Laws and Statutes for Students of
Harvard College


Harvard College Lawes of 1642
(from New England's First Fruits)

1. When any Schollar is able to Read Tully or such like classicall Latine Author ex tempore, and make and speake true Latin in verse and prose suo (ut aiunt) Marte, and decline perfectly the paradigmes of Nounes and verbes in the Greeke tongue, then may hee bee admitted into the  College, nor shall any claime admission before such qualifications.
2. Every one shall consider the mayne End of his life and studyes, to know God and Jesus Christ which is Eternall life. Joh. 17.3.
3. Seeing the Lord giveth wisdome, every one shall seriously by prayer in secret, seeke wisdome of him. prov. 2.2,3 etc.
4. Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day that they bee ready to give an account of their proficiency therein, both in theoreticall observations of Language and Logicke, and in practicall and spirituall truthes as their tutor shall require according to their severall abilities respectively, seeing the Entrance of the word giveth light etc. psal. 119, 130.
5. In the publicke Church assembly they shall carefully shunne all gestures that shew any contempt or neglect of Gods ordinances and bee ready to give an account to their tutors of their profiting and to use the helpes of Storing themselves with knowledge, as their tutours shall direct them, and all Sophisters and Bachellors (until themselves make common place) shall publiquely repeate Sermons in the Hall whenver they are called forth.
6. they shall eschew all prophanation of Gods holy name, attributes, word, ordinances, and times of worship, and study with Reverence and love carefully to reteine God and his truth in their minds.
7. they shall honour as their parents, Magistrates, Elders, tutours and aged persons, by beeing silent in their presence (except they bee called on to answer) not gainesaying shewing all those laudable expressions of honour and Reverence in their presence, that are in uses as bowing before them standing uncovered or the like.
8. they shall be slow to speake, and eschew not onely oathes, Lies, and uncertaine Rumours, but likewise all idle, foolish, bitter scoffing, frothy wanton words and offensive gestures.


Harvard College Laws of 1700
(Source: Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana,Volume II)

STATUTES, LAWS AND PRIVILEGES, APPROVED AND SANCTIONED BY THE PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE AT CAMBRIDGE IN NEW ENGLAND: TO WHICH BOTH SCHOLARS AND STUDENTS, CANDIDATES FOR ADMISSION AS WELL AS THOSE ADMITTED, ARE REQUIRED TO CONFORM, FOR THE PROMOTION OF LEARNING AND GOOD MORALS.

1. Everyone competent to read Cicero or any other classic author of that kind extemporaneously, and also to speak and write Latin prose and verse with tolerable skill and without assistance, and of declining the Greek nouns and verbs, may expect to be admitted to the College: if deficient in any of these qualifications, he cannot under any circumstances be admitted.

2. All persons admitted to the College must board at the Commons, and must each pay three pounds to the steward on their entrance, and must discharge all arrears at the end of every three months; nor shall any under-graduate of the institution be allowed to board out of the College, unless by special permission of the President, or his tutor. If leave to do so shall be granted by either of these officers, the student shall faithfully observe the usual rules of the Common; but if any evey shall leave College for private quarters, without permission of the President or Tutor, he shall not enjoy any privilege of the institution.

3. While the youth is here, he will be required to be diligent, and to observe study-hours with the same strictness as he does those of public recitation.

4. Every student must regard it as his duty to attend all College exercises, secular and religious, public and private. While in the Freshman class, he must speak in public on the stage eight times a year. Sophisters [sophomores] must be present at a public debate twice a week. Both bachelors and sophisters must write out an analysis in some branch of sacred literature: bachelors will discuss in public philosophical questions once a fortnight, under the superintendence of the President: in the President's absence, the two senior tutors will act as a moderator by turns.

5. No one must, under any pretext, be found in the society of any depraved or dissolute person.

6. No one in the lower class shall leave town without express permission from teh President or tutors: nor shall any student, to whatever class he may belong, visit any shop or tavern, to eat and drink, unless invited by a parent, guardian, step-parent, or some such relative.

7. No student shall buy, sell or exchange any thing without the approval of his parents, guardians or tutors. Whoever shall violate this rule, shall be fined by the President or tutor, according to the magnitude of the offense.

8. All students must refrain from wearing rich and showy clothing, nor must anyone go out of the college yard, unless in his gown, coat, or cloak.

9. Every under-graduate shall be called by his surname only, unless he is a commoner, or the oldest son of a gentleman, or the child of a noble house.

10. Every commoner shall pay five pounds for the perpetual use of the college, before admission.

11. Every scholar in the lower class shall pay his tutor two pounds a year; unless he be a commoner, when he shall pay three pounds a year.

12. No person in a higher class, Tutors and Fellows of the college excepted, shall be allowed to force a freshman or junior to go on errands or do other services, by blows, threats or language of any kind. And any undergraduate who violates this rule, shall be punished by bodily chastisement, expulsion, or such other mode as shall seem adviseable to the President and Fellows.

13. Students of all grades are to abstain from dice, cards and every species of gaming for money, under penalty, in the case of a graduate, of twenty shillings for each offense; and, if the offender is an undergraduate, he shall be liable to punishment, at the discretion of the President or tutor shall assign.

14. If any student is absent from prayers, or recitation, unless necessarily detained, or by permission of the President or tutor, he shall be liable to an admonition; and if he commit the offence more than once in a week, to such other punishment as the President or tutor shall assign.

15. No student shall be absent from his studies or stated exercises for any reason, (unless it is first made known to the President or tutor, and by them approved) with the exception of the half-hour allowed for lunch, and half-hour for dinner and also for supper, until nine o'clock.

16. If any student shall, either through wilfulness or negligence, violate any law of God or of this college, after being twice admonished, he shall suffer severe punishment, at the discretion of the President or his tutor. But in high-handed offences, no such modified forms of punishment need be expected.

17. Every student who, on trial, shall be able to translate from the original Latin text, and logically to explain the Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, and shall also be thoroughly acquainted with the principles of natural and moral philosophy, and shall be blameless in life and character, and approved at public examination by the President and the Fellows of the College, may receive the first degree. Otherwise, no one shall be admitted to the first degree in Arts, unless at the end of three years and ten months from the time of his admission.

18. Every scholar who has maintained a good standing, and exhibited a written synopsis of logic, natural and moral philosophy, arithmetic and astronomy, and shall be prepared to defend a proposition or thesis; shall also be versed in the original languages, as aforesaid: and who carries with him a reputation for upright character and diligence in study, and shall pass successfully a public examination, shall be admitted to the second, or Master's degree.