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Prospective Students

Welcome to Harvard Extension School

Your Guide to Getting Started

Going back to school as a working adult is a big commitment. At Harvard Extension School (HES), you’ll join a community that’s invested in your growth and success. All of us — our staff, faculty, alumni, and current students — are here to support you every step of the way.

Ready to explore? Learn more about:

A group of smiling Extension School graduates at commencement.

Get Ready for Fall 2024

Course Registration Opens July 22

We’re offering nearly 500 courses this fall. Check out the listings by subject, degree, or certificate.

Upcoming Webinars 

Sign up for our fall webinar series to learn more about new offerings and explore programs.

A Harvard Education Designed for You

Academic Opportunities, Online & On Campus

At HES, you can choose from a variety of flexible learning options designed to fit your time, budget, and goals. Whether you live minutes from campus or across the globe, you can experience a Harvard education on your terms.

Open Enrollment & “Earn Your Way In” Admissions

Taking a single course or earning a certificate?

You only need to meet enrollment requirements — no application required.

Planning to pursue a degree?

Through our earn-your-way-in admissions process, we honor the student you are today: a working professional with a wealth of life and work experience. To begin, you’ll bring that experience right into the classroom before you apply — completing two or three of your degree courses to showcase your ability to succeed in the program and earn your admission.

Earning Stackable Credentials

We understand that your goals may evolve. Our courses, certificates, and degrees are designed to be adaptable and stackable. See: How to Stack Credentials.

Part-Time Learning, Full-Time Impact

Going back to school doesn’t have to mean putting your life on hold. We’ve designed our courses, certificates, and degrees to give you the flexibility to pace your studies to fit your schedule.

Balancing life with the rigors of the Harvard classroom will be challenging. It’ll also be deeply rewarding — inspiring you to make an impact in your work and community every day.

Flexible Schedules

We offer courses multiple times a year, in terms of varying lengths — so you can balance school, career, and other life commitments.

  • Fall

    7- and 15-week courses, late August to mid-December

  • January

    3-week intensive courses

  • Spring

    7- and 15-week courses, late January to mid-May

  • Summer

    3- and 7-week sessions, late June to mid-August

A student sitting on the couch works on a laptop.

Accessible Course Participation Options

We offer flexible course formats designed to help you align your studies with your schedule.

If you’re taking a single course or are earning a microcertificate, that work may apply toward a future graduate certificate or degree. Or, you might pursue a master’s degree and earn a graduate certificate along the way by choosing courses that apply toward both credentials.

  • Four people around a globe.

    Online Synchronous. Most of our courses are held live online (Eastern time).

  • Person on a video call.

    Online Asynchronous. 35% have no required live attendance.

  • Teacher speaking to class.

    On Campus. 20% provide the option to attend on campus (intensive weekends available).

Our Teaching & Learning team discusses our philosophy of “human-centered learning done online.”

Affordable Tuition & Financing Options

Our goal is to provide you with easy-to-understand information about the costs and financing options that will enable you to reach your education goals.

We believe that a high-quality education should also be affordable. Our course tuition rates are comparable to public universities and only a fraction of the tuition of our peer institutions.

Credit LevelOur 2024-25 Course TuitionAverage Course Tuition of Peer Institutions
Undergraduate$2,100 per course$2,900 per course
Graduate$3,340 per course$4,330 per course

If you are planning to complete a degree or certificate, the total cost of completion will depend on how many courses are required.

There are a variety of ways to pay for courses, including through our payment plan or an employer’s tuition reimbursement program. Students admitted to a degree program may apply for financial aid. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens who demonstrate sufficient financial need generally receive HES-supported grant funds to cover a portion of their tuition costs each term in addition to conventional federal financial aid options. Our Student Financial Services team is here to help you through the process.

Invest in Your Future: How to Enroll at HES

Whether you plan to enroll for your first course toward a certificate or degree or an individual course, you simply register — no application required. The best part? You’ll benefit immediately. Our courses are designed so you’ll be able to take what you learn in class today and apply it to your work tomorrow.

Review Enrollment Requirements

While all our courses are open enrollment, there are several important requirements that you should be aware of before you begin the registration process.

English Proficiency Requirement

If English is your second language, you’ll need to prove English proficiency before registering for a course. We have multiple proficiency options.

Reading & Writing Placement Test

Some courses — including many courses for admission to degree programs — require you to pass the Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills before you can enroll. This free, online test helps ensure that your journey at Harvard Extension starts strong with the right course.

On-Campus Study Immunization Requirements

If the course you’re taking is on campus, you’ll need to meet vaccination guidelines. This requirement doesn’t apply to online courses.

Registering for Your First Course

Fall course registration opens July 22.

Step 1: Set up your MyDCE Student Account

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to:

  • Create your DCE Key login credentials.
  • Confirm your email address. If you are new to Harvard, your Harvard ID number will be issued, activated, and viewable on your MyDCE dashboard generally within two business days of your course registration.

Complete pre-registration.

  • You’ll be asked to provide your contact information and answer a few questions before you can register.

Step 2: Add courses to your cart

Next, log into Course Search and Registration.

You can search for courses by term, degree, certificate, program, format, and more. Submit your schedule when you’re ready to register.

Step 3: Finalize your registration & make payment

Return to your MyDCE account to submit your payment. Refer to the Academic Calendar for payment deadlines.

Familiarize yourself with the MyDCE platform. MyDCE will be your HES hub for placement testing, new student orientation, links to your course websites (via Canvas), and viewing your final grades once they are posted.

A Supportive Community — We’re Here to Help!

Enrollment Services

Our dedicated staff of Enrollment Services professionals can answer any of your questions about creating a student account, using the course search, registering for courses, and making payment.


Phone: (617) 495-4024 Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Time

Personalized Enrollment Coaching

If you need support as you consider and choose a program, and you’ve never taken a course with us before, an enrollment coach will work with you one-on-one. Your coach can help you find a program that fits your goals and life, select courses, and finalize enrollment.

Ready to Join Our Community?

Hear our students talk about their academic experience and why they chose to attend Harvard Extension School.