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Information Management Systems Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Information Management Systems degree consists of 12 courses (48 credits), 1 of which is required on campus, here at Harvard University. Weekend options are available, where you can complete the requirement in one weekend.

Getting Started:

  1. Explore the required course curriculum.
  2. Determine your initial admissions eligibility.
  3. Learn about the 2 degree courses required for admission.
  4. Search and register for courses.

Required Courses

12 Graduate Courses

The degree is for individuals who know object-oriented programming using C++ or Java. If you need to strengthen your background, first complete our programming certificate.

  • 1 web principles course
  • 1 cloud communications course
  • 1 cloud computing course
  • 1 security and risk management course
  • 1 database management course
  • 1 IT management course
  • 1 business analytics course
  • 4 information management system electives
    • EXPO 34 is an elective option
  • ISMT 599 Capstone Seminar in Digital Enterprise or ISMT 599A Capstone Seminar in Information Management (both are only available on campus)

The Harvard On-Campus Experience (Capstone Seminar)

Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard University campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least 1 course—the capstone—which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

The capstone requirement is offered online with an intensive weekend on campus (fall/spring only).

International Students Who Need a Student Visa

To meet the on campus requirement, you complete the capstone over the summer. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School’s 7-week session. For more details, see International Student Study Options for important visa information.

Optional Certificates

You can choose to concentrate your degree studies in a specific area and earn a certificate along the way. There are 4 options:

  • Back-end Web Development
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Analytics
  • Web Technologies

Admissions

Below are our initial eligibility requirements and an overview of our unique admissions process to help get you started. Be sure to visit Degree Program Admissions for full details.

Initial Eligibility

  • Prior to enrolling in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a 4-year regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated for equivalency.
  • You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master’s degree in information management systems or a related field. Check your eligibility.

The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes all final determinations about program eligibility.

Earning Your Way In: Courses for Admission

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following 2 graduate-level degree courses (available online):

  • 1 cloud communications course 
  • 1 database management course

In addition, you need to obtain a passing score on 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. 

The courses above, including EXPO 34 if you take it as an elective, count toward the degree once you’re admitted; they are not additional courses.

Course sequencing. The 2 courses don’t need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

Tip: Take the test of critical reading and writing skills right away, even before your first semester at Harvard, to help ensure timely admission.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit the official application to the program. 

Don’t delay! You must prioritize the two degree courses 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.
  • ensure your enrollment in critical and timely degree-candidate-only courses.
  • gain access to exclusive benefits (see bottom of page).

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 10 more courses after admission to earn the degree. 

For details about full eligibility, the application process, and application fees, visit Degree Program Admissions.

MITx MicroMasters® Credential Admissions Pathway

If you have earned the MicroMasters® Program credential in Supply Chain Management, you may apply the credential toward admission and complete one additional course at the Harvard Extension School. Learn more about the micromasters pathway

Search and Register 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 Information Management Systems to explore program courses.

To Complete Your Degree

Required 3.0 GPA, 2 Withdrawal Grade Limit, and Repeat Course Policy

GPA. You need to earn a B or higher in each of the 2 degree courses 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 2 withdrawal (WD) grades without them 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 Under 5 Years

Courses over 5 years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Further, you have 5 years to complete your degree requirements. The 5-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any 2 degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to a degree program.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the 5-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 5-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied (i.e., too many courses to complete in the time remaining).

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: Information Management Systems. 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.