As a concentration, Government is very flexible. To help you get the most out of your college education, the department provides you with several different sources of guidance in developing an individualized plan of study: Concentration Advisers (CAs), Peer Concentration Counselors (PCCs), Undergraduate Program staff, and of course your professors. Any approvals you need to register for courses or adapt your study plan can be obtained from your CA or the Undergraduate Program office.
Concentration Advisers (CAs): Concentration Advisers are lecturers and advanced graduate students hired specifically to provide you with academic advice. We assign a specific CA to each House; this person acts as the official concentration adviser for all Government students who live there. Often the Government CA is also a Resident Tutor, but, if not, the CA will be a Non-resident Tutor with access to the House. To find your adviser, see here.
Your CA is the first person to go to for approval of your courses so you can register each semester. Whenever you have a question about requirements, course selection, or the direction of your program—whatever it might be—please contact your CA. We strongly encourage you to make an effort to meet with your official CA at least twice a semester. They can be reached by email, hold office hours, and are waiting to speak with you!
Peer Concentration Counselors (PCCs): PCCs are Government junior and senior concentrators who have volunteered to act as peer advisers. They provide you with a different perspective on the concentration: fellow students with similar interests and career goals. You should feel free to contact any PCC, not just the one in your house; click here for contact information.
Undergraduate Program Office: You can also come to the Undergraduate Program office on the first floor of CGIS for advice. The office is open 10 am to 5 pm for students to drop in. In addition, both Cheryl Welch, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), and George Soroka, the Assistant Director, hold regular office hours. Please note that you must have the explicit approval of the DUS (not just your CA) in the following cases:
- Taking courses at the Harvard Kennedy School (or other Harvard schools or neighboring universities like M.I.T.) for concentration credit.
- Petitioning to count a course from another department for concentration credit. (Please note that a petition is not necessary if the course is already on the list of preapproved courses for elective credit.)
- Declaring joint concentrations
- Arranging study abroad credit
- Arranging for a senior thesis adviser from another department
Faculty: You are also welcome to go to any professor during office hours to talk about your interests in political science, whether or not you have taken a course with that professor. Go to faculty for questions about lectures or readings, suggestions about sources for a research paper you are writing, or advice about further study in political science. Students sometimes feel shy about approaching professors, so you should know that faculty frequently talk to undergrads in their office hours, which are posted on the Government Department website every term.