Skip to content

Coronavirus Updates: See latest COVID-19 news from Harvard Extension School.

The following outlines Harvard Extension School’s plans to limit the spread of COVID-19 among the community. The plans are in accordance with the University’s response and we encourage you to also visit the general Harvard University COVID-19 information page.

The University asks that you contact Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) if you have been tested for COVID-19. Even if you do not usually get medical care at HUHS, please let them know if you are being tested or if you tested positive for COVID-19. This will help HUHS assess the impact on our community. Email them at

Below is information for students. Faculty and teaching assistants should visit the Faculty Handbook site for the latest updates and the Teaching and Learning site for support moving their courses online.

Classes and Resources Move Online

2020-21 Harvard Extension School Courses

Due to the ongoing pandemic about which there are still many unknowns, we’ve made the important decision to offer only online courses for the entire academic year (fall, January session, and spring term). This decision was made first and foremost to help ensure the health and safety of you, our students, and our community. Second, as an early adopter and national leader in distance education, we are perfectly positioned to offer you an outstanding, world-class academic experience online, with no compromise on quality. See below for information regarding the on-campus requirement for our degree programs.

Harvard Extension School Buildings and Business Operations

  • Harvard Extension School (HES) administrative offices and classrooms are closed to visitors and students until further notice. HES continues to offer email, phone, web conference, and online student service and all departments are functional. Visit Contact Us. We want to answer your questions and concerns.
  • Academic Services (transcripts and verifications). While working remotely, the Academic Services continues to monitor email ( during regular business hours. Please allow 4-5 business days for processing transcripts, letters of enrollment, loan deferment forms, and education verifications. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate expedited mailing requests or in-person transcript pickups at this time.
  • Due to mailing delays and restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are suspending the mailing of printed certificates. If you have earned a certificate, you can download it at any time by visiting the Online Services Certificate Tracker. In addition, your certificate, along with courses and grades, are noted on your official Harvard Extension School transcript. If you have any questions, please email
  • Convocation: We unfortunately must postpone Harvard Extension School’s Convocation planned for September 26, 2020. We plan to invite admitted degree candidates from August 2019, Winter 2020, June 2020 to Convocation in the fall of 2021. A formal invitation with a date will be sent in July 2021.

Student Resources, Advising, and Admissions

  • ID Cards. To reduce campus density during the COVID-19 pandemic, new and replacement class participant library cards will not be available for the 2020-21 terms. Only admitted degree candidates and Pre-medical program participants are eligible for ID cards at this time. You may also email your questions to
  • Visit the Harvard Library’s coronavirus page to stay updated on their phased re-opening services. Use the Harvard Library Guide for Harvard Extension School for help with online researchHOLLIS, and more, and chat with knowledgeable staff through our Ask a Librarian service.
  • The Test Center in Sever Hall, Harvard Yard is closed.
  • 53 Church Street Computer Lab is closed.
  • Office of Career Services (for admitted degree candidates) have moved to online appointments only.
  • The Career and Academic Resource Center will continue and expand their free, mid-day live webinars open to all registered HES student on career and academic topics.
  • Dean of Students Office is ready to support students, please visit their website which hosts many COVID-19 related support services.
  • Advisors are standing by. Admissions, degree program, certificate, and premedical program advising continues via email and Zoom. We encourage you to connect with our advising team for individual support.
  • We will accept 2020-21 applications to our undergraduate, graduate, and premedical programs as planned.

Socialize Remotely

We want to direct your attention to Socialize Remotely, which is University-wide platform designed to bring us together. You can publicize your own creative online event to connect with other students or explore a variety of online gatherings designed by other students, faculty, and staff.

Thesis Writers

We expect that most of you will be able to finish your projects as originally planned.  However, some of you will certainly experience delays. Particular, if you were working in a lab or if your research methods required in-person interaction.  If you are experiencing timing issues due to the COVID 19 pandemic, please email with the subject line “COVID-19 virus – thesis proposal due date concerns.” We will work with you, along with your thesis director, to help ensure you have the time you need to successfully finish your thesis.

Harvard Extension School Prospective and Admitted Degree Candidates On-Campus Requirement, 2020-2021 Academic Year

We were inspired by the leadership of Claudine Gay, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who eloquently wrote: “We must ensure that the academic progress of our students is maintained, even if what that means must evolve.” We have evolved and re-imagined the on-campus requirement as a live, active learning requirement. The requirement for 2020-21 academic year only can be fulfilled by coursework delivered in the live web-conference format. These courses provide real-time engagement with faculty and peers, which meets the spirit of the on-campus requirement until it is safe for us to return to in-person learning here in Cambridge.

The degree course search will be updated to display courses in the live, web conference as meeting the on-campus requirement.

This change is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will not be continued beyond this academic year. The on-campus requirement is critical to HES’s mission to offer quality degree programs at Harvard, and there are no plans to change or remove it after the current crisis has passed. In addition, this re-imagined on-campus requirement exception is not retroactive to any prior academic terms, but only for the upcoming 2020 fall, 2021 January session, and 2021 spring term. We appreciate your understanding and adherence to this policy as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

While we won’t be able to gather together in semester-long or weekend on-campus courses, we will find new ways to connect as a community online, including expanded CARC webinars on important racial issues in order for us to engage in courageous conversations.

Both Your Health and Education Are Paramount to Us

The faculty and staff are working around the clock to continue to offer you the highest quality academic experience. We thank you in advance for your cooperation as we navigate, to the best of our ability, this challenging and unprecedented global public health event.