About Us

A Great Education is an Extension of You

At Harvard Extension School, we offer nearly 800 courses to help you gain new perspectives, develop a professional skill, or earn a Harvard credential. Whatever your learning goals, Harvard Extension School can help you achieve them.

Who We Are

We are Harvard—extended to the world for every type of adult learner. Our students come to us from every time zone, every culture and career background, every age from 18 to 89.

They have one thing in common: the motivation to take the next challenging step in their lives. They find that challenge here, where our academic standards are high and our resources extensive. As one of 12 degree-granting institutions at Harvard University, we teach to the largest and most eclectic student body. We offer:

We place student success at the heart of everything we do. Whatever your goal, we want to support your progress. With our open enrollment policy, any adult student with the motivation to enroll is welcome in our courses. Prove yourself in our classes, and you can earn your way into a Harvard degree program.

Bona Fides

We’re proud to offer an education flexible enough to fit your schedule, while also tailored to meet your goals and achievable at a reasonable cost. On average, tuition ranges from $1,550 to $2,700 for our 4-credit courses, and degree-seeking students may apply for financial aid.

We rarely ask if classroom or online learning is better. Instead, we experiment with multiple models to provide greater access to world-class teaching and help you find that style of learning that works best for you. Harvard professors teach many of our courses, and they do so for the engaging dialogue that comes from the diversity of life experiences in our students, who juggle carpools and careers and competing life interests to come prepared for discussion.

We are a fully accredited Harvard school. Our degrees and certificates are adorned with the Harvard University insignia. They carry the weight of that lineage. Our graduates walk at University commencement and become members of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Our Commitment to the Future of Education

As our world transitions fully to the knowledge economy, Harvard Extension School stands at the forefront of the greatest wave in education since the invention of the blackboard, that of open access and active learning.

Affordability is, and has always been, core to our mission. It's a concept well off the beaten path in an educational landscape of rising tuition costs and soaring student debt. When John Lowell Jr. envisioned in 1835 public lectures in Boston as a means to share higher education with those outside the University gates, he stipulated that fees should cost no more than two bushels of wheat. While we can no longer make this same claim (a bushel of wheat is only around $5), we honor the idea that tuition should not be an impediment to lifelong learning.

Since 1910, we’ve existed as an accredited institution of higher learning, extending Harvard to any student up to the challenge. Now, with more than 14,000 students each year, we are the largest school in the history of the University.

No one knows precisely what universities of the future will look like, but we can predict with some confidence that they will emphasize what we already value: increased quality and clear satisfaction of student expectations for the price of payment, with some combination of online and on-campus interaction in recognition that different students learn in different ways.

We’re happy to say that we are ideally positioned to meet those future demands today. And our formula appears to be working. Ninety-seven percent of our students reported last year that they are satisfied with the quality of their instructors. And 98 percent said that they are satisfied with the quality of their courses. 

Going Forward

Our end goal is the creation of new knowledge and the preservation of academic freedoms. We uphold the great liberal arts tradition, which challenges students to think deeply and critically—an asset in any pursuit. We're also expanding access to higher education through online courses, summer courses and hybrid courses (which blend online and on campus) to meet the diverse needs of you, our students.

In this regard, Harvard Extension School can serve as a working model for our field. What matters to us is your commitment—not only to your own growth, but to our global society.

Together, we can make future generations stronger, more informed and ready for the challenges ahead.