Once you have met the admission criteria for the degree program that interests you, you can apply during one of our admission cycles.

When to apply

We recommend you apply during the term you anticipate completing your third admission course, according to this schedule:

If you will complete your admission courses in Submit your application between Expect a decision by
The fall Oct. 15–Nov. 30 Feb. 15
The January term and spring March 15–April 30 July 1
The summer (Harvard Summer School) July 15–Aug. 30 Oct. 1

Application deadline tips

  • Apply early. If you delay application, you may lose credit for completed coursework or become ineligible for the degree as requirements change. There is a $400 late fee if, when you apply, you have completed more than:
    • Four degree courses for the graduate degree programs.
    • Six degree courses for the Bachelor of Liberal Arts.
  • To receive financial aid for the spring term, apply to the program on October 15 and apply for financial aid before November 1. For fall term, apply to the program on March 15 and apply for financial aid before June 1. See financial aid for more information.

  • If your application is complete by the deadline but you did not earn the required grades or GPA by the end of the semester, you will need to reapply to the program when you have met the admission criteria. Incomplete applications are not considered.

Application materials

The following materials must be submitted for admission. We recommend you start to gather your materials early, while you are completing your first admission courses at Harvard Extension.

1. Online application form

When an application period is open, the form is available through online services. Complete the form early in the application cycle by providing the names of the schools that you have attended and the dates of attendance.

2. A $100 application fee

The fee is nonrefundable. There is a $400 late application fee if you complete more than four courses for a graduate program and more than six courses for the undergraduate program before applying.

3. Essay(s)

See the essay topics below for each program.

4. A résumé

5. Official transcripts

For ALB candidates, transcripts from each university and college attended should be submitted in sealed envelopes.

For ALM candidates, you need to submit official transcripts in sealed envelopes from each college or university from which you have earned a degree.

You must be financially clear from all prior schools.

6. TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic scores

If your native language is not English, you must submit scores from one of these tests to fulfill the English proficiency requirement.

7. Verification of international credits and degrees.

If you earned credits or degrees outside the United States, you need to have the credentials verified by a third party. See our guidelines for verifying international credits or degrees.

8. Complete the academic integrity tutorials

Take the online tutorials Using Sources, Five Scenarios and Using Sources, Five Examples and earn a passing score. Print the results, and submit a copy.

Mailing address for application materials

All application materials should be submitted in one packet to. Do not submit items separately. Send your packet to:

[Name of Degree Program]
Admission Office
Harvard Extension School
51 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Program essay topics and supplementary materials

Your two-page essays should be in 12-point font, double spaced, with the date and your full name stated in the heading.

Undergraduate application essay topics

Choose one of the following topics:

  • Discuss the impact of completing courses at the Harvard Extension School on your life so far. Support your explanation with specific details.
  • Discuss the reasons why you have decided to earn your undergraduate degree at the Harvard Extension School. Support your explanation with specific details.
  • If the Harvard Extension School is not your first college experience, discuss how your perspective on higher education has changed since your initial college experience. Support your explanation with specific details.

Biotechnology essay topics and letter of recommendation requirement

Submit essays on both topics:

  • Essay 1: Write an original two-page essay describing your academic, professional, and personal reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in biotechnology. What experiences led you to your research ambitions?
  • Essay 2: Write an original two-page essay on any topic from the area of biotechnology. Examples of such topics include human cloning, stem cell research, gene therapy, and genetically modified agricultural organisms. The writing style can be expository, rather than academic, but you should include a list of any references used to craft the essay. All quoted sources must be properly cited.
  • Letter of recommendation: In addition to the essays, you also need to submit a letter of recommendation from your research supervisor on company letterhead that confirms years worked, duties, job satisfaction, and performance.

Information technology topics

Submit essays on both topics:

  • Essay 1: Write an autobiographical essay of no more than two pages. Describe your past experiences and future plans, showing how the information technology degree program will play an influential role.
  • Essay 2: Write an essay of no more than two pages in which you describe your specific background in computer science, mathematics, information systems, or digital media.

Journalism topics

Choose one of the following topics:

  • Essay 1: Write an essay describing your academic, personal, and professional reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in journalism and your goals for your career.
  • Essay 2: Submit a brief writing sample of a newspaper or magazine article that you have written for a class or a publication.

Liberal arts essay topics (16 fields)

These guidelines apply to the 16 fields of the Master of Liberal Arts Programs. Submit essays on both topics:

  • Essay 1: Write an essay describing your academic, professional, and personal reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in your field of concentration. What experiences led you to your research ambitions?
  • Essay 2: Write an essay on a book that has influenced your thinking about your proposed field. The writing style must be expository rather than academic (i.e., footnotes, a bibliography, and the published opinions of others regarding this book are unnecessary; however, any source quoted or paraphrased must be properly cited).
  • For literature and creative writing: Submit a literary critical paper of 15–20 pages that was written for a graduate-level literature course at Harvard Extension School and approximately 20 pages of original fiction.

Math for teaching topics

Submit essays on both topics:

  • Essay 1: Write an autobiographical essay of no more than two pages in which you outline your specific background in mathematics and teaching or tutoring. Please include a description of what it was that drew you to the idea of teaching mathematics originally.
  • Essay 2: Write an essay of no more than two pages describing how you anticipate that the mathematics for teaching degree will play an influential role in your future career plans.

Museum studies essay topics

Write a three-page essay describing your academic, personal, and professional reasons for pursuing a graduate degree and your goals for a career in a museum setting.

Management essay topic and cover letter requirement

  • Essay: Write an essay of up to 700 words describing a challenging situation or interaction you faced. In this essay, please tell us the background on the situation or interaction, who was involved, your role, and the end result. Please note that positive outcomes do not always make the most compelling essays.
  • Cover letter: Write a cover letter (up to 500 words) applying for a position as a degree candidate in the management program. The cover letter should adhere to common business communication standards and include information on your professional accomplishments, why you are a good fit for the management program, and any other information you consider important for us to know.

Sustainability and environmental management topics

Submit essays on both topics:

  • Essay 1: Write an autobiographical essay of no more than two pages. Describe your experiences and how the sustainability and environmental management program might play an influential role in your plans.
  • Essay 2: Write an essay of no more than two pages in which you describe your background or interest in the environmental sciences.