Course Prerequisites

Many Summer School courses have required placement tests or recommended prerequisites. All courses require English proficiency.

English proficiency

In all Summer School courses, your oral comprehension and expression must be sufficient for effective class participation. Your reading comprehension and writing skills must be sufficient for responding clearly and accurately to course assignments. And your comprehension and communication skills must be sufficient for completing exams without the use of dictionaries or other exam aids, except those authorized by the instructor for all students taking the exam.

See the English proficiency requirement and student responsibilities for more information.

Placement tests

These are listed in course descriptions and are required for a variety of courses. See placement tests to learn more.

Recommended prerequisites

Some course descriptions list recommended prerequisite courses or general knowledge expectations. You do not have to prove that you have met these, but you are responsible for ensuring you are adequately prepared for your course.

In some courses, instructors give assignments during the first class to confirm that you have met specific prerequisites and that your English proficiency is sufficient. Based on the results or on your general performance, you may be dropped during the course change period and required to move into courses that are more appropriate for your level.


If you have questions about prerequisites other than required placement tests, contact the instructor after registration begins. Contact information is generally listed on syllabi (linked in course descriptions) or in the Harvard directory.

See Student Responsibilities for more information.