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 2019-2020 academic year and are not already on the list below.**

[BRACKETED COURSES] are not being offered in the 2019-2020 academic year.

African and African American Studies (AFRAMER)

  • AFRAMER 197, Poverty, Race, and Health

Anthropology (ANTHRO)

  • ANTHRO 1640 (formerly CULTBLF 62), Language and Culture
  • ANTHRO 1900, Counseling as Colonization? Native American Encounters with the Clinical Psy-ences
  • [ANTHRO 1988, Kinship, Citizenship, and Belonging]

Applied Mathematics (APMTH)

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

Applied Computation (APCOMP)

  • APCOMP 209A, Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science (formerly APCOMP 209, Data Science) (jointly offered with Department of Statistics as STAT 121A & School of Engineering as COMPSCI 109A)
  • APCOMP 109B, Data Science 2: Advanced Topics in Data Science (jointly offered with Department of Statistics as STAT 121B & School of Engineering as COMPSCI 109B)

Biomedical Engineering (BE)

  • [BE 130, Neural Control of Movement]

Computer Sciences (COMPSCI)

  • COMPSCI 50 (Letter Grade), Introduction to Computer Science
  • COMPSCI 105 (formerly COMPSCI 199R), Privacy and Technology
  • COMPSCI 109A, Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science (formerly COMPSCI 109, Data Science) (jointly offered with Department of Statistics as STAT 121A & School of Engineering as APCOMP 209A)
  • COMPSCI 109B, Data Science 2: Advanced Topics in Data Science (jointly offered with Department of Statistics as STAT 121B & School of Engineering as APCOMP 209B)
  • COMPSCI 134, Networks
  • COMPSCI 136 (formerly COMPSCI 186), Economics and Computation
  • COMPSCI 171, Visualization
  • COMPSCI 179, Design of Usable Interactive Systems
  • COMPSCI 181, Machine Learning
  • COMPSCI 182, Artificial Intelligence
  • COMPSCI 189, Autonomous Robot Systems
  • [COMPSCI 96, System Design Projects]
  • [COMPSCI 108, Intelligent Systems: Design and Ethical Challenges]
  • [COMPSCI 187, Computational Linguistics]

Culture and Belief (CULTBLF) (This category of courses is no longer offered as of the 2019-20 academic year, but the courses, if taken prior to then, can still count for Non-Departmental course credit)

  • [CULTBLF 34, Madness and Medicine]
  • [CULTBLF 58, Case Studies in the Medical Humanities: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Experience of Illness and Healing]
  • [CULTBLF 47, The Darwinian Revolution]
  • [CULTBLF 61, Gender and Science]

Earth and Planetary Sciences (E-PSCI)

  • E-PSCI 100, The Missing Matlab Course: An Introduction to Programming and Data Analysis

Economics (ECON)

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

Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning (EMREAS) (This category of courses is no longer offered as of the 2019-20 academic year, but the courses, if taken prior to then, can still count for Non-Departmental course credit)

  • [EMREAS 13, Analyzing Politics]
  • [EMREAS 17, Logical Reasoning (formerly QR 22, Deductive Logic)]

Engineering Sciences (ENG-SCI)

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

General Education (GENED)

  • GENED 1033, Conflict Resolution in a Divided World (formerly GHHP 60, Negotiation and Conflict Management: From the Interpersonal to the International)
  • GENED 1064 (formerly ETH-REASON 45), Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency
  • GENED 1076, Equity and Excellence in K12 American Schools (formerly US-WORLD 35, Dilemmas of Equity and Excellence in American K-12 Education)

Government (GOV)

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

Harvard Graduate School of Education (EDU)

  • EDU AH125, Science-Driven Innovation in the Early Childhood Ecosystem (jointly offered with the Chan School of Public Health as Social & Behavioral Sciences 299)
  • EDU H382, The Challenges Kids Face: Developmental, Cultural, and Contextual Perspectives on Risk and Resilience
  • EDU H392, Childhood Trauma: Dynamics, Interventions, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives
  • EDU T006, Adult Development
  • EDU T560, Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Challenges of Individual Differences
  • [EDU H118, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition]

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]

History (HIST)

  • [HIST 1916, The History of Evidence]

History of Science (HISTSCI)

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

Human Evolutionary Biology (HEB)

