The Easiest Courses At Harvard

Looking for a fun and not-too-taxing course to fill the final spot on your study card?


We searched the Q guide, looking for ten easy classes. Now you don’t even have to go to the trouble of finding your hassle-free class. Enjoy!

Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 33: Ancient Fictions: The Ancient Novel in Context

Reading a work written in ancient times by a guy named Apuleius doesn’t sound like a walk in the park — until you learn that the book’s title is the Golden Ass.  Students gave this Gen Ed class rave reviews, and 48 percent claimed it was easy as well as enjoyable.

Anthropology 1010: The Fundamentals of Archaeological Methods and Reasoning

This is Harvard’s introductory archaeology class, and the reviews say that it’s a painless way to try out a neat subject. Over 50 percent of participants claimed the class was “easy” or “very easy.”

Culture and Belief 16: Performance, Tradition and Cultural Studies: An Introduction to Folklore and Mythology

This class is required of all Folk & Myth concentrators and also fills that pesky Culture and Belief Gen Ed. Participants say that studying stories isn’t too difficult – in fact, 11 percent say it’s “very easy,” and another 45% deem it “easy.”

Drama 101: Introduction to Theater

The “101” practically says it all, and the low difficulty reported in the Q guide says the rest. This class sounds like lots of fun; students have the opportunity to attend professional shows in Cambridge and Boston and interact with theater professionals.

Engineering Sciences 139: Innovation in Science and Engineering

Students learn about engineering and problem solving from leaders in art, business, and science.  Background in science is not required; 17 percent call this class “very easy,” and 53 percent say it’s “easy.”

Neurobiology 95hfj: The Sleeping Brain

Enrollment in this class is limited, and students are required to have completed an introductory life science course and MCB 80 before signing up.  But making the cut seems to be the hardest part. Out of the 10 students last year, seven reported that the class was a breeze.

Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 59: Plants and Human Affairs

Though this class requires that students complete one introductory OEB course before enrolling, it garnered a workload ranking of 1.08 on a scale of 1 to 5.  It’s nearly impossible to find a better rating.  Along with the exceptionally light homework, the class was ranked “very easy” by 31 percent of enrollees and “easy” by another 31 percent.

Portuguese Ac: Beginning Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

If you happen to already know Spanish, this is the quickest route to picking up another language. Of the 52 evaluators of this special course, 21 percent said that learning Portuguese was “very easy” and 37 percent said it was “easy.”

Psychology 950: Psychology Live!

Who can resist a course with a title ending in an exclamation mark? Various faculty lecture each week, letting students sample the best that the psychology department has to offer. Last year, 17 percent of the students said that this highlights reel was “very easy,” and 43 percent called it “easy.”

Swedish A: Beginning Swedish Language and Literature

Languages at Harvard aren’t a piece of cake, but the Q guide says this is one of the more manageable ones.  The workload is rated 2 out of 5, lower than most introductory language courses, and you certainly get personalized instruction. There were just three students in last year’s class, and two deemed it to be “easy.”  All three said they recommend the class with enthusiasm.

Author: Julie M. Zauzmer. Julie M. Zauzmer is a former staff writer for The Harvard Crimson

A version of this article was published on flyby. The blog of The Harvard Crimson on September 3, 2010. 

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