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Earn Your Way In Admissions

Here at Harvard Extension, you begin your coursework before you even apply. Why? Because we believe the best way to prove you can succeed in the program is by first succeeding in the classroom.

On this page we’ll cover:

  • Requirements you must meet to be eligible for admission
  • Courses you must take before you apply for admission
  • Materials you should have ready for when you’re application window opens
  • How to submit your application
  • The application review process

1. Check Your Eligibility

To pursue an graduate degree at Harvard Extension, you must meet the following criteria:

You hold a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.

The undergraduate degree must be awarded by a college or university that was regionally accredited at the time of your attendance, with a degree conferral date that precedes enrollment in graduate-level courses taken at Harvard Extension School.

You do not already have a graduate degree in a similar field.

If you already hold a graduate degree, you may earn a master’s degree from Harvard Extension School provided the two degrees are in dissimilar fields with unrelated content.

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. Use this form to submit your inquiry and transcript(s).

Additional Eligibility Requirements For:

Biotechnology and Bioengineering & Nanotechnology Applicants

You have completed at least one year of postbaccalaureate scientific research.

  • You must have directly participated in the research performed in an academic or industry setting.
  • You should have designed and conducted experiments, collected data and analyzed results, and concluded and discussed outcomes.
  • You should have a strong understanding of the scientific method.
  • Your research experience includes laboratory, clinical, or computational research.
  • You hold an undergraduate degree in an area of physical, life, or computer science.

Questions about this requirement should be sent to admissions@extension.harvard.edu.

International Applicants

Verify international credits and degrees.
This requirement should be completed as early as possible. For more information, visit our Admission Requirements for International Students page.

2. Complete Degree Courses for Admission

At Harvard Extension School, your admission journey starts in the classroom. Here’s how to qualify for admission.

Register for the 4-credit graduate-level course(s) your field of study requires for admission.

See the Degree Requirements page for your field of study to find the stipulated degree course(s) required for admission.

Meet the grade requirements for admission.

B or higher
Earn at least a grade of B in each of the degree courses required for admission.

Two-attempt limit on the proseminar
You are ineligible to apply if you fail to earn the minimum grade of B or higher in two registration attempts of the proseminar, if one is required for your field of study. If you repeat the proseminar, both grades will apply to your cumulative GPA unless the course has expired, as outlined below. A withdrawal (WD) is considered a registration attempt. See Enrollment Policies for Graduate Students for information about how repeat courses affect your GPA.

3.0 GPA
Earn the required cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 (equivalent to a grade of B) or higher from all Harvard courses. If you haven’t earned at least a B in all of your Harvard courses, use our GPA Estimator tool to determine your GPA. See Academic Standing for information on grade-point average calculation for the graduate degree program.

Be timely: Apply when you are completing your last required course for admission and within two years of earning your proseminar grade (if required).

Submitting an application promptly near the conclusion of your course(s) stipulated for admission is essential not only for your successful admission but also for degree program completion.

Moreover, degree requirements, including admission courses, can change from year to year and courses expire (as explained below), which may result in your losing degree credit if you postpone submitting your application, so don’t delay.

As a result, students who do not apply for admission to the program in a timely manner are assessed an additional $300 delayed application fee.

Also, apply within two years of earning your proseminar grade. If the proseminar grade is older than two years at the time of application, you must retake the course and register for a section with a different instructor, if possible.

Refer to the calendar for specific dates and use the Extension Application Portal to access the application using your Harvard Key.

Additional Program-Specific Requirements

Finance and Management Applicants Using CORe for Admission

You may earn the Harvard Business School Online CORe (Credential of Readiness) certificate, for credit or noncredit, for admission to the fields of Finance and Management.

In addition, you must complete ECON 1010: Microeconomic Theory, ECON 1600: Economics of Business, or ECON 1615: Managerial Economics at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To participate in CORe, submit a separate application through the Harvard Business School Online website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in CORe, note the following:

  • While CORe does not count for credit toward your Extension School degree, even if you register for the credit version of it, it will demonstrate your Harvard readiness.
  • It does not replace the organizational behavior or accounting degree requirements for the Management field or the principles of finance or statistics requirements for the Finance field, so you will still need to complete these courses after admission to the program with a grade of B or higher.
  • CORe scores expire after three years from date of issue.

Apply to the degree program only after you have been notified of your passing grade in CORe, as it may take several weeks for your transcript to be produced by Harvard Business School Online. You must request that HBS Online send an electronic copy of your transcript to the Extension School Admissions Office.

