Dear Master of Liberal Arts Candidate or Applicant,
Dean Sue Weaver Schopf
For 26 years, it has been my great pleasure to work with the graduate students in this program, to watch them develop as scholars in their own right, and to share in their sense of accomplishment when they submit the bound copy of their thesis.
Students often ask, “Do you think it’s too late for me to (a) undertake graduate study, (b) change careers, (c) develop an academic specialty, or (d) pursue a field of concentration purely for personal enrichment?” My answer is always an emphatic, “It’s never too late, whatever your reasons for seeking knowledge.”
Students can pursue focused study in 19 fields, ranging from biology, government, English, and history; to our recently added fields of international relations, legal studies, clinical psychology, visual arts, and history of science, technology, and medicine; as well as many other fields that no other part-time master’s program offers.
Our students’ work here may lead to a doctoral program, medical school, law school, a teaching career, advancement within their existing profession, or enhancement of their skills as a researcher. However, many are simply seeking a better understanding of subjects like global politics or human development.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect for students in the program is the opportunity to make a genuine contribution in their field of study through the research and writing that they do for the thesis. In fact, many of our students go on to publish their work in important professional journals or as books.
What kinds of students come to the ALM program? Every kind you can imagine: a scientist who wants to study religion, a major in the US army who loves Chaucer, a high school Spanish teacher who enjoys foreign culture, a physician who wants to write a novel, a computer programmer with a desire to read ancient literature, a museum docent interested in Russian history, a display designer at a science museum wishing to study anthropology, a researcher in a biotech lab keeping up with the latest developments in genetics, an FBI agent who wants to study government, an environmentalist interested in the history of science, a stay-at-home mom drawn to Celtic mythology, and a healthcare professional seeking to amplify her knowledge of psychology for her work with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, some have very pragmatic professional goals, while others want only to pursue a personal passion.
Our students range in age from 22 to 77. Some have only recently completed their bachelor’s degrees, while others have been practicing a profession for 30 years or more. Some graduated from Ivy League schools, while others have come from state universities or small liberal arts colleges.
Most of our students are from the United States, but 10 percent were born internationally, and they represent many countries on five different continents. Students commute from New York, Washington, DC, Chicago—and even from as far away as Texas and California.
As diverse as their backgrounds and goals may be, the students are drawn to this program by a common set of desires: the hunger for knowledge and intellectual growth, to be with like-minded individuals who enjoy exploring new ideas, and to spend time learning from world-class scholars and researchers.
For over 30 years, the ALM program has combined a Harvard tradition of scholarship with a democratic admissions policy. Convenient part-time study, evening classes, and surprisingly affordable tuition make the earning of a degree from this prestigious institution the best bargain in the academic marketplace.
We welcome you to this community of ambitious women and men who seek the challenge of an environment that encourages excellence and offers unparalleled resources to its students.
In the following webpages you will find:
You will also be introduced to the friendly and helpful advisors in our program, who will assist you with your candidacy from the application process to the thesis. We look forward to working with you in the days ahead and wish you every success in the pursuit of your academic goals.
With warm regards,
Sue Weaver Schopf, PhD
Associate Dean, Harvard Extension School
Director of the ALM Program
Lecturer in Extension