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Cody Dean's -Tip of the Day- (Compiled from Harvard Q&A) > Tip of the Day

Topics of Interest by Concentration

posted Jul 24, 2011 00:55:01 by Hub15
Information on specific organizations and events that relate to areas of academic interest.
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2 replies
Hub15 said Jul 27, 2011 18:45:16
The Purple Book

Lots of folks have questions about course suggestions for concentrations that they have some level of interest in exploring. Here is an electronic version of The Purple Book that lists every concentration and the suggested exploratory/foundational courses as well as a brief description of the department. It is a great resource as you begin to plan your shopping list!

Hub15 said Jul 27, 2011 18:47:57
Politics, Government, & Social Science at Harvard

Cody Dean
-Tips of The Day-

Let's begin by saying that this is slightly biased to things that I am interested in (and therefore know the most about). One couldn't possibly describe the entire breadth of political, historical, sociological, and all the other _____cal activities and concentrations at Harvard. This is just a little bit of information so you might have a bit more direction when you hit up the Activities Fair at the beginning of the semester and/or consider some departments to take classes in. Knowing some basic information can be nice because it is truly overwhelming when you see hundreds of tables ranging the spectrum of interests at the fair and as you browse the class list.

Institute of Politics - Harvard Kennedy School of Government

The IOP is located on JFK street a few blocks down from the yard near the river houses. It is the undergraduate "branch" of the KSG and can be a one stop shop for a broad range of political activities on campus. Each semester, they host residential fellows. They host weekly study groups that are super informal and there are always huge names that come in. Last year, I met Vicky Kennedy (wife of the late Senator Kennedy) in person in a study group with no more than 25 people. The IOP Forum is a venue that hosts big talks from famous folks that range the entire spectrum. Last year, I saw Condoleezza Rice and Arne Duncan. The ever present sight of limos going down JFK almost always means that someone crazy important is coming to the IOP. The events are free but there is often a lottery for bigger names. The IOP has other functions as well. They have the survey group which works on public opinion research and publishes its research. They also have a robust internships program that is two sided. You can either apply to political internships via the IOP and receive a stipend or find your own and still receive a stipend. Visit for more info and stay tuned all year for events!

Harvard Political Review

HPR is a quarterly publication and website that publishes undergraduate writing in a wide range of political topics. This is widely regarded as the most respected undergraduate political publication in the country (if not worldwide) and boasts a long list of incredible alumni (think Al Gore and the like). If you like writing and want to be published, this is a great opportunity. You can write for the website, the blog, the publication, or all 3. It is a pretty involved process and articles need to be WELL researched, but the rewards are awesome. Visit for more information!

International Relations Council

The IRC is one of the oldest international relations organizations and serves as an umbrella organization for the slew of Model United Nations programs (think international, national, local,specialized,etc.), the Model Security Council, and IRoC. If you are interest in MUN or one of these organizations you will be well aquatinted with the IRC. For more information on any one of their programs or the IRC in general, you can visit them online at​rc/#

Harvard College Democrats

The campus branch of the dems. There are talks with high-brow elected officials, campaigning trips (this is going to be an election year!!), campus events, and awareness campaigns. You can visit the dems online at

Harvard Republican Club

This is the campus branch of the republican party serves the same function as the description above with the obvious exception of a different political philosophy.​p/

Perspective - Monthly Liberal Newspaper

Salient- "Naturally Conservative" Newspaper with no official affiliation​lient/site/Harvard_Salient.htm​l

Undergraduate Council

This is Harvard's version of student government. There will be elections in the fall for class representatives. The UC has a lot of sway in the distribution of funding to student groups and acts as a liaison between the student body and the administration in a range of issues. They also host a range of programs to improve student life such as UC Taxis, Hack4Harvard, etc. For more info, visit


Concentrations of Interest:

Social Studies
Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Environmental Science & Public Policy
East Asian Studies
African & African American Studies

(Note: There is also a secondary field in Ethnic Studies. However, it is not currently possible to concentrate in ES.)

You can google any of these to find the departmental website that will suggest good foundational classes to preview the department as you decide what you might like to concentrate in.

Happy Governing!
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