Advising Programs Office

Advising Programs Office of Harvard College

Smith Campus Center, Fourth Floor

The Advising Programs Office (APO) cultivates quality academic advising for all Harvard College undergraduate students. The APO promotes the intellectual and personal transformation of students across the four years by encouraging exploration, reflection and informed decision-making about curricular and co-curricular choices and opportunities. The APO creates trainings, resources, and programs for a cohort of advisers which include faculty, administrative and residential staff, and upperclass students. The APO collaborates with colleagues in academic departments, partner departments in the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Dean of Students Office, and other constituents to ensure that students and advisers are well informed.

During the 2020-21 academic year, all academic advising will be conducted virtually.

The APO works with the following adviser roles:

Board of First-Year Advisers

First-Year Adviser is a faculty member, administrator, or Proctor at the University who helps first-year students select courses and advises on questions regarding the curriculum, academic requirements, educational goals, summer opportunities, and extra-curricular interests. 

Peer Advising Fellows Program

Peer Advising Fellows (PAFs) are upperclass students who are assigned to first-year students to facilitate their transition to College and their acclimation to Harvard. PAFs advise students on extra-curricular and social experiences and refer first-year students to other resources when appropriate. PAFs are expected to have thorough knowledge of campus resources so that they know where to send advisees for information in each concentration. Finally, the PAFs play a key role in helping to build community within the entryway and dormitory by working with the Proctors and each other on study breaks, other entryway activities, and dorm-wide events.

Sophomore Advising

Each sophomore is assigned a sophomore adviser, who serves as the primary academic adviser guiding students in choosing courses for the third semester, exploring and selecting a concentration, and reflecting on co-curricular opportunities including research, study abroad, public service, and internships. Sophomore advisers connect students to resources and guide students in how to pursue their interests. Concentrations will assume primary academic advising responsibility for sophomores in the fourth term, while House sophomore advisers will continue to offer on-going academic advising as students explore curricular and co-curricular endeavors outside of the concentration. Each House appoints a Sophomore Advising Coordinator to manage this work and plan House-based advising events for sophomores.

Concentration Advising

Concentration advising seeks to guide students in three phases: into an appropriate set of introductory courses in the field of study, to advanced work in the field of study and, when applicable, through a final project or thesis in the senior year. Each concentration plays an important role in pre-concentration advising through collaborative efforts with the Advising Programs Office and the Houses. Students are encouraged to begin exploring concentrations in the first-year especially during the Exploring Fields of Study program in the spring where students are invited to attend concentration events and meet with advising teams. In the third term, sophomore advisers encourage students to seek out information from the concentration advising teams before the declaration deadline in November.

Once sophomores select a concentration, their primary academic adviser will be assigned based on the policies of their concentration. Most use a team approach: the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) or Head Tutor, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies (ADUS) or Assistant Head Tutor, and Undergraduate Coordinator (UGC) will advise various students, splitting duties as needed depending on the student, situation, and time. Some concentrations make use of the House Tutors to advise students by House, coordinating with the Faculty Deans in the hiring process.

Each concentration has its own requirements. Several of the humanities and social science concentrations have a tutorial system (ranging from one to five semesters), and many students receive additional advising from their tutorial leaders.

Advising resources website and

Students can access records tracking their academic progress in the my.harvard Student Information System. In the “Advising Network” tab, students will find the photos, names, and contact information for all of their assigned advisers. They can also view their Academic Advising Report which outlines their progress towards completing the requirements for their degree and other important advising materials, such as score reports from placement exams. Students’ advisers can also access the my.harvard portal to see the photos, names, and contact information for all of their advisees. Advisers are strongly encouraged to update and consult the “Advising Journal” frequently to facilitate communication between the advising network team.