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Management Degree Requirements

The Master of Liberal Arts, Management degree field consists of 12 courses (48 credits) with at least four taken on campus (weekend options available) or, for the capstone track, two, three-week summer courses on campus.

  1. Review the details below to learn more about the curriculum and course selection.
  2. Determine your admission eligibility.
  3. Complete the 3 courses for admission. Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll continue the remaining coursework—customizing your path to support your goals.

Required Courses

12 Graduate Courses


  • 1 microeconomic theory or economics of business course
  • 1 financial or managerial accounting course
  • 1 organizational behavior course
  • 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



Before you enroll in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a four-year regionally accredited US bachelor’s degree. You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master’s degree in Management, Business, or a related field. If you are unsure, and because the Admissions Office makes all final determinations about program eligibility, we strongly encourage you to inquire with us in advance of enrolling in any courses at Harvard Extension School, especially if you already hold a degree in management, business, or finance and are interested in an ALM in the field of management or finance.

Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated, and the Admissions Office makes final determinations about eligibility. Refer to Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Earning Your Way In

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

  • 1 microeconomic theory or economics of business course*
  • 1 organizational behavior course or EXPO 34 Business Rhetoric*
  • 1 financial or managerial accounting course

*Before registering for organizational behavior, microeconomic theory, or economics of business 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.

The three 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! To achieve academic success and meet your expected graduation date, it is critical to prioritize the three degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll avoid the delayed application fee and gain access to exclusive degree candidate privileges.

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

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

The Harvard On-Campus Experience

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

For the noncapstone track, you come to Cambridge for at least four courses. On-campus requirements can be completed through any combination of the following options. If you have limited flexibility, you can typically fulfill the requirements in four 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.
  • Three-week January courses that meet only on campus.
  • Three-week or seven-week summer courses that meet only on campus.

For the capstone track, you come to Cambridge for two, consecutive summers, taking an intensive three-week course each summer.

After admission and completing at least organizational behavior, economics, accounting, and finance online, you’ll come to campus to complete an intensive, three-week course (such as, marketing, enterprise management, or a management elective).

The very next summer, after completing at least all core requirements and the precapstone, you’ll come to campus to complete the three-week capstone.

The capstone must be completed right after the spring precapstone. Under no circumstances can you complete the precapstone and then choose to complete the capstone a year later.

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, three-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.

To Complete Your Degree

Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher

Earn a B or higher in each of the degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses, but be sure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher.

You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

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.

Deadline for Finishing Your Coursework

You have five years to complete your degree requirements or, if you are admitted using CORe, you have six years. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete your third degree-applicable course and the six-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete one degree-applicable course. Both timelines apply whether or not you have been admitted to a degree 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- or six-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: Management. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.

Degree Guidelines and Policies

Learn more information about special academic opportunities, student privileges, policies, and completing your degree.