Explore the institutions of government, politics, policy, and the systems used to govern communities and nation-states. In this graduate degree program, you gain a deeper understanding of the complex role of governmental organizations within society.
Key learning outcomes
Through the master's degree in the field of government you:
- Build an understanding of government’s role in relation to economics, education, ethics, history, law, philosophy, and sociology.
- Gain crucial theoretical and practical insights into governance and other challenges of governmental and nongovernmental administration.
- Explore political practice and theory, and analyze political behavior, cultures, and systems.
The degree includes 12 courses, three of which are taken on campus.
- Get started. You begin by completing three stipulated degree courses as outlined on the degree requirements page. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student.
- Apply to the program. While you are completing your third degree course, you submit your application. We have application cycles in the fall, spring, and summer.
- Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least three courses on campus.
- Thesis option. If you choose this option, you'll work with a thesis director to conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how research is executed and communicated.
- Social justice, policy analysis, or national security analysis capstone option. For the social justice option, you implement a coalition building project in your local community. Projects require a sound theoretical foundation in conflict transformation, a developed method for assessment, and a clear plan which can be implemented and evaluated within the confines of the semester. For the policy analysis or national security analysis option, you select a concrete policy problem, produce autonomous research to analyze it, provide a set of actionable recommendations to solve it, and defend it to a panel of experts.
- Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: government.
Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2017–18 graduate tuition is $2,700 per course; the total tuition cost of earning the graduate degree is approximately $32,400.
There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.