Global Development Practice Applicants Using MITx MicroMasters® Program for Admission

You may earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Data, Economics, and Development Policy for admission to the field of Global Development Practice. In addition, you must complete DEVP 102: Proseminar at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential, you must first submit a separate application through the MITx website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters Program, note the following:

  • The MicroMasters Program credential fulfills 16 credits of the 48 credits required for your Harvard Extension School degree. Credit is only awarded for a complete MicroMasters credential.
  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets our eligibility requirements before taking any courses for the MicroMasters Program.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential must be completed prior to your enrollment in any Harvard Extension School courses.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of your application to Harvard Extension School.

Data Science Applicants Using MITx MicroMasters® Program for Admission

You may earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Statistics and Data Science for admission to the field of Data Science. In addition, you must complete CSCI 29: Advanced Python for Data Science at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential, you must first submit a separate application through the MITx website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters Program, note the following:

  • The MicroMasters Program credential fulfills 12 credits of the 48 credits required for your Harvard Extension School degree. Credit is only awarded for a complete MicroMasters credential.
  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets our eligibility requirements before taking any courses for the MicroMasters Program.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential must be completed prior to your enrollment in any Harvard Extension School courses.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of your application to Harvard Extension School.

Finance Applicants Using MITx MicroMasters® Program for Admission

You may earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Statistics and Data Science for admission to the field of Finance. In addition, you must complete ECON 1010: Microeconomic Theory, ECON 1600: Economics of Business, or ECON 1615: Managerial Economics at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential, you must first submit a separate application through the MITx website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters Program, note the following:

  • The MicroMasters Program credential fulfills 16 credits of the 48 credits required for your Harvard Extension School degree. Credit is only awarded for a complete MicroMasters credential.
  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets our eligibility requirements before taking any courses for the MicroMasters Program.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential must be completed prior to your enrollment in any Harvard Extension School courses.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of your application to Harvard Extension School.

Information Management Systems Applicants Using MITx MicroMasters® Program for Admission

You may earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Supply Chain Management for admission to the field of Information Management Systems. In addition, you must complete one web principles, data communication, or database management course at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential, you must first submit a separate application through the MITx website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters Program, note the following:

  • The MicroMasters Program credential fulfills 16 credits of the 48 credits required for your Harvard Extension School degree. Credit is only awarded for a complete MicroMasters credential.
  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets our eligibility requirements before taking any courses for the MicroMasters Program.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential must be completed prior to your enrollment in any Harvard Extension School courses.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of your application to Harvard Extension School.

Management Applicants Using MITx MicroMasters® Program for Admission

You may earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Supply Chain Management for admission to the field of Management. In addition, you must complete ECON 1010: Microeconomic Theory, ECON 1600: Economics of Business, or ECON 1615: Managerial Economics at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential, you must first submit a separate application through the MITx website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters Program, note the following:

  • The MicroMasters Program credential fulfills 16 credits of the 48 credits required for your Harvard Extension School degree. Credit is only awarded for a complete MicroMasters credential.
  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets our eligibility requirements before taking any courses for the MicroMasters Program.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential must be completed prior to your enrollment in any Harvard Extension School courses.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of your application to Harvard Extension School.

Sustainability Applicants Using MITx MicroMasters® Program for Admission

You may earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential in Supply Chain Management for admission to the field of Sustainability. In addition, you must complete ENVR 210: Proseminar at Harvard Extension School with a grade of B or higher and also achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all applicable degree courses.

To earn the MITx MicroMasters Program credential, you must first submit a separate application through the MITx website. Not all students are accepted.

Before enrolling in the MITx MicroMasters Program, note the following:

  • The MicroMasters Program credential fulfills 16 credits of the 48 credits required for your Extension School degree. Credit is only awarded for a complete MicroMasters Program credential.
  • You must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets our eligibility requirements before taking any courses for the MicroMasters Program.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential must be completed prior to your enrollment in any Harvard Extension School courses.
  • The MicroMasters Program credential cannot be more than three years old at the time of your application to Harvard Extension School.

Course Expiration Policy for Admission

Five-year policy. If a course can count toward your degree program, you have five years from the term in which the course was completed to apply to the program using that course as an admission requirement. Otherwise, it expires, and you must repeat it or take a different course that fulfills that same admission requirement.

3. Gather Your Supplementary Materials

Although you may apply only during certain times of the year, you can – and should – prepare your supplementary materials early so when the deadline approaches you’re ready.

Prepare for your online application.

Before the application opens, you can get a head start on it by following these preparatory steps:

  • Collect the names of the colleges and/or universities you have attended and the dates of your attendance.
  • Update your résumé to reflect your current work experience, education, skills, organizational memberships, and achievements.
  • Review tips and tutorials. Review our Tips to Avoid Plagiarism and complete the free online tutorials: Using Sources, Five Scenarios and Using Sources, Five Examples. Complete these before beginning the application, where you will be asked if you completed the tests but will not need to submit your scores.

Request transcripts for previous schools.

