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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, you’ll join a community that’s invested in your growth and success. All of us — our staff, faculty, and current students — are here to support you every step of the way. 

Check out our guide to becoming a student below. We invite you to join us in class in spring 2024!


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Spring Registration Webinar

Join us October 17 for Everything You Need to Know Before You Register for Spring. Our team will guide you through the enrollment process and answer questions about admissions, financing, and more.
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Beginning Your Enrollment Path

Read through our entire guide, or jump to the section you need:

Exploring Academic Paths

Whether you choose to earn a degree or certificate, pursue premedical studies, or build a new skill in a single course, we offer flexible pathways to fulfill your time, budget, and learning needs.

Not sure which path is right for you? You can start with a single course. Then, continue coursework to earn a certificate — and ultimately stack all your courses toward a degree.

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Considering Your Schedule

We offer full-term and short-session courses throughout the year. When you choose to start depends on your academic goals, life priorities, and course availability.

Registration for January and spring courses opens November 6.

You can choose from online synchronous (live) and asynchronous (no live class meetings) course formats to fit your busy schedule. Whether live or on demand, our online courses provide you with personal attention from instructors and teaching staff as well as an active community of talented peers.

  • 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

  • 80%

    Courses Online

  • 20%

    Courses on Harvard Campus

Browsing Courses & Open Enrollment

At Harvard Extension School, most of our courses are open to the public for registration. You know best which courses will help you meet your goals. After reading the description and prerequisites, if you believe you have the background to be successful in a course, you can register — no application required.

In the DCE Course Search and Registration platform, you can search all our course offerings for the academic year. 

Select a term, then start your search:

  • Courses for a program. Use the Browse by Degree, Certificate, or Premedical Programs filters to find courses that meet specific requirements. 
  • Individual courses. Browse over 50 subjects by selecting Advanced Search.

Considering beginning your path degree? Check out our tips for starting a degree for guidance on checking eligibility, choosing courses, and more.

Starting the Enrollment Process

Review our Academic Calendar and add critical registration deadlines to your personal calendar, so you won’t miss important deadlines, including:

  • The payment deadline so you can avoid getting dropped from your courses for nonpayment.
  • The registration deadline so you don’t miss the chance to enroll that term.

Enrollment Requirements

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

English Proficiency

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

Reading and 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 (CRWS) before you can enroll. This free, online test helps ensure that your journey at Harvard Extension starts strong with the right course.

Immunization Requirements for On-Campus Study

You’ll need to meet vaccination guidelines to take courses on campus. This requirement doesn’t apply to online courses.

Registering for Courses

Registration for January and Spring 2024 opens on November 6.

Your First Steps

  • Create a MyDCE student portal account.
  • Starting October 19, complete pre-registration in MyDCE. You’ll also be able to save courses to a registration cart in DCE Course Search and Registration so they’re ready for you when registration opens.
  • Starting November 6, you can register for January or spring courses. 

Explore Our Orientation

In our interactive orientation, you can learn more about the Harvard Extension experience from our students and deans. You’ll find helpful tips for succeeding as a student, engaging with faculty, and embracing our community values.

Ready to get started?

  1. Watch the introductory video.
  2. Set up your student account by first creating a DCEKey.

Connecting with Us for Support

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. 

General Questions about Registration and Enrollment

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. 

By Phone

(617) 495-4024

Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, Eastern time

By Email

Predegree Advising & Admissions: Virtual Office Hours 

Our Predegree Advising & Admissions team hosts virtual office hours, where you can ask questions about the admissions process. Learn more about virtual office hours.