FAS to Discuss Simultaneous Enrollment Policies in Tuesday Meeting


The Faculty of Arts and Sciences will discuss a motion to simplify rules for simultaneous course enrollment during its monthly meeting Tuesday.

Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda Claybaugh submitted the motion on behalf of the Standing Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy following the committee’s review of simultaneous enrollment policies.

The proposed revision will allow students to enroll in two courses that meet at the same time or overlapping times in one of two cases. Students must receive permission from the heads of both courses and the Administrative Board, or may enroll without a petition if the Standing Committee has granted one of the two courses a waiver from the simultaneous enrollment petition process.

According to the Harvard College Handbook, FAS currently allows simultaneous enrollment in one of three circumstances: when one of the course heads agrees to provide “hour-for-hour direct and personal compensatory instruction” for the missed class time, when lectures are available on videotape and a student will miss no more than one-third of them, or when a senior needs both courses for graduation requirements.


“It has become increasingly clear that the current translation of the underlying principle into a policy and system is dysfunctional,” the committee’s report reads.

Claybaugh wrote in a letter to the Faculty Council that current procedures do not make sense for courses such as Statistics 110: “Introduction to Probability” and Economics 10a: “Principles of Microeconomics,” which upload online lectures as an alternative to in-person lectures and provide other opportunities for in-person instruction.

If adopted, the motion would create a formal process through which course heads may apply for a waiver from normal simultaneous enrollment rules, which some courses have already been granted. FAS has exempted Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science” from simultaneous enrollment rules since 2014; Ec 10 and Stat 110 received similar exemptions in 2019 as an interim measure.

Additionally, the new rules will no longer mandate that instructors provide hour-for-hour compensatory instruction for missed class time. Instead, the motion recommends that the Administrative Board only approve simultaneous enrollment petitions for students who provide a plan indicating they can “participate fully in all course components” for both courses, which may include compensatory instruction.

During the faculty meeting Tuesday, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Francis J. Doyle III will also give an update on his school’s impending move to Allston.

—Staff writer James S. Bikales can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jamepdx.

— Staff writer Kevin R. Chen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kchenx.