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Earn-Your-Way-In Admissions

You enroll in courses toward the completion of your degree before you apply for admission. Why? Because we know that standardized test scores and previous transcripts don’t always accurately reflect our adult learners’ current academic capabilities and drive to succeed.

Admissions Process

On this page we’ll guide you through the admissions steps, including:

1. Check Your Eligibility to Enroll in Courses Toward the Degree

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

You don’t already hold a bachelor’s degree.

If you already possess a bachelor’s degree, you may not pursue another at Harvard Extension School.

You aren’t enrolled in a degree program at another institution.

You may not be enrolled as an undergraduate degree-seeking student at another institution at the time of admission or during your Extension School degree candidacy.

You have a high school diploma or equivalent.

All applicants must possess proof of high school graduation, including those who were homeschooled.

Acceptable credentials include a high school diploma or a high school diploma equivalent as determined by your home state.

If you earned a high school credential outside the United States and are unsure whether it satisfies this requirement, inquire with the Office of Predegree Advising and Admissions, which may request an official credential evaluation if necessary.

Your high school diploma was awarded at least five years before you enrolled in your degree courses.

This program is designed expressly for working adults who wish to earn their degrees part time while they continue to advance in their professions. As a minimum requirement, your high school diploma or its equivalent must have been earned at least five years prior to enrolling in any ALB degree-applicable courses.

Students who were once admitted degree candidates should refer to Enrollment Policies for Undergraduate Students.

The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions makes all final determinations about program eligibility.

2. Complete Degree Courses for Admission

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

Register for three prerequisite courses, including EXPO 25 Academic Writing and Critical Reading.

Refer to Degree Requirements to learn more about the prerequisite degree courses you must take before being admitted.

Meet the grade requirements for admission.

B or higher
Earn at least a grade of B in EXPO 25 and two other 4-credit courses that count toward the degree. Harvard Business School Online’s CORe cannot be used as one of these three courses.

  • Two-attempt limit on EXPO 25
    You are ineligible to apply for undergraduate degree program admission if you fail to earn the minimum grade of B or higher in two EXPO 25 registration attempts. A withdrawal (WD) is considered a registration attempt. See Enrollment Policies for Undergraduates to learn how repeated 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 in 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 undergraduate degree program.

Apply during the semester in which you’re taking your third degree course.

Submitting an application promptly near the conclusion of your degree 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, which may result in your losing degree credit if you postpone submitting your application.

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.

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

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 that you don’t miss a deadline.

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’ve attended and the dates of your attendance.
  • Update your résumé to reflect your current work experience, education, skills, organizational memberships, and achievements.
  • Start thinking about your short essays. These two, 250-word narratives add dimension to your academic history and resume.
    • Applicants can refer to the OPA&A page in MyDCE for helpful resume and essay information. Open the navigation menu in MyDCE by clicking the three black lines next to the Harvard shield at the top of the screen. Choose “Predegree Advising & Admissions” from the menu and then scroll to the Application for Admission section. Choose the “Application Tips” tab.
  • Review tips and tutorials. Review our Using Sources Effectively and Responsibly and complete the free online tutorials: Using Sources, Five Scenarios and Using Sources, Five Examples.

Request transcripts from 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 at which you have registered for courses.

Electronic transcripts may be sent by your school to

Note: If your college or university issues transcripts using a third-party service, you must specify “Harvard Extension School” and our email address in the document recipient field. Transcripts sent to a general “Harvard University” account are not delivered to Harvard Extension School.

See the Submit Your Application section below 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.

All application materials submitted to Harvard Extension School become the property of Harvard Extension School. Due to mandated record-keeping and archival policies, they cannot be returned under any circumstances. 

4. Submit Your Application

There are three opportunities each year to submit an application. Your window corresponds with the semester during which you are enrolled in your final course(s) for admission. Details 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 begin an application. You cannot start an application outside these dates.

Log in to MyDCE to apply. Open the navigation menu by clicking the three black lines next to the Harvard shield at the top of the screen. Choose “Predegree Advising & Admissions” from the menu and then scroll to the Application for Admission section to begin.

If you don’t have the option to choose “Predegree Advising & Admissions” as part of your MyDCE menu, email us with a request to add it.

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 six courses toward the undergraduate degree before applying.

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:

Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions
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 Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions.
  • All materials must be received in the Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions no later than the application deadline date for your application to be considered complete.

Materials are accepted and processed by the Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

How We Review Applications

After grades become available for the term, advisors conduct a final application review and consider the following.

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 Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions 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.

Harvard Extension School emphasizes that no student has a “right” to admission into an Extension School degree program. Satisfaction of the applicable academic requirements and maintaining good academic standing are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for admission. For example, Extension School may deny any student admission to its degree program if it determines, in its discretion, that a grant of admission would conflict with applicable policy; or that the student’s prior personal conduct, including outside the School, demonstrates that the student is not an appropriate candidate for a Harvard degree.

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, 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 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

The School’s receipt of a finished online application, which includes a current resume and satisfactorily written essays, ordinarily constitutes a complete application. The Office of Predegree Advising & Admissions may ask you to submit other supporting documentation before your application is considered complete and will contact you directly in that case.

Additionally, you must meet 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 the program-specific pages of this website.

Admission decisions are made according to the When to Apply schedule and appear in the Extension application portal. For details, log in to MyDCE, choose “Predegree Advising & Admissions” from the navigational menu at the top, scroll to the Application for Admission section, and select the Application Status & Decision tab.

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.

Harvard Extension School does not discriminate against applicants or students on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry or any other protected classification.