expedited courses are Non-Departmental courses that have been pre-approved as Advanced Courses by the Psychology Department. 


  • E-mail your request to count a course - including the course number, course name, and semester you took it - to, AND CC your Concentration Advisor in the same e-mail.
  • Receive an e-mail of confirmation back. This will serve as your "receipt" for the concentration credit. PLEASE SAVE this e-mail. If you do not receive a response, please follow up at
  • Cross-register (on my.harvard) if you are taking an expedited course at MIT or in other Harvard schools.  Also fill out the FAS Concentration Credit Petition form -- see Katie Powers in the Psychology Undergradute Office for the DUS signature on this form.
  • Be sure you haven't reached the limit on these courses for your track.

Below is a list of Expedited courses for Psychology concentrators listed in the Course Catalog at Please consult the department if you have a question about counting a course that is no longer offered. 

**None of these courses can count for secondary field students.**
**Students are encouraged to petition courses that have been added in the 2018-2019 academic year and are not already on the list below.**

[BRACKETED COURSES] are not being offered in the 2018-2019 academic year.

African and African American Studies (AFRAMER)

  • [African and African American Studies 197, Poverty, Race, and Health]
  • [African and African American Studies 16, Sociology of the Black Community]

Anthropology (ANTHRO)

  • Anthropology 1900, Counseling as Colonization? Native American Encounters with the Clinical Psy-ences
  • Anthropology 1988, Kinship, Citizenship, and Belonging

Applied Mathematics (APMTH)

  • Applied Mathematics 231, Decision Theory
  • [Applied Mathematics 126, Statistics and Inference in Biology]

Biomedical Engineering (BE)

  • Biomedical Engineering 130, Neural Control of Movement

Computer Sciences (COMPSCI)

  • Computer Sciences 50 (Letter Grade), Introduction to Computer Science I
  • Computer Science 105 (formerly Computer Science 199R), Privacy and Technology
  • Computer Science 109, Data Science
  • Computer Science 134, Networks
  • Computer Science 136 (formerly CS 186), Economics and Computation
  • Computer Science 171, Visualization
  • Computer Science 179, Design of Usable Interactive Systems
  • Computer Science 181, Machine Learning
  • Computer Science 182, Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science 189, Autonomous Robot Systems
  • [Computer Science 96, System Design Projects]
  • [Computer Science 108, Intelligent Systems: Design and Ethical Challenges]
  • [Computer Science 187, Computational Linguistics]

Culture and Belief (CULTBLF)

  • Culture and Belief 34, Madness and Medicine
  • Culture and Belief 62 (formerly Anthropology 1640), Language and Culture
  • [Culture and Belief 58, Case Studies in the Medical Humanities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Experience of Illness and Healing]
  • [Culture and Belief 47, The Darwinian Revolution]
  • [Culture and Belief 61, Gender and Science]

Earth and Planetary Sciences (E-PSCI)

  • [Earth and Planetary Sciences 100, The Missing Matlab Course: An Introduction to Programming and Data Analysis]

Economics (ECON)

  • Economics 1010A, Intermediate Microeconomics
  • Economics 1011A, Intermediate Microeconomics: Advanced
  • Economics 1018, Cultural Economics
  • Economics 1036, The Psychology and Economics of Beliefs
  • Economics 1050, Strategy, Conflict, and Cooperation
  • Economics 1057, Game Theory with Applications to Social Behavior
  • Economics 1123, Introduction to Econometrics
  • Economics 1818, Economics of Discontinuous Change
  • [Economics 1030, Psychology and Economics]
  • [Economics 1053, Understanding Altruism]
  • [Economics 1760, Behavioral Finance]
  • [Economics 2034, Networks]

Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning (EMREAS)

  • Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning 17, Logical Reasoning (formerly Quantitative Reasoning 22, Deductive Logic)
  • [Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning 13, Analyzing Politics]

Engineering Sciences (ENG-SCI)

  • Engineering Sciences 22, Design Survivor: Experiential Lessons in Designing for Desirability
  • Engineering Sciences 139, Innovation in Science and Engineering: Conference Course
  • Engineering Sciences 201, Decision Theory
  • [Engineering Sciences 21, The Innovator’s Practice: Finding, Building, and Leading Good Ideas with Others]
  • [Engineering Sciences 157 (formerly Engineering Sciences 155), Biological Signal Processing]

