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Academic Gap Year

two students at table

Maintain momentum.

Whether you’re taking a traditional gap year before college or need to put your plans on hold for other reasons, the virtual Academic Gap Year at Harvard Extension School can help you maintain your academic momentum.

What You'll Gain

  • Spend a semester or year challenging yourself in online classes with Harvard faculty and industry experts.
  • Build academic and professional proficiency through skill-building and career webinars, student resources, and Harvard University Library access.
  • Prepare for graduate school while participating in student programming and utilizing Harvard student resources.

Paths of Study

Through an array of interactive classes available for credit or noncredit, you can explore interests for a major or build specialized knowledge.

Browse our curated list of courses below, or search the full course catalog for classes that fit your schedule and align with your academic passions.

  • Economics
  • Foreign Language
  • Global Citizenship
  • Literature and Writing
  • Math and Computer Science
  • Meaning and Existence
  • Medicine and Health
  • Psychology and Neuroscience

Beyond the Classroom

No matter which path you choose, you’ll have access to student services to help you succeed.

Sample Webinar Topics

  • Getting Your Groove on as a Student
  • The Power of Habit in Academic Learning
  • Speaking Up in Class
  • The Not-So-Secret Secrets to Successful Online Learning

Student Resources

How to Get Started

To participate in the Academic Gap Year at Harvard Extension, you simply enroll in courses—no application required. To begin:

  1. Choose your path of study.
    • First, if you’re deferring college, make sure you understand your home institution’s gap year policies.
    • Next, decide whether you want to enroll in courses for credit or noncredit.
  2. Plan ahead for registration.
  3. Register for your fall or spring course.
    • During registration, you’ll be asked to indicate the reason you’re taking classes. Select “Academic Gap Year,” so we can invite you to academic and career workshops as well as advising events.
    • You’ll choose your credit status when you register.
    • Limited-enrollment courses fill quickly. It’s best to register early!

Key Dates

See the full academic calendar for all dates and deadlines.

Fall Semester 2021 Spring Semester 2022

Classes run:

August 30–December 18

Classes run:

January 24–mid-May 15

Registration is open:

July 26–August 26

Registration is open:

November 8–January 20

Noncredit vs. Credit

Enrolling for Noncredit Enrolling for  Credit
Engage in college-level work without earning credit or grades. Courses will appear on an official transcript. Earn grades and credit. Undergraduate credit courses may transfer to another college or university. All courses will appear on an official transcript.


$1,500 per course ($375 per credit)


$1,920 per undergraduate course ($480 per credit)
$2,980 per graduate course ($745 per credit)