We require a current official transcript (i.e., a transcript issued directly from the school to our office) from each college or university from which you have earned a degree.

Electronic transcripts may be sent by your school to admissions@extension.harvard.edu. See the Submit Your Application section for instructions on how to submit paper transcripts.

Students with international credits and degrees must have them evaluated for equivalency as part of the admissions process. For more information, visit Admission Requirements for International Students.

Mail your transcripts (if applicable).

If transcripts must be mailed via post because your college or university does not offer electronic delivery, documents should be sent to:

Admissions Office
Harvard Extension School
51 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Do not open envelopes addressed to you that contain official copies of documents. Instead, mail them unopened in a larger envelope to the Admissions Office.
  • All materials must be received in the Admissions Office no later than the application deadline date for your application to be considered complete.

Materials are accepted and processed by the Admissions Office during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm Eastern Time.

Additional Materials Needed for Certain Programs

Biotechnology and Bioengineering & Nanotechnology Applicants

Request a recommendation from your postbaccalaureate research supervisor.

We require a recommendation to confirm your duties and performance and that you worked at least one year under the supervisor’s direction.

You will need to provide your supervisor’s name and email address as part of the online application. Your supervisor will receive instructions on how to upload their feedback, which you will not be able to view, although you will be able to see if it’s been received.

Data Science, Digital Media Design, Information Management Systems, and Software Engineering Applicants

You must demonstrate proficiency in critical reading and writing skills by:

  • Passing the test of critical reading and writing skills
  • Or completing the required expository writing course for your program before submitting an application. (Other programs require this test earlier in the admissions process, typically for enrollment in an admissions course.)

View CRWS Test Information

All Finance Applicants and applicants to Management using HBS Online CORe

You must demonstrate proficiency in critical reading and writing skills by:

  • Passing the test of critical reading and writing skills.
  • Or completing the required expository writing course for your program before submitting an application.

View CRWS Test Information

Finance and Management Applicants Using CORe for Admission

Order your official CORe transcript, to be submitted with your application materials. See information under Step 2 for more details.

Applicants using MITX Micromasters Program Credential for Admission

Order your official MITx MicroMasters Program credential certificate.

To send your MicroMasters Program credential certificate to the Extension School Admissions Office, log in to your edX dashboard and share your student record with us. A secure link will be sent by edX directly to the Extension School.

4. Submit Your Application

Your application period corresponds with the semester during which you are enrolled in your final course for admission. Details on application periods can be found on When to Apply.

Start your online application.

Refer to When to Apply for the dates between which you are able to use the Extension Application Portal to begin an application using your Harvard Key. You cannot start an application outside these dates.

Open Your Online Application

Pay the application fee.

A nonrefundable $100 fee is required to begin the application. You will be assessed an additional $300 delayed application fee if you have earned grades in more than four courses toward the graduate degree before applying.

5. How We Review Applications

After grades become available for the term, admissions advisors conduct a final application review. The Admissions Office considers the following when reviewing applications.

Academic Standing and Student Conduct

You must be in good academic standing with Harvard University, with no disciplinary or administrative procedures pending, stemming from violations of our Academic Integrity and/or Student Conduct policies. The Admissions Office will consider your academic disciplinary and student conduct records at Harvard University and other academic institutions in making admissions decisions.

You should be aware of our application expectations as well as our Right to Refuse Registration due to infractions that include criminal records, which will also be considered.

Financial Standing

You must be in good financial standing at Harvard as well as previous schools.

English Proficiency

English is the language of instruction at Harvard Extension School. If your native language is not English, you must have provided designated proof of English proficiency to register in the courses that qualify you for admission. And you must be able to register in future courses according to Extension School’s current English proficiency requirements.

As part of your application review, admissions advisors will confirm you have met these requirements and will ask you to provide a letter of explanation if you do not. Students who have misrepresented themselves will be found in violation of the Extension School’s Student Conduct policy. Their applications will be removed from admission consideration, they will be prevented from applying again in the future to a degree program at Extension School, and their case will be reviewed by the Administrative Board to consider grounds for disciplinary action.

Your Complete Application and Admission Decision

A complete application comprises our receipt of a finished online application, specific grade and GPA requirements in stipulated Harvard degree courses, as well as certain academic standing, student conduct, and English proficiency requirements as outlined above and on program-specific pages of this website.

If you submit a complete application and meet these eligibility requirements, you will be admitted.

Admission decisions are made according to the When to Apply schedule and appear in the Extension Application Portal.

If you did not earn the required GPA and/or grades by the end of the semester, you will be notified that you may reapply to the program after you have met those admission criteria.

The Admissions Office makes all final determinations regarding eligibility and urges you to confirm yours prior to registering for any courses at Harvard Extension School.

Inactive students who were once admitted degree candidates should refer to Enrollment Policies for Graduate Students.