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

Life Sciences (LIFESCI)

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

Linguistics (LING)

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

Mathematics (MATH)

  • [MATH 156, Mathematical Foundations of Statistical Software]

Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB)

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

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

  • NEURO 101FA (formerly Neurobiology 111A), Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  • NEURO 120, Introductory Computational Neuroscience
  • NEURO 130, Visual Recognition: Computational and Biophysical Perspective
  • [NEURO 101IA and IB (formerly Neurobiology 104A and B), The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction]

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB)

  • OEB 50, Genetics and Genomics
  • OEB 53 (formerly BIOL 53), Evolutionary Biology
  • OEB 57 (formerly BIOL 57), Animal Behavior
  • OEB 145, Genes and Behaviors
  • OEB 223, Topics in Neurogenetics

Philosophy (PHIL)

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

Science of Living Systems (SCILIVSY) (This category of courses is no longer offered as of the 2019-20 academic year, but the courses, if taken prior to then, can still count for Non-Departmental course credit)

  • [SCILIVSY 16, Human Evolution and Human Health]
  • [SCILIVSY 19, Nutrition and Global Health]

Science of the Physical Universe (SCIPHUNV) (This category of courses is no longer offered as of the 2019-20 academic year, but the courses, if taken prior to then, can still count for Non-Departmental course credit)

  • [SCIPHUNV 13 (formerly Science A-49), Why You Hear What You Hear: The Science of Music and Sound]

Social Studies (SOC-STD)

  • [SOC-STD 40, Philosophy and Methods of Social Science]

Societies of the World (SOCWORLD) (This category of courses is no longer offered as of the 2019-20 academic year, but the courses, if taken prior to then, can still count for Non-Departmental course credit)

  • [SOCWORLD 25, Case Studies in Global Health: Biosocial Perspectives (formerly ANTHRO 1825, Health, Culture, and Community: Case Studies in Global Health)]
  • [SOCWORLD 47, Contemporary Developing Countries: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Intractable Problems]

Sociology (SOCIOL)

  • SOCIOL 1024 (formerly SOCIOL 24), Introduction to Social Inequality
  • SOCIOL 1025 (formerly SOCIOL 125), Introduction to the Sociology of Organizations
  • SOCIOL 1046, Life and Death by Design (formerly SOCIOL 1146, Death by Design: Health Inequalities in Global Perspective)
  • SOCIOL 1112 (formerly SOCIOL 112), Men, Women, and Work
  • SOCIOL 1131, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Organizations
  • SOCIOL 1135 (formerly SOCIOL 135), Education and Culture
  • [SOCIOL 1027 (formerly SOCIOL 27), Introduction to Social Movements]
  • [SOCIOL 1117 (formerly SOCIOL 117), Social Trauma and Collective Identity]
  • [SOCIOL 1125 (formerly SOCIOL 125), Personal Networks]
  • [SOCIOL 1143, Just Institutions (formerly SOCIOL 143, Building Just Institutions)]

Statistics (STAT)

  • STAT 110, Introduction to Probability
  • STAT 120, Introduction to Applied Bayesian Inference and Applications (formerly Introduction to Applied Bayesian Inference and Multilevel Models)
  • STAT 121A, Data Science 1: Introduction to Data Science (formerly STAT 121, Data Science) (jointly offered with the School of Engineering as COMPSCI 109A & APCOMP 209A)
  • STAT 121B, Data Science 2: Advanced Topics in Data Science (jointly offered with the School of Engineering as COMPSCI 109B & APCOMP 209B)
  • STAT 139, Linear Models (formerly Statistical Sleuthing Through Linear Models)
  • STAT 186, Casual Inference (formerly Statistical Methods for Evaluating Causal Effects)
  • [STAT 140, Design of Experiments]
  • [STAT 160 & 260, Design and Analysis of Sample Surveys]

Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB)

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

Theater, Dance & Media (TDM)

  • TDM 173X, Acting and Authenticity (formerly Performance Elective: Acting and Authenticity)

United States in the World (US-WORLD) (This category of courses is no longer offered as of the 2019-20 academic year, but the courses, if taken prior to then, can still count for Non-Departmental course credit)

  • [US-WORLD 15, Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration: From Obama to Trump (formerly Is the American Racial Order Being Transformed?)]

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.