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Enrollment Policies for Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate and Graduate Credit Courses

In courses available for both undergraduate and graduate credit at the Extension School, you should enroll for undergraduate credit. However, if a course is only available for graduate credit, it can count toward your degree. All coursework completed at the Harvard Extension and Harvard Summer Schools counts toward your degree, regardless of credit level.

Course Selection for Degree Requirements

It is critical that you choose courses using the Undergraduate Degree course search.

To find degree courses in the DCE Course Search and Registration platform:

  • Under Search Classes, scroll to Browse by Degree, Certificate, or Premedical Program.
  • Select Undergraduate Degree
  • Choose explore program to find courses.

All courses that you complete and are applicable to degree will count toward your degree, even if you enroll in more degree-applicable courses than required. You cannot choose which courses will and will not apply to your degree. If you want to start taking graduate-level courses toward an ALM degree, while you are finishing up your ALB, you need special approval (see below).

Veteran Benefits and Financial Aid: To receive this funding for courses, you must choose (1) courses that specifically count toward your degree program and (2) specifically fulfill remaining degree requirements. You will not receive funding for courses that do not count toward your current outstanding degree requirements as outlined on your online academic progress reports (see below).

Online Academic Progress Reports

Once admitted, you are required to review your personalized academic progress reports posted to the ALB/ALM Community, Degree Candidate Portal available via MyDCE; they are updated after each term. If you fail to track your remaining degree requirements, you might need to take extra courses and delay graduation.

Maximum Enrollment

You can register for up to 16 credits in fall and spring, four credits in the January session, four credits in Harvard Summer School three-week sessions, and eight credits in Harvard Summer School seven-week sessions. You may seek approval to register for a maximum of 20 credits in a fall or spring term by submitting a course overload petition (there is no overload option for January or summer sessions).

Complete 128 Credits to Graduate

You must complete a total of 128 degree-applicable credits, with a minimum of 64 credits at Harvard, with required grades, meet the required GPA, and fulfill all degree requirements to graduate. 

After a degree is awarded, its curriculum is closed. No adjustments to degree-applicable courses can be made.

Two-Credit Courses

Two-credit courses are considered half courses. If you complete a two-credit course and you need full course credit toward an ALB requirement (e.g., to fulfill residency), you’ll need to complete a second two-credit course. It is highly recommended that you complete the pair of two-credit courses in one academic year, as a second two-credit course in that requirement area may not be offered the following year. Please note that a withdrawal grade (WD) will count as one of five allowed WD grades towards your ALB degree.

Harvard Extension School Undergraduate Candidates Beginning Admission Courses for a Master of Liberal Arts

If you want to begin taking graduate-level courses required for admission to one of the Extension School graduate programs while you are still in the Undergraduate Program, you must receive approval by August 1 for the fall term, January 1 for spring, and May 1 for summer (e-mail

You need to be within 16 credits of graduation. You may complete a maximum of three courses toward graduate admission by earning grades of B or higher.

If you do not receive approval or if you earn WD or letter grades below B, the courses will count toward your undergraduate degree. Courses do not count toward both programs.

Duplicate Subject Matter and Lower-level Coursework

Degree credit is not awarded for any course that duplicates the subject matter of a previous course for which credit has already been received. Additionally, if you have already taken a more advanced course in a subject, credit will not be given for an elementary course taken in the same subject. Transfer credit that has already been awarded is removed if at any point you complete a duplicate course at Harvard.

Repeat Courses

Degree credit is not awarded for a repeat course.

Repeat courses are identified by their subject and course number (for example, MGMT E-4000 Organizational Behavior and MGMT S-4000 Organizational Behavior are the same courses) and occasionally by a notation in the course description (for example, “Students may not take both ECON E-1600 and ECON S-1615 for degree or certificate credit”).

You may not repeat a course to earn degree credit or improve your grade point average (GPA). A repeated course will appear on your transcript in brackets and will not count toward the degree or your GPA unless a failing grade is earned.

There are two exceptions:

  1. You may repeat a course in which you’ve earned a grade of E; however, we strongly encourage you to choose an alternative course if one is available.
  2. You may repeat a required course because you earned a grade below the minimum and there are no alternative courses to choose (e.g., EXPO 25). In this case, both grades count toward the GPA and you have only two attempts to earn the required grade (a withdrawal/WD grade counts as an attempt).

Considering an ALM degree after earning your ALB? If so, you need to be aware that degree credit is not awarded for a course for which undergraduate or graduate credit has already been received.

If you complete a course at the undergraduate level with us here at Harvard–regardless of the passing grade earned–you cannot repeat that same course for graduate credit. We advise you to choose courses carefully and specifically refrain from completing ALM prerequisite courses for admission at the undergraduate level.

Transfer Credits Earned While a Degree Candidate

After admission to the degree program, submit a transfer credit petition to the Undergraduate Degree Program Office before registering in any course whose credit you wish to transfer to your Harvard degree. You may not exceed a total of 64 transfer credits and you may not receive transfer credit in your last semester before graduation.

Dual Enrollment

You cannot be simultaneously enrolled as a candidate in another undergraduate degree granting program outside of Harvard Extension School. Dual enrollment is grounds for dismissal from the undergraduate program.

Native Language

Degree credit is not awarded for foreign language courses in your native language.

Inactive and Candidacy Expired Status

Continuous enrollment is critical to successful degree completion. If you do not enroll in courses for academic credit for one year (fall and spring), your candidate status becomes inactive. Inactive candidates lose many degree privileges, including ID card and Harvard e-mail account privileges.

If you do not enroll in courses for academic credit for five consecutive years, your candidacy expires and you are withdrawn from the undergraduate program. Your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

Medical Leave of Absence

If you have a documented health or medical issues that requires a modification of or reasonable accommodation to our candidacy expired policy, then you need to proactively work with the Accessibility Services Office (ASO) to request a medical leave.

ASO will help make appropriate arrangements for the duration of the leave as well as plans to return and ensure compliance with all academic rules. ASO will engage in an individualized and interactive assessment, which may require consultation with others at the University, as appropriate.  With prior permission, ASO may also require consultation with your health care providers.

You should contact the ASO as soon as a health or medical issues arises, as HES does not ordinarily alter academic policies after the fact.

While on medical leave, your ALB degree status will be inactive, but your candidacy will not automatically expire.

Returning from a Medical Leave of Absence

To return from a medical leave of absence, the ASO will require documentation that the circumstances that led to your leave have been satisfactorily addressed and you are ready to resume your studies.

ASO will engage in an individualized and interactive assessment, which may require consultation with others at the University, as appropriate.  With prior permission, ASO may also require consultation with your health care providers.

The ASO will make the decision whether to allow you to return and determine the conditions for your return based on (1) the best available objective medical evidence and (2) consultation with others at the University, which may include the Harvard University Health Services, the Dean of Student Policy and Governance, or the Administrative Board, as appropriate.

Medical Leave Enrollment and Registration Policies

While on a medical leave your ID card will not be valid. You are not eligible for loan deferments or financial aid. Nor are you able to work at HES as support teaching staff or a faculty aide. You cannot attend HES or University-wide student events, participate in student groups or use student services.

Harvard University Health Insurance. While on medical leave, if you are already participating in Harvard University Health Insurance, you may be eligible for 6-months of temporary coverage. Visit HUHS for details.

Course registration. If you request a medical leave while currently registered for courses, the Accessibility Services Office (ASO) will work with the Registrar’s Office to determine a fair and equitable resolution to your registration status, which may include a drop for a refund, if early in the term, or late withdrawal grade, if later in the term.

Medical Leave Student Conduct

All degree candidates on leave are reminded to maintain a satisfactory standard of conduct.  Any pending disciplinary matters must be resolved before a student on a medical leave of absence will be allowed to return.

Returning from CE Status

If you choose to return to the undergraduate program after your candidacy has expired, you first need to contact the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Program Administration to confirm your remaining requirements and receive course registration advising. Then, you need to meet any new admission course and GPA requirements. If already met, you are required to complete at least one Harvard course with a grade of B or higher. Finally, you petition for readmission to the undergraduate program. Once admitted you will need to complete current degree requirements.