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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.

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 — there’s 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 — establishing your academic readiness by completing two or three required, foundational courses before applying for admission to your chosen program.

Stackable Credentials: An Academic Journey that Grows With You

We understand that your goals may evolve over time. Our courses, certificates, and degrees are designed to be adaptable and stackable.

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.

You can learn more about how to stack microcertificates, certificates, and degrees in our blog.

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.

  • 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.

Learn how to finance your Harvard Extension School education with Wendy Abramo-Merrill from Student Financial Services.

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 2023-24 Course TuitionAverage Course Tuition of Peer Institutions
Undergraduate$2,040 per course$2,900 per course
Graduate$3,220 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. 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

Watch our walkthrough of the registration process from our recent webinar.

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.