Bracketing Courses

Advanced Standing students enrolled in the AB/AM or SM program bracket graduate-level courses by filling out an Advanced Standing 4th Year Master's Degree Bracketing Form and returning it to the Registrar's Office (enrollment@fas.harvard.edu), by the 5th Monday of the term.  Most students earn the majority of their AM credits in their fourth year at the College, but students are also permitted to bracket courses earlier in anticipation of the AM or SM degree.  Please note, that SEAS requires their students to wait until they matriculate (their 7th term) to sumit a bracketing form.  Courses can be retroactively bracketed.  This requires prior permission from the Head Tutor or Director of Undergraduate Studies of the undergraduate concentration as well as the Chairman or designated adviser of the graduate program in which they wish to enroll. Students who bracket courses before they are admitted to the graduate program should understand that these courses will be unbracketed by the Registrar if they do not gain admission to the AB/AM or SM program. The student's course plan should be discussed with the Department Chair (or designated adviser) of the graduate program in which the student is seeking the advanced degree, as well as the Head Tutor of the undergraduate concentration.

The Department Chair (or designated adviser) of the graduate department in which the student is enrolled must certify, by signing the bracketing form, that the courses the student has chosen to bracket meet the department's approval for graduate credit toward the AM or SM degree. Ordinarily, graduate credit is granted for 100-level (and above) courses. Under no circumstances may any bracketed course be considered both for undergraduate and graduate degree credit. Bracketed courses do not affect the undergraduate record; they will not be calculated toward the AB degree or the undergraduate grade-point average, nor are they counted for departmental honors calculations. In order for bracketed courses to count toward a graduate degree, they must be taken for a letter grade or (300 level only) SAT/UNSAT. Courses taken for graduate credit may not be taken Pass/Fail. Note also that a passing grade in a graduate course is ordinarily a "B-" or higher.

The bracketing procedure is straightforward, but the decision to bracket courses requires careful thought about a student's broad academic program. Students should plan carefully to insure that they are able to meet the requirements for both degrees by the end of the 4th year.