Ethical Reasoning (ETHRSON)

  • Ethical Reasoning 45 (formely Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology 187), Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency

Global Health and Health Policy (GHHP)

  • Global Health and Health Policy 60, Negotiation and Conflict Management: From the Interpersonal to the International

Government (GOV)

  • Government 94DN, Mapping Social and Environmental Space
  • Government 94QA (formerly Government 98QA), Community in America
  • Government 94SAF, Safra Undergraduate Ethics Fellowship Seminar
  • Government 1005, Data
  • Government 1008, Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
  • Government 1010, Survey Research Methods
  • [Government 1093, Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature]
  • [Government 1115, Social Movements, Protest, and Politics in Comparative Perspective]
  • [Government 1430, The Politics of Personal Data]

Harvard Graduate School of Education (EDU)

  • Education H118, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition
  • [Education H382, The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural, and Contextual Perspectives on Risk and Resilience]
  • [Education H392, Childhood Trauma: Dynamics, Interventions, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives]
  • [Education T006, Adult Development]
  • [Education T560, Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Challenges of Individual Differences]

Harvard Kennedy School of Government

  • Kennedy School API 304, Behavioral Economics and Public Policy
  • Kennedy School MLD 304 (formerly API 304), Science of Behavior Change

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Social & Behavioral Sciences 299, Science-Driven Innovation in the Early Childhood Ecosystem (jointly offered with the Harvard Graduate School of Education as AH125)

History (HIST)

  • [History 1916, The History of Evidence]

History of Science (HISTSCI)

  • History of Science 149, The History and Culture of Stigma
  • History of Science 189, The World We Made: Technology and Society
  • [History of Science 108, Bodies, Sexualities, and Medicine in the Medieval Middle East]
  • [History of Science 170, Broken Brains]
  • [History of Science 174, Critical Experiments in the Human Sciences: Conference Course]
  • [History of Science 176. Brainwashing and Modern Techniques of Mind Control]
  • [History of Science 178, History of the Psychotherapies]
  • [History of Science 179, The Freudian Century]
  • [History of Science 188, Open Minds, Wired Worlds: Computers and Cyberculture]

Human Evolutionary Biology (HEB)

  • Human Evolutionary Biology 1280, Human Nature
  • Human Evolutionary Biology 1330, Primate Social Behavior
  • Human Evolutionary Biology 1328, Evolutionary Medicine: Comparative Perspectives on Medical, Surgical, and Psychiatric Illness
  • [Human Evolutionary Biology 1290, Cultural Evolution]
  • [Human Evolutionary Biology 1310, Hormones and Behavior]
  • [Human Evolutionary Biology 1312, Human Sexuality]
  • [Human Evolutionary Biology 1313, Stress]

Life Sciences (LIFESCI)

  • Life Sciences 1A, Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology
  • Life Sciences 1B, Integrated Introduction to the Life Sciences: Genetics, Genomics, and Evolution

Linguistics (LING)

  • Linguistics 83, Language, Structure, and Cognition (formerly Language, Structure, and Culture)
  • Linguistics 101, The Science of Language: An Introduction
  • Linguistics 105, Sounds of Language
  • Linguistics 106, Knowledge of Meaning

Mathematics (MATH)

  • [Mathematics 156, Mathematical Foundations of Statistical Software]

Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)

  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 64, Cell Biology in the World (formerly The Cell Biology of Human Life in the World)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 105, Systems Neuroscience
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 112, Biological Data Analysis
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 115, Cellular Basis of Neuronal Function
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 125, Molecular Basis of Behavior
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 129, The Brain: Development, Plasticity and Decline
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 145 (formerly Neurobiology 95HFB), Neurobiology of Perception and Decision-Making
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 170, Brain Invaders: Building and Breaking Barriers in the Nervous System
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology 186, Sleep and Circadian Clocks: From Biology to Public Health (formerly Circadian Biology: From Cellular Oscillators to Sleep Regulation)
  • [Molecular and Cellular Biology 101, Human Genetics]
  • [Molecular and Cellular Biology 120, Global Health Threats]
  • [Molecular and Cellular Biology 141, Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Senses and their Disorders]
  • [Molecular and Cellular Biology 148, Neurobiology of Pain]

