Frequently Asked Questions about the ALB Program

How do I know if Harvard Extension School (HES) is the right fit for me?

Harvard Extension School’s open-enrollment course structure allows you to register in a course without having to apply. If you decide that the course is a good fit, it will count toward the degree and you can continue registering for classes. Because HES shares in the same accreditation as all of Harvard University’s academic degree programs, if you decide to pursue your studies elsewhere, you can likely transfer that Harvard course into another bachelor’s program at a different institution. 

How do I know if I have a realistic chance of being admitted?

Harvard Extension School admits students who perform well in Harvard courses, with no other selective aspect of admission. PTK students typically have very well-developed academic capabilities, so they represent a population with a very high admission success rate.

Is Harvard Extension School more demanding than community college?

Most community college students find Harvard courses to be more demanding than their previous college experience. However, we have found that PTK students adapt to the greater demands more quickly than students without such strong academic backgrounds.

Can I transfer my earned college credits to Harvard Extension School?

Yes. Up to 64 credits (half of the undergraduate degree at HES) can be transferred in. HES will accept academic courses from regionally accredited colleges and universities in which students earned grades of C or better, although the grades themselves will not transfer. A student’s desired course of study at Harvard has no impact on what courses will transfer; however, only liberal arts courses can be transferred to our program as it is a liberal arts degree. Academic standing at Harvard is based solely on performance at Harvard. Review our transfer credit policies to learn more.

What are the online courses like?

Harvard Extension School strives to balance the access afforded by online courses with the high quality of instruction that comes with real-time contact between students and teaching faculty. Many of our online courses therefore have some live video conference component in conjunction with previously recorded lectures if they are not conducted entirely live online.

Is Harvard Extension School really Harvard?

Yes. Harvard University comprises 13 degree-granting schools, each with its own administration, dean, admissions process, degrees awarded, and student populations. Over one hundred years ago, it became clear that the University did not have a solution to support working adults who were continuing their education or hoping to complete a degree, and so the Harvard Extension School was founded. The HES undergraduate degree requirements are similar to those of the undergraduate degree conferred by Harvard College (the traditional undergraduate school), and many of our courses are taught by faculty from across the schools at Harvard—including Harvard College, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Divinity School, and others.

Do I have an advisor?

Yes. You have access to an advisor every step of the way. Predegree & Admissions Advisors can help you choose courses to ensure you’re on track for program admission, after which, as an admitted degree candidate, you’ll be assigned to an Academic Advisor with whom you’ll work closely until your graduation day.

What is the Harvard Extension School student body like?

At Harvard Extension School, students from a variety of backgrounds balance school with professional demands and family responsibilities. Learn more on our Why Apply page.

Will I need to move to Cambridge?

No. While there is a 16-credit on-campus requirement, it can be satisfied by successfully completing four separate online courses with a required on-campus weekend. In this type of course, you participate in most of the course online and attend one intensive weekend class on campus. We recommend that students try to spend more time on the Harvard campus than is minimally required, but it is possible to complete the degree by spending as few as 12 days (total) on campus, spread across four courses that have a required on-campus weekend.

Can this degree help prepare me for graduate school? 

Yes. Alumni of the ALB program have attended graduate programs in a variety of fields at Harvard University, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, Oxford, and Cambridge among many other world-class institutions, obtaining an array of master’s and doctoral degrees including the MBA, PhD, JD, and MD. Learn more on our Why Apply page.