Campus & Community

Shopping week? Priceless

4 min read

Students use start of semester to their advantage

Raynor Kuang ’17 is pretty sure about Louis Menand.

Menand’s class “Rules of the Game: The History of Literary Theory” appeals to the sophomore computer science concentrator pondering an English minor, but Menand may not be for everyone. That’s why, during the first few days of each semester, Harvard offers “shopping week,” in which students try out a class before formally registering.

“It’s really nice,” said Kuang of the grace period. “I don’t know any other colleges that have shopping week. Whenever I explain it to my friends, they wish their schools had it.”

For freshman Camille Schmidt, shopping week is crucial for first-semester success. “I can’t imagine going into a class without having done this, because I could’ve ended up in classes I wouldn’t have enjoyed or that wouldn’t have been for me,” she said. “It’s really great Harvard does this.”

Students file into Emerson Hall to “shop” “Societies of the World 14: The British Empire” with Professor of History Maya Jasanoff. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Undergraduates listen to Maya Jasanoff’s lecture. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Shopping week allows students to sit in on any class before committing to it for the term. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Students get settled around the seminar table before the start of class with Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor William Julius Wilson. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
William Julius Wilson (right) leads the discussion in a sociology seminar. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Graduate student Soledad Prillaman (center) listens to the discussion in William Julius Wilson’s class. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Inside the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, leads the discussion in his “Environmental Crises, Climate Change, and Population Flight” class. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Lydia Gaby ’15 (from left) and Jahred Liddie ’16 participate in James McCarthy’s class. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
A view of James McCarthy’s “Environmental Crises, Climate Change, and Population Flight” class. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Ross Normandin (from left), Julian Avery Leonard ’15, Francisco Maldonado Andreu ’14/’15, visiting lecturer Virginia Overton, Divinity School graduate student Ben Kurta, and Michael Rothberg ’17 pause in front Widener Library to observe the building’s details. The undergraduates were shopping a sculpture course in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES). Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
This VES class tours the campus observing various sculptures, including the Alexander Calder sculpture in front of Pusey Library. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Michael Rothberg ’17 (left) and Francisco Maldonado Andreu ’14/’15 examine the sculptures in front of the Harvard-Yenching Library. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Students settle in for “Frontiers in Biophysics” in Pfizer Lecture Hall. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, begins his lecture in “Chemistry 163: Frontiers in Biophysics.” Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
Mattie Kahn ’15 listens to Louis Menand, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English, as he lectures during “Rules of the Game: The History of Literary Theory.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Louis Menand speaks to a full classroom inside Harvard Hall. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Emily Riehl, Benjamin Peirce Fellow, gives instruction in “Math 141: Introduction to Mathematical Logic” inside the Science Center. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer
A student checks his laptop before the start of “Economics 1490: Growth and Crisis in the World Economy.” Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Dale Jorgenson, Samuel W. Morris University Professor of Economics, speaks to his class. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Teaching fellow Nihar Shah takes notes during Dale Jorgenson’s lecture in Sever Hall. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer
Aron Szanto ’18 (far right) talks with Thomas Kelly, Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music, as he shops “Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 24: First Nights: Five Performance Premieres.” Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer
Professor Thomas Kelly lectures in Sanders Theatre. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer