How To Get Into Harvard. Seriously.

Ever wanted an Ivy League education, a degree with a host of Latin on it, and to be able to say you graduated with your Masters from Harvard? It’s possible and I’m living proof. This is one of those little-known things that only people in certain circles know about. We’re shedding some light on how to become a Harvard graduate to the rest of the world.

It’s called Harvard Extension School. This school is an arm of Harvard University that focuses on continuing education and development. The Masters programs are rigorous but of high quality. Thanks to the cachet of the Harvard name, fabulous guest speakers can be brought in to pretty much every class you attend. For example, I am in a Social Media Marketing Class that has had an array of guest speakers from some of the biggest names in the social media world. We’re more than halfway done with the program and have really enjoyed it from start to half-finish. We’re putting some more info about the school below, but wanted to share a brief timeline with what you can expect (based on our personal experience):

  • You can take 3 classes and then apply to the program (application is an essay, transcripts, and proving you did well in the 3 classes)
  • You take about 9 more classes, spread out over a few years (maximum 5 years)
  • One of those classes is a ‘capstone’ class that is rigorous but helps you understand the other 11 classes you just took
  • You get to graduate as part of the big Harvard University Commencement. It’s quite a confluence of schools, celebration, and happiness. Not to mention some amazing commencement speakers.
  • You get a fancy diploma that has a truckload of latin on it but says Harvard and your name. Hang it with pride.

*TIP: Classes can run from $900 to nearly $2,000 apiece so see if you can get a job at Harvard and take classes part-time. Classes are just $40 apiece then. Getting employment at Harvard is not easy but it’s a fantastic place to work, study, and grow. See you on the quad!


Offered Masters:

  • Anthropology and archaeology
  • Biology
  • Celtic languages and literatures
  • Clinical psychology
  • Dramatic arts
  • English
  • Foreign literature, language, and culture
  • Government
  • History
  • History of science
  • International relations
  • Legal studies
  • Linguistics
  • Literature and creative writing
  • Medieval studies
  • Middle Eastern studies
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Visual arts
  • Biotechnology
  • Information technology
  • Journalism
  • Management
  • Mathematics for teaching
  • Museum studies
  • Sustainability and environmental management

As 1 of 13 schools at Harvard University, Harvard Extension School has degrees that allow you to enhance professional skills, prepare for a new career, or pursue intellectual inquiry for personal enrichment.

  • Undergraduate and graduate liberal arts degrees combine a classic curriculum with opportunities for practical training and applied knowledge, priming you for success in academic and professional arenas.
  • Graduate professional degrees provide focused study in preparation for careers in a variety of competitive fields.

Learn about the degree programs, including our unique admissions process.

Courses in liberal arts and professional fields

With more than 600 courses, Harvard Extension School offers a range of possibilities for study, representing more than 65 fields.

  • Attend evening classes on campus in Harvard Square.
  • Choose from more than 100 online courses, including Harvard College lectures.
  • Earn undergraduate or graduate credit, or take a course for noncredit.

Classes are open to any student up to the challenge. You don’t have to be in a degree program to enroll. Whatever your goals or experience, the only general requirement is a true commitment to learning.

Browse our abundant fall, January, and spring course offerings.

World-class faculty

Instructors from the Harvard University and Greater Boston communities bring scholarly expertise and real-world experience to the classroom. You study with:

  • Scholars, researchers, and professionals from Harvard University.
  • Leading faculty from local universities.
  • Experienced professionals from community and business organizations.

Competitive tuition rates

On average, tuition costs range from $900 to $1,975 for undergraduate and graduate 4-credit courses. Charged per course and not per credit, tuition is listed in course descriptions. Financial aid is available to students in degree programs.

Read about tuition.

Motivated classmates and rich resources

Harvard University is a place of intellectual stimulation and discovery, where ideas foster change and awareness inspires commitment. Harvard Extension School—a cornerstone of Harvard University for a century—represents the University’s dedication to extending its rich academic resources to the public, locally, nationally, and internationally.

A wealth of resources

As a student, you can take advantage of the extensive electronic resources available through Harvard’s libraries, career and academic workshops, and computer facilities. You can attend campus lectures and participate in student organizations.

Read more about the benefits of being an Extension School student in Resources.

Our students: focused, independent

The student population of nearly 13,000 women and men is diverse, but they all share a goal of engaging themselves in thought-provoking pursuits. In class, you might encounter a lawyer studying creative writing, a teacher broadening her knowledge of technology, a parent pursuing graduate studies part time, or a traditional college student working toward a degree. The age of our students ranges from the teens to the eighties, with the average of 33 years. Most students already have degrees, and all bring abundant life experience to the classroom.

Each of our past and present students has a story. Meet our students and faculty.

Alumni success

Graduates of our programs, who are members of the worldwide Harvard Alumni Association, have gone on to attend prestigious graduate programs and become leaders in fields such as business, medicine, education, law, and politics.


  1. ForNext

    March 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Harvard Extension is very difficult. If you want to try for one of the degree programs be prepared for a lot of work. Try one course and see how it goes, and don't take more than two courses in a given semester unless you give it at least 60 or 70 hours. For a degree you have to attend at least 2 semesters on campus (undergraduate degree), so don't think you can get by with all-distance learning.

    The professors are very good and the courses very rigorous. I recommend it.

  2. sin kang

    April 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Mostly older, working students, very serious and committed.

    Unlike the College, the Extension School will let almost anybody enroll in a course, but the hurdles of the Extension School program are in some ways even steeper. Evidence for its difficulty: the grim fact that only 3 or 4 percent of those accepted (that means "accepted into a program", not "enrolled in a course") ever graduate.

  3. Kitt

    August 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Harvard University Extension is getting more expensive, but it is still an extraordinary value. The writers above are not understating the degree of difficulty, although some classes are easier than others. Some of the ALB program candidates take 10 or more years to finish, and most do not.