Harvard Extension School is launching brand new microcertificates for the 2023-24 academic year. Microcertificates offer the opportunity for students to earn a credential and build their expertise in a specialized area over the span of two highly curated graduate-level courses.

Gaining a credential in the field of your choice can be an excellent way to show current or prospective employers that you are dedicated to continuous learning and improving your skill sets.

“Students have let us know they’re looking for credentials they can earn relatively quickly to demonstrate knowledge and skills to employers,” said Anne Dwojeski-Santos, director of certificates and non-degree offerings at HES. “We also know that employers are increasingly looking for evidence of continued learning and staying atop the latest developments in their field when hiring. We’ve worked with faculty experts to develop tightly curated curricula that will allow students to engage deeply with material and build their expertise.”

What Is a Microcertificate and How Do They Work?

A microcertificate is a set of short, competency-based courses designed to help students build and demonstrate mastery in a given area. At HES, microcertificates offer a path to a credential that is shorter, more affordable, and highly focused on a specific skill set. 

The demand for alternative credentials is on the rise. According to a 2023 report from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, 93% of executives, 83% of supervisors, and 76% of HR professionals placed a high or moderate value on alternative credentials.

Microcertificates are customized for our students’ busy lifestyles and professional ambitions. No prerequisites or applications are required — just register for your first course! 

Visit our microcertificates page for more information and details about the available programs.

How Is a Microcertificate Different From Other Credentials, Certificates, or Degree Programs?

A microcertifcate is distinguished by the abbreviated time it takes to complete as well as the reduced cost.

Because microcertificates require only 2 courses to complete with a grade B or higher, students can expect to earn their credential within 1 year. This short timeline aims to support students’ momentum and reinforce the learning between the 2 courses. 

In contrast, HES graduate degrees have an admissions process that includes completing 2 to 3 courses to qualify for admission. Graduate degrees typically include 12 total courses to complete, including a required on-campus experience. Students must complete their degree in 5 years or less. 

HES graduate certificates, like microcertificates, do not require an application. However, they are twice as long, requiring 4 courses to complete within 3 years.


Microcertificates are designed to stack toward other credentials, including graduate certificates and, if you choose to continue, a graduate degree. 

Build Skills

Because of the accelerated timeframe, microcertificates are an ideal way to enhance your professional learning and development. Whether you’re looking to improve upon your existing skillsets or learn new ones in your field, microcertificates can help you keep pace — and excel — in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive environment.

Showcase Expertise

A microcertificate is a tangible way to showcase your expertise to current employers and build knowledge in your field. Investing in your education and professional development can benefit not only you, but your organization or company as well. 

What Type of Microcertificates Does Harvard Offer?

HES offers microcertificates in the topic areas of business, sustainability, and technology. The courses are taught by HES instructors who teach across Harvard and peer institutions and work as expert practitioners in their fields.

Sustainability Microcertificates

Our sustainability microcertificates each address a different facet of sustainability, leveraging essential concepts, tools, and skills needed to apply to real-life problems.

Students can select from the following 4 microcertificate topic areas:

  • Circular Economics
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Sustainable Finance 

Business Management Microcertificates

Our business management microcertificates are designed to help you reach your goals as a strong, savvy, and effective business leader.

Choose from 2 microcertificate topic areas:

  • Project Management Methodologies
  • Wellbeing at Work

Technology Microcertificates

Technology is an ever-growing — and ever-evolving — part of our world. Our technology microcertificates offer the opportunity to learn or improve specialized skills to set you apart.

The 3 technology microcertificate topic areas are:

  • Database Management
  • Web Application Development
  • Data Modeling and Ethics

Who Should Pursue a Microcertificate?

HES built microcertificates to be flexible and accessible to students at all career stages. But they are ideal for those who are passionate about accelerating their career.

Whether you’re interested in your personal professional development, looking to switch industries, or fill a potential skill gap, a microcertificate is a positive step toward reaching your goals.

New and Prospective Students

If you’re new to HES, microcertificates offer the opportunity to learn how a Harvard credential can benefit you. 

Connect with students around the world and learn from highly qualified and passionate faculty — all while setting yourself up for a potential path to a graduate degree or certificate.

Career Advancers

A lot can change over the course of time, particularly if you’ve been in the workforce for many years and have not recently pursued additional education. Our microcertificates can refresh your skills and update your expertise so you can feel assured that you have the latest knowledge needed to succeed.

For those seeking a career change, microcertificates can put you on the right path with intensive and in-depth training, no long wait required. 

At HES, our mission is lifelong learning and we welcome all who are simply curious and want to learn more, just for the sake of learning.


At HES, our 2023-24 tuition is $3,220 a course. Each microcertificate amounts to $6,440 to complete.

How to Get Value From Your Harvard Microcertificate

Now that you’ve earned your microcertificate, use it to your best advantage! You put the work in, so be proud of your accomplishment.

Share Your Achievement

Make sure to share your achievement on social media, such as LinkedIn, as well as with your employers. This will demonstrate your new proficiencies and let peers and colleagues know about your dedication to your professional development. 

Pair With Another Microcertificate or Degree Program

Keep the momentum going and pursue a graduate certificate or degree program! Each microcertificate fulfills requirements toward their given graduate certificates, which can then lead to a potential graduate degree. 

Begin a Harvard Microcertificate

Whether you’re looking to learn something new, explore a new field, gain expertise in your current industry, or you’re interested in earning an advanced degree, microcertificates offer many options and pathways. 

Courses are offered during both the fall and spring semesters, so keep an eye out for HES’ registration start dates. 

Get started today!