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MITx MicroMasters® Program Pathway to the Data Science Degree Program

Designed for students who’ve completed the MITx MicroMasters in Statistics and Data Science, this degree pathway offers a core curriculum of data science. Your degree courses will prepare you to be a thought leader in data analytics, big data, and data science research.

What You’ll Learn

Through the graduate program in data science you:

  • Develop an in-depth understanding of data science methods in predictive modeling, data mining, machine learning, artificial intelligence, data visualization, and big data.
  • Build the skills to explore, analyze, manage, and visualize large data sets using the latest technologies.
  • Apply data science and analytical methods to think critically about data, drive decision making and address data-rich problems in a variety of fields such as business, health, technology, social sciences, and the environment.
  • Develop the skills for quantitative thought leadership, including the ethical and legal dimensions of data analytics, as well as effective communication and collaboration.

Required Courses

In this pathway, Harvard Extension School will credit three courses (12 credits) toward the data science program for earning the MITx MicroMasters Program in Statistics and Data Science.  One course will cover the required statistics requirement and the other two will count as electives.

To earn the master’s degree, you complete the following nine courses (36 credits).

9 Graduate Courses

Courses can be completed online or on campus. The precapstone course must be completed on-campus in either a three-week January or summer session.

  • CSCI 101 Foundations of Data Science and Engineering
  • 4 data science core courses
  • 2 data science electives
    • EXPO 34 is an elective option
  • Precapstone (on campus)
  • Capstone

In the capstone, you work with an industry partner on a real-world data science project. You enroll in the precapstone and capstone courses in back-to-back semesters and in your final academic year. The capstone must be taken alone as your sole remaining degree requirement.

Search for Courses

The Division of Continuing Education (DCE) offers degree courses all year round. You can study in fall, January, and spring terms through Harvard Extension School (HES) and during the summer through Harvard Summer School (HSS).

To find degree courses in the DCE Course Search and Registration platform:

  • Under Search Classes, scroll to Harvard Extension Degree, Certificate, and Premedical Course Search.
  • Select Graduate Degrees
  • Choose Data Science to explore program courses.

On-Campus Requirements

Many courses can be taken online, but you are required to come to Cambridge for the precapstone course, which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

The precapstone is ordinarily offered:

  • On campus during the 3-week January session or
  • On campus during the 3-week summer session.

International Students Who Need a Student Visa

To meet the on-campus requirement, you complete the precapstone in the summer. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School’s three-week session. For more information, see the International Student Study Options page.

Admissions and Getting Started

Earn Your Way In

After you’ve earned the MicroMasters Program credential in Statistics and Data Science, you begin the admission process by simply registering—no application needed—for the following graduate-level course:

  • CSCI 101 Foundations of Data Science and Engineering

Grade requirements: You must complete CSCI 101 with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0. You have two attempts to earn the minimum grade of B in CSCI 101 (a withdrawal grade counts as an attempt) and the course cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.

Writing skills exam: In addition, you need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills or complete the program elective EXPO 34 Business Rhetoric with a grade of B or higher. Tip: Take the test right away, even before your first semester at Harvard, to help ensure timely admission.

Eligibility: Prior to beginning this pathway, which starts with your first MITx course, you need to possess a four-year, regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master’s degree in data science or related field.

Submitting Your Application

During the semester that you are completing CSCI 101 Foundations of Data Science and Engineering, submit the official application to the program. 

Don’t delay! It is critical to prioritize the degree course for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll avoid the delayed application fee or the loss of credit for expired course work, and you’ll gain access to exclusive benefits (see bottom of page). Also, critical degree courses are only open to officially admitted candidates such as precapstones and capstones.

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 8 more courses after admission to earn the degree. A complete application includes your MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Statistics and Data Science.

For more details about eligibility, the application process, and application fees, visit Admissions.

MicroMasters Program Admission Pathway Policy

The MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Statistics and Data Science must be earned prior to enrolling in any degree-applicable courses at Harvard. Further, the credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of application. Credit is only granted for the entire MicroMasters Program; Harvard credit will not be awarded for individual courses.

For more details about Harvard Extension School degree program eligibility and the application process, visit Admissions. If you have questions about the MicroMasters Program, contact MITx directly.

Cost and Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. You’ll find our tuition comparable to tuition at public universities. And when compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

Our Tuition (2022–23 rate) $3,100 per course ($775 per credit)
Average Tuition of Peer Institutions $5,476 per course
Average Total Cost $27,900

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid. Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

To Complete Your Degree

Required GPA, Withdrawal Grades, and Repeat Courses

GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in the course required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses. In addition, your cumulative GPA cannot dip below 3.0.

Withdrawal Grades. You are allowed to receive one withdrawal (WD) grade without it affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

Repeat Courses. We advise you to review the ALM program’s strict policies about repeating courses. Generally speaking, you may not repeat a course to improve your GPA or to fulfill a degree requirement (if the minimum grade was not initially achieved). Nor can you repeat a course for graduate credit that you’ve previously completed at Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School at the undergraduate level.

Courses Expire: Finish Your Coursework in Five Years

You have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any one degree-applicable course at Harvard, whether or not you have been admitted to the program. Harvard courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the five-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work. Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the five-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied.

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Data Science. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.

Degree Candidate Exclusive Benefits

When you become an officially admitted degree candidate you have access to a rich variety of exclusive benefits to support your academic journey. To learn more, visit degree candidate academic opportunities and privileges.