Engineering the Harvard Way | Summary and Q&A

August 4, 2011
Harvard University
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Engineering the Harvard Way

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In this video, students at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) discuss the unique opportunities and flexibility that the program offers. They talk about the diverse range of courses and disciplines they can explore, the problem-solving skills they develop, and the global perspective they gain. They emphasize the importance of curiosity, passion, and the ability to think outside the box in pursuing an engineering education at Harvard.

Questions & Answers

Q: What kind of opportunities does the program at SEAS provide?

The program at SEAS allows students to access almost any course of study they are interested in. They can take classes from different departments, shadow classes in professional schools like law or business, and even study second languages or graduate-level courses. The flexibility and range of opportunities at SEAS are highly valued by students.

Q: How does the education at SEAS differ from other universities?

Unlike universities with a fixed curriculum, SEAS offers students the freedom to choose what they want to study. This freedom can be surprising and exciting for students coming from universities with more rigid structures. They can try out various subjects and explore different possibilities, which can lead to interesting and unexpected outcomes.

Q: What kind of students should come to SEAS?

There is no typical student that suits SEAS. It is a place for students who are interested in searching for their passion and what they can contribute to the world. The education at SEAS prepares students for a wide range of careers, from engineering to running the stock exchange. The focus is on developing problem-solving skills that can be applied to diverse situations.

Q: What sets Harvard engineering apart from other programs?

Harvard engineering emphasizes the ability to see the big picture and understand how engineering can improve people's lives. It goes beyond learning every detail and focuses on the broader impact and application of engineering knowledge. This outside-the-box perspective makes Harvard engineers excellent in making a positive impact on the world.

Q: Why is it important for technology-focused students to have a global perspective?

Even for students going into a technology field, having a global perspective is critically important. By interacting with people from different disciplines and cultures, students gain insights into different ways of thinking. They learn that there is no one right way to look at the world and that multiple perspectives are valuable. This prepares them to tackle real-world challenges in a diverse and interconnected society.

Q: How does the Harvard experience in general contribute to a student's education at SEAS?

The Harvard experience, including taking gen ed classes, fulfilling distribution requirements, and engaging in different aspects of campus life, offers valuable insights and preparation for the real world. Students find valuable learnings from various parts of their Harvard journey, not just from SEAS. This diversity of experiences and perspectives makes Harvard unique, and SEAS stands out within Harvard for its commitment to flexibility and interdisciplinary learning.


The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University offers a unique and flexible educational experience. Students have the freedom to explore a wide range of subjects and disciplines, gaining a global perspective and problem-solving skills that are applicable across fields. The emphasis on curiosity, passion, and the ability to think outside the box prepares students for diverse careers and enables them to make a positive impact on the world. The Harvard experience in general, with its wide variety of courses and opportunities, further enhances a student's education at SEAS.

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