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Enrollment Policies for Graduate Students

Bachelor’s Degree Required

You must have a four-year, US regionally accredited or foreign equivalent bachelor’s degree before enrolling in any courses toward the degree. If you complete courses prior to earning your undergraduate degree, the credit will not count toward the ALM degree.

Duplicative Degree

You cannot be admitted to our graduate program if you already possess or are in the process of earning a master’s degree in a similar field. For example, you cannot be admitted to our Management program if you have already completed an MBA or a master’s degree in a related business field. The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes final determinations about duplicative degrees and, as a result, encourages you to check your eligibility prior to registering in any Harvard Extension School courses if your previous or current studies elsewhere at the master’s level are in a field similar to the one you wish to pursue here.

Graduate Credit

All courses must be taken for graduate credit.

Complete All Credits at Harvard to Graduate

You must complete a total of 48 degree-applicable Harvard, graduate-level credits with required grades, meet the required GPA, and fulfill all degree requirements to graduate. For museum studies, the total credits is 40. 

Two-Credit Courses

Two-credit courses are considered half courses. If you complete a two-credit course, you’ll need to complete a second, two-credit course to earn full course credit towards the ALM degree. For example, you can’t fulfill on-campus credit requirements with just one two-credit course; you’ll need two. You should complete the pair of two-credit courses in one academic year, as a second two-credit course in your area of interest may not be offered the following year. Two-credit courses ordinarily fulfill only elective requirements. 

Full-Time Enrollment

The maximum number of credits you may take is 16 credits in a fall or spring term, four credits in a January session, four credits in a Harvard Summer three-week session, and eight credits in a Harvard Summer School seven-week session.

If you are registered for thesis proposal tutorial for credit, thesis, internship, or a capstone with an E-/S- 599 course number, you are considered a full-time student. This includes the term of your initial registration and all subsequent terms in which you continue your work with program approval. Program approval will not be granted for full-time status in an upcoming term, if you are scheduled to submit your thesis project during the first nine weeks of that term.

Repeat Courses

Repeat courses are identified by their subject and course number (for example, MGMT E-4000 Organizational Behavior and MGMT S-4000 Organizational Behavior are the same courses) and occasionally by a notation in the course description (for example, “Students may not take both ECON E-1600 and ECON S-1615 for degree or certificate credit”).

Because repeating course content has limited educational value, degree credit is not awarded for the same Harvard course for which undergraduate or graduate credit has already been received.

Therefore, if you earned a grade below the minimum required for your ALM degree, you must choose an alternative course. Or, if you completed a course at the undergraduate level with us here at Harvard–regardless of the passing grade earned–you must also choose an alternative course.

There are three exceptions:

  1. Graduate-credit creative writing courses with an R in the course number (e.g., CREA 100R) may be repeated only once.
  2. You may repeat a graduate-credit course in which you’ve earned a grade below the required B or B- when attempting to fulfill a specific degree requirement that has no alternative course options (e.g., proseminar). In these cases, both grades count toward the GPA. In many of these courses, you have only two attempts to earn the required grade (a withdrawal/WD grade counts as an attempt).
  3. You may repeat a graduate-credit course in which you’ve earned a grade of E; however, we strongly encourage you to choose an alternative course if one is available.

If you do choose to repeat a course, it will appear on your official transcript in brackets and will not count toward the degree or your GPA unless you earn a failing grade of E in it.

Repeating capstone or thesis courses due to a poor grade (below B-, WD, or TNC) requires a formal petition to the Harvard Extension School Administrative Board. Refer to the capstone or thesis webpage for details.

See Academic Standing for more information.

Online Academic Progress Reports

Once admitted, you are required to review your personalized academic progress reports on the Degree Candidate portal, available via MyDCE, AA/ALB Community; they are updated after each term.  If you fail to track your degree requirements, you may need to take extra courses and delay graduation.

Dual Enrollment

You cannot be simultaneously enrolled as a candidate in more than one Harvard Extension School degree program, nor can a course count toward more than one ALM degree program at Harvard Extension School.

Transfer Credit

No credit may be transferred from other colleges and universities, nor is any credit given for related work or military experience. Credit for the MITX MicroMasters (not individual MITX courses) is only awarded as part of the MITX Admission Pathways. Same holds true for the Harvard Kennedy School Public Leadership Credential.

Inactive Status

Continuous enrollment is essential for successful degree completion as it ensures ongoing momentum toward your goal. It is also required to maintain degree candidate privileges. If you do not successfully complete a course toward your degree program for one year (fall, spring, and summer), your candidacy becomes inactive and you’ll lose many degree privileges, including ID card and Harvard e-mail account privileges. To return to active status, you need to (1) reaffirm your commitment to the program by meeting with your academic advisor, (2) articulate a plan to complete the program within your required five-year deadline, and (3) register for courses during the next academic year. Failure to successfully complete a course toward your degree program for two years will result in your candidacy being expired. 

Five-Year Completion Deadline

Your five-year deadline date is displayed on your course record sheet, which is available, once you are admitted, via the Degree Candidate Portal. For details regarding how the five-year deadline is calculated, please review your specific degree-field requirements web page.

If all requirements have not been satisfied by your deadline date, your candidacy will automatically expire and you are removed from the program. Your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

For Thesis Track Candidates

If you have coursework remaining at the end of five years, including the thesis proposal 4-credit tutorial, your candidacy will automatically expire and you are removed from the program. Your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

However, at the end of five years, if you’ve completed all other degree requirements but the thesis and are in good, active academic standing (i.e., not inactive), you may gain one–and only one–additional year of candidacy to complete the thesis by paying an active file fee of $500.

The fee allows you to retain library and other degree candidate privileges, while you are working on your thesis. If you do not submit the fee, your candidacy will automatically expire. If you submit the fee, but do not meet the one-time extended deadline to complete the thesis, your candidacy will automatically expire and you are removed from the program. No further extensions of time will be given and your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

Returning From Candidate Expired (CE) Status

CE status requires one year of mandatory rustication from Harvard Extension School and/or Harvard Summer School. If you decide at some future date to resume your studies, you can petition the Office of ALM Advising and Program Administration. Please note that without exception courses over five years old are considered expired and will no longer fulfill degree requirements.

If your petition for re-admission is granted, you’ll be held to any new admission and degree requirements. If all your coursework has expired, you’ll need to start from the beginning and complete all new courses, including the three degree courses required for admission. If some or all of your coursework is not expired and can be counted toward the degree, you’ll still be required to (1) complete additional courses prior to admission to demonstrate your seriousness of intent and ability to re-engage in academic work after a long absence (for example, the proseminar or another key course in your field). This may require taking courses above and beyond the minimum needed to graduate. You will also be required to (2) meet with a research advisor about your intended thesis topic. Petition for re-admission will not be approved for students without confirmation of a workable thesis topic and research plan.

The ALM Office will offer advice regarding which courses have expired, which courses may and may not be repeated, and the courses you should complete to re-apply. It is critical that you petition the Office prior to enrolling in courses. Re-admission petitions are only considered for students who are in good standing and are welcomed three times a year: May 15-June 1 to begin taking courses in a fall term, September 15-October 1 to begin taking courses in January or spring term, and January 15-February 1 to begin taking courses at the Harvard Summer School.

If you are allowed to return from CE status and, for the second time, you do not complete the degree, you’ll be permanently retired with no opportunity to be reinstated.