Skip to content

COVID-19 Updates: Review our guidelines and mandatory policies for on-campus presence.

Management Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Management degree field consists of 12 courses (48 credits). At least 4 courses are taken on campus here at Harvard University. Weekend options are available, where you can complete the requirement in 4 weekends. For the capstone track, you complete two 3-week courses on campus.

Getting Started

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

Required Courses

12 Graduate Courses

Core

  • ECON 1010 Microeconomic Theory or ECON 1615 Managerial Economics
  • MGMT 1000 Financial Accounting Principles or MGMT 1600 Managerial Accounting
  • 1 organizational behavior course
    • MGMT 4000 Organizational Behavior, MGMT 4030 Learning Through Change, or MGMT 4100 Managing Yourself and Leading Others
  • 1 finance course
  • 1 marketing course
  • 1 enterprise management course
  • 1 strategy course

Noncapstone Track Electives

  • 1 additional enterprise management course
  • 4 management electives
    • EXPO 34 is an elective option

Capstone Track Electives

  • 3 management electives
    • EXPO 34 is an elective option
  • MGMT 597 Precapstone in Management: Entrepreneurship in Action (spring course)
  • MGMT 599 Capstone in Management: Entrepreneurship in Action (summer course)

Capstone experience. You’ll work in a professional advisory team, supported by faculty and mentors on a real-world, client project. You’ll apply concepts learned in the core courses to solve practical leadership challenges as a business advisor for a local, national, or international employer.

The Harvard On-Campus Experience (4 Courses)

Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard University campus experience, which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

Noncapstone Track

You come to Cambridge for at least 4 courses. On-campus requirements can be completed through any combination of the following options.

Limited flexibility? You can typically fulfill the requirements in 4 intensive weekends.

  • Courses that combine weekly online classes over a semester with an intensive weekend on campus.
  • 15-week fall or spring semester courses that meet only on campus. Courses with the format “on campus or online” do not fulfill this requirement.
  • 3-week January courses that meet only on campus.
  • 3-week or 7-week summer courses that meet only on campus.

Capstone Track

You come to Cambridge for two, 3-week courses offered in  summer and January. Summer housing is available for an additional fee.

The first 3-week summer or January term, you complete any of the core courses. Then, after completing all core courses and the precapstone, you’ll come to campus during the very next summer to complete the three-week capstone.

Mandatory sequence: The precapstone and capstone must be completed in back-to-back semesters (spring/summer).

International Students Who need a Student Visa

To meet the on-campus requirement, you study with us in the summer. We recommend the capstone track with two, 3-week summer sessions. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School. For more information, see International Student Study Options page.

Optional Certificates

You can choose to concentrate your degree studies in a specific area within in management and earn a certificate along the way. There are 11 specific options and 1 broad overview option:

  • Business Communications
  • Business Economics
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Sustainability and Innovation
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing Management and Digital Strategy
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Principles of Finance
  • Project Management
  • Real Estate Investment
  • Strategic management (broad overview)

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 management or business, including an MBA, or a related field. Confirm your initial 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 3 graduate-level degree courses (available online):

  • 1 economics course (microeconomics or managerial economics)
  • 1 organizational behavior course or EXPO 34 Business Rhetoric
  • 1 accounting course (financial or managerial accounting)

The courses above, including EXPO 34, count toward the degree once you’re admitted; they are not additional courses.

Before registering for an organizational behavior or the economics course, you’ll need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills or earn a B or higher in EXPO 34 Business Rhetoric.

Course sequencing. The 3 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.

Applying to the Degree Program

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

Don’t delay! You must prioritize the three 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-priority courses.
  • gain access to exclusive benefits (see bottom of page).

Eligible students who submit a complete and timely application will have 9 more courses after admission to earn the degree. 

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

Management Degree vs. MBA?

What is the difference between our management degree and a traditional MBA? Program director Laura Wilcox answers this question.

Alternative Admission Pathways

You may consider one of our two alternative pathways to admission:

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 Management 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 3 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.

HBS Online CORe and Degree Requirements

CORe does not count for credit toward the degree (even the credit version) and does not replace the required accounting or organizational behavior requirement, which you’ll need to complete once admitted with a grade of B or higher.

For the accounting requirement, you’ll need to register for the non-CORe version of the Financial Accounting Principles course or choose Managerial Accounting.

Courses Expire: Finishing Your Coursework in 5 years

Harvard 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 your third degree-applicable course, whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program.

If you are admitted using CORe, you have 6 years to complete your degree requirements. The 6-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any 1 degree-applicable course, whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the 5- or 6-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- or 6-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: Management. 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.