In our degree program, you earn your way in. The most important predictor of program success is your aptitude now to do honors-level work at Harvard. So, you get to start right away on degree courses to demonstrate your academic ability.

Earn at least a B in three courses, and you qualify for admission. The three courses are EXPO 25 Academic Writing and Critical Reading and any other degree courses—your choice. 

You can take your courses in any order, online or on campus, and they count toward the degree once you are admitted.

1. Start off with one course.

We recommend our Fundamentals of Academic Writing, EXPO 15, or our more advanced course, EXPO 25 Academic Writing and Critical Reading. EXPO 25 is required for admission.

Registration guidelines and tips

  • To take EXPO 25, you need to first pass the test of critical reading and writing skills. Or, instead of the test, you can earn a B in EXPO 15 before enrolling in EXPO 25.
  • These courses fill quickly, so plan to take the test early so you can enroll on the first day of registration (see the calendar for registration dates and the test page for test dates). If you are put on the waitlist and don’t make it into EXPO 15 or 25, we guarantee your registration the following semester. Just e-mail early_reg_request@dcemail.harvard.edu to request early registration privileges.
  • If you can’t get into either course right away, start with an area of concentration course or other degree requirement. Use the degree course search to browse options.

Considering enrolling in more than one course?

You can take up to four courses in a semester, but we recommend you begin with just one or two courses to help ensure success.

Need financial aid?

If you need help financing the three required admission courses, our Student Financial Services office can advise you. Please see the nonadmitted student financial aid options.

2. Complete your next two courses and prepare to apply.

Once you have a good feel for the courses, enroll in two other courses from the program curriculum. If you started with EXPO 15, one must be EXPO 25. We recommend courses taught by Harvard instructors in your area of concentration.

Find courses via the degree course search

Additional admission criteria

Grade requirements

  • You need to earn at least a B in the three admission courses. 
  • If you take more than the three courses at Harvard before applying, earn at least a B cumulative grade-point average (GPA).
  • If after twice enrolling in EXPO 25 you fail to earn a B, you will not be admitted to the program. If you need to enroll in the course a second time, it must be with a different instructor.
  • If you don’t earn the required grades in the three admission courses, request that an advisor calculate your GPA and offer advice before you take any more courses. Log in to online services, choose “Degree Program Admissions,” then “Pre-Admission GPA Confirmation.”

In addition, you should:

  • Not already possess an undergraduate degree or be currently pursing a degree at another school.
  • Be in good academic and financial standing with Harvard University.
  • Be in good financial standing with all other schools you have attended.
  • Be able to demonstrate English language proficiency if English is not your native language.

The Extension School will consider your disciplinary record at Harvard University in making admissions decisions.

3. Apply to the program.

Submit your application when you are finishing up your third course. If you earn the required grades and meet all other criteria, you will be admitted.

Learn how to apply