Harvard College Moves 2020 Summer Programs Online


Harvard College’s 2020 summer programming will be held entirely online due to the coronavirus crisis, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced in an email to undergraduates Monday afternoon.

The College mandated that undergraduates vacate campus last month to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Students are currently completing their spring semester of coursework online.

Khurana wrote that while he recognized students would find the news “disappointing,” the College is innovating methods to adapt projects and programming to the challenges of the pandemic.

The decision to move summer programming online will change many of the College-sponsored programs students use to find summer internships, per the email. Those programs include offerings sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships and the Institute of Politics, as well as service programs offered through the Phillips Brooks House Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship. The decision will also disrupt the plans of athletes who arrive on campus early for pre-season training.


Throughout Monday afternoon, individual programs sent out specific messaging about how the College’s announcement would affect their operations.

All Harvard Summer School courses will move to a virtual format, Dean of Harvard Summer School Sandra A. Naddaff ’75 announced in an email Monday afternoon to those registered for classes.

For students planning to take Summer School courses for College credit, Khurana wrote that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences has approved “select” online courses for credit. In past years, only on-campus summer school courses have been eligible.

The Harvard Global Health Institute announced that it would only support remote internships. The Institute of Politics informed applicants that it would communicate with Director’s Internship host organizations to determine if they are able to support remote internships this summer and notify students thereafter.

The Phillips Brooks House Association’s Summer Urban Program, which operates 10 summer camps in the Greater Boston area, told staffers it would switch to a digital model.

Office of International Education director Camila L. Nardozzi wrote to students who won study abroad funding that the office would allot them up to $1,500 to participate in remote programs “in lieu of an in-country experience.” The office noted that the sum could also be applied to take up to two online courses with “an international focus” at Harvard Summer School.

Harvard College Research Program administrator Elizabeth E. Perten wrote in an email to applicants that the program will still evaluate student research proposals originally submitted with applications. Students who are awarded funding will then submit a revised proposal for remote research given restrictions on laboratory and archival research, and other research that could require travel.

The Program for Research in Science and Engineering — a summer residential research program — will continue remotely, with adjusted requisites, program director Gregory A. Llacer wrote in an email to fellows.

Khurana wrote that the College will also post updated information about summer programs on its COVID-19 FAQ page. He encouraged undergraduates with questions about specific programs to directly contact the offices hosting them.

He concluded his email by thanking students for their “flexibility” as much of their college experience changes.

“While I never anticipated confronting a moment as challenging as this one, I am not at all surprised by the fortitude and patience you have shown during this unsettling time,” he wrote.

—Staff writer Juliet E. Isselbacher can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @julietissel.

—Staff writer Amanda Y. Su can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandaysu.