Founded in 1728, the University of Havana is the largest, oldest, and leading academic institution in Cuba. The main campus is located in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana. The university is organized into three divisions—Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Economics— and has total of 15 faculties and 14 research centers. Twenty-five majors are taught at the university and approximately 6,000 degree students are enrolled in regular classes each year. Courses are taught on a semester basis with each period lasting 16 weeks.
The University of Havana is an ideal site for a study abroad program. Havana, the capital of Cuba and a metropolis with 2.2 million residents, is the cultural, educational, and industrial center of the island. Over the last decade, Cuba has become more accessible to American study abroad students as a result of the burgeoning of tourism, primarily driven by Europeans and Canadians, and the brief increase in people-to-people exchanges with the United States from 1998 to 2004.
The Harvard College Program in Cuba thrives on the strengths of the faculty, departments and established study abroad mechanisms at the University of Havana, as well as builds on the network of ties established by the David Rockefeller Center with Cuba’s leading academic institutions and scholars across the last decade. Setup as a fall semester option, the academic program should be particularly attractive to Latin American studies and social sciences concentrators, since the core of the program will focus on Cuban studies and U.S-Cuba relations.
Harvard students approved for the program will be juniors with at least six semesters of Spanish language training, they will enroll directly in University of Havana courses that are regularly offered to students at the Universidad de La Habana. Courses will need to be pre-approved by OIE prior to start of program. Upon satisfactory completion of this program, students will have earned a total of 16 credit hours.
A student’s semester will consist of:
Three courses from University of Havana (UH) course catalog (taught in Spanish)
An advanced Spanish language course taken at the university with other foreign nationals or a fourth UH course offering if Spanish language placement exam is passed.