Neuroscience (NEURO) (Department of Neurobiology changed its name to Department of Neuroscience as of 2018-19 academic year)

  • Neuroscience 101EA and EB (formerly Neurobiology 106A and B), Human Cognition: Reading and Writing the Neural Code
  • Neuroscience 101FA (formerly Neurobiology 111A), Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • Neuroscience 120, Introductory Computational Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience 130, Visual Recognition: Computational and Biophysical Perspective
  • [Neuroscience 101CA (formerly Neurobiology 102A and B, formerly Neurobiology 101hfc), Designer Neurons: How Cell Types are Generated in the Nervous System and the Lab]
  • [Neuroscience 101DA and DB (formerly Neurobiology 103A and B, formerly Neurobiology 101HFD), Building a Brain]
  • [Neuroscience 101IA and IB (formerly Neurobiology 104A and B, formerly Neurobiology 101HFI), The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction]

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB)

  • Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 50, Genetics and Genomics
  • Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 53, Evolutionary Biology
  • Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 57, Animal Behavior
  • Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 145, Genes and Behavior
  • [Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 223, Topics in Neurogenetics]

Philosophy (PHIL)

  • Philosophy 6, Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality
  • Philosophy 156, Philosophy of Mind
  • [Philosophy 14, Morality and the Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics]
  • [Philosophy 149Z, Philosophy of Science]
  • [Philosophy 177, Educational Justice: Proseminar]
  • [Philosophy 179, Race and Social Justice]

Science of Living Systems (SCILIVSY)

  • Science of Living Systems 19, Nutrition and Global Health
  • [Science of Living Systems 16, Human Evolution and Human Health]

Science of the Physical Universe (SCIPHUNV)

  • Science of the Physical Universe 13 (formerly Science A-49), Why You Hear What You Hear: The Science of Music and Sound

Social Studies (SOC-STD)

  • Social Studies 40, Philosophy and Methods of Social Science

Societies of the World (SOCWORLD)

  • Societies of the World 25, Case Studies in Global Health: Biosocial Perspectives (formerly Anthropology 1825, Health, Culture, and Community: Case Studies in Global Health)
  • Societies of the World 47, Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems

Sociology (SOCIOL)

  • Sociology 1024 (formerly Sociology 24), Introduction to Social Inequality
  • Sociology 1112 (formerly Sociology 112), Men, Women, and Work
  • Sociology 1131, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations
  • Sociology 1135 (formerly Sociology 135), Education and Culture
  • Sociology 1146 (formerly Sociology 146), Death by Design: Health Inequalities in Global Perspective
  • [Sociology 108, Inequality at Work]
  • [Sociology 1025 (formerly Sociology 125), Introduction to the Sociology of Organizations]
  • [Sociology 1027 (formerly Sociology 27), Introduction to Social Movements]
  • [Sociology 1117 (formerly Sociology 117), Social Trauma and Collective Identity]
  • [Sociology 1125 (formerly Sociology 125), Personal Networks]
  • [Sociology 1143, Just Institutions (formerly Sociology 143, Building Just Institutions)]
  • [Sociology 1170 (formerly Sociology 170), Culture and Networks]

Statistics (STAT)

  • Statistics 110, Introduction to Probability
  • Statistics 120, Introduction to Applied Bayesian Inference and Applications (formerly Introduction to Applied Bayesian Inference and Multilevel Models)
  • Statistics 121A, Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science (formerly Statistics 121, Data Science)
  • Statistics 121B, Data Science 2: Advanced Topics in Data Science
  • Statistics 139, Linear Models (formerly Statistical Sleuthing Through Linear Models)
  • Statistics 186, Casual Inference (formerly Statistical Methods for Evaluating Causal Effects)
  • [Statistics 140, Design of Experiments]
  • [Statistics 160 & 260, Design and Analysis of Sample Surveys]

Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB)

  • Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology 180, Development, Plasticity, and Regeneration in the Mammalian Brain (formerly Repair and Regeneration in the Mammalian Brain)
  • [Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology 60, Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature]
  • [Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology 182, Got (New) Brain? The Evolution of Brain Regeneration]

Theater, Dance & Media (TDM)

  • [Theater, Dance & Media 173X, Acting and Authenticity (formerly Performance Elective: Acting and Authenticity)]

United States in the World (US-WORLD)

  • United States in the World 15, Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: From Obama to Trump (formerly Is the American Racial Order Being Transformed?)
  • United States in the World 35, Dilemmas of Equity and Excellence in American K-12 Education

From the Harvard Summer School Abroad in Summer 2017 (each course counts as one half course for Psychology, even if an 8 credit course):

  • [Kisumu, Kenya: AAAS S-181S, Innovation Health Transformations in Africa]
  • [Kyoto, Japan: EALC S-29, Inequality and Society in Contemporary Japan]
  • [Oxford, England: BIOL S-113, Darwin and Contemporary Evolutionary Biology]
  • [Paris, France: BIOS S-190, Biology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development]
  • [Tokyo, Japan (RIKEN): BIOL S-141D, Exploring and Emulating the Brain]

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Petitioned Courses 

Petitioned Courses are other non-departmental FAS courses, non-FAS Harvard courses, MIT courses not already on the departmental course list, or courses taken in other departments while studying out of residence that you believe will contribute significantly to your study of psychology.

These courses must include significant psychology content and relate directly to your own concentration program. Introductory courses in other departments, independent reading or research courses in other departments, Non-Departmental independent study courses, Tutorial Courses in other departments, and Freshman Seminar or Core Courses not taught by Psychology Department faculty are NOT usually approved as Advanced Courses.


  • You must complete a petition for these courses, attaching a statement and syllabus. The form must have your Concentration Advisor's signature. Please note that this signature does NOT mean that your advisor approves your petition, but rather that they believe you have made the strongest case for the course.
  • You are encouraged to submit the petition BEFORE you enroll in the course. 
  • Courses taken outside of FAS require cross-registration with instructor and concentration signatures. Because you can only obtain a concentration signature on your Concentration Credit Petition Form after your full petition has been reviewed, you should submit petitions for non-FAS courses as soon as you can get a syllabus. See Katie Powers in the Psychology Undergraduate Office for the DUS signature on the FAS Concentration Credit Petition form and then bring this form to the Registrar's office.
  • Petitions are evaluated by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, or occasionally the Committee on Undergraduate Instruction.

Approved courses will meet the following criteria:

  • Course is relevant to psychology. The course material bears directly upon areas of psychology in that (1) the readings report or consider relevant empirical psychological research; (2) the phenomena studied are amenable to analysis from multiple levels; and (3) the course actually gives some attention to multiple perspectives and interactions among levels. An emphasis on theory is sometimes acceptable if multiple and testable theories are considered.
  • Course is relevant to your program. Your statement relates the course to your interests in psychology, to coursework you have taken, and/or to thesis plans you have.
  • Course is rigorously evaluated. Courses evaluate students at least in part on their knowledge of the research literature, indicated by course examinations or papers.

When thinking about petitioning a non-departmental course, it is important to keep in mind this concentration's approach to psychology. We want Psychology students to learn to draw conclusions about humans or animals based upon empirical data. Because other disciplines may employ different approaches, a course in another section of the catalog that addresses topics of psychological importance may not do so in a empirical way. While we certainly appreciate that such a course and its approach can be valid and rigorous, and that it deserves to be part of your undergraduate education, it may not be appropriate as a Psychology Advanced Course. Instead, it may provide you with an interesting linkage between your concentration and non-concentration courses, and students often find making such intellectual connections gratifying.

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What Happened to the Affiliate Electives List? 

The courses that were on the Affiliate Electives list in 2010-11 have been moved to the list of Expedited Courses (at the top of this page). Concentrators may still count these courses, but will now need to email us at in order for the course to be counted for concentration credit. As of Fall 2011, secondary field students can no longer count Non-Departmental Courses, and can only count one course from the former Affiliate Electives list if taken in 2010-11 or earlier.

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*Note: Elsewhere on Harvard websites, you may come across the term "half-course." A half-course is a course that takes one semester to complete (rather than a full year), and is typically worth 4 credits. Because most Psychology courses are technically "half-courses" and last only one semester, we find it easier to simply use the term "course" to refer to these.