International Student Study Options
Harvard Extension School offers a variety of ways for students around the world to study part time at Harvard University. Whether you are interested in online courses, a professional graduate certificate, or a degree, you will find flexible, challenging options to help you meet your goals.
We have about 500 online courses available in the fall and spring semesters.
Some courses have live meeting times in a virtual classroom each week. Others offer more flexibility, allowing you to watch weekly lecture videos or access course materials at your convenience. All classes have scheduled assignments each week.
No application is required to take a course; you simply register. However, English proficiency is required, and proof of proficiency must be provided for certain subjects and course types.
If you are interested in earning a Harvard credential in a specialized area, we offer more than 30 graduate certificates in fields like management, technology, and sustainability. Certificates include between three and five courses, and many can be completed online. Explore graduate certificates
Our degrees combine online and on-campus study. You can take a number of your courses online, but you will also come to Harvard during the summer for some of your studies.
The Harvard on-campus experience is a key aspect of our degree programs. You attend classes on campus at Harvard Summer School (see visa information below), engage with faculty and fellow students in person, and use campus libraries and other resources to enrich your academic experience.
Degrees that Can Be Completed Online with On-Campus Summer Terms
|Degree Field||Number of On-Campus Courses Required||Minimum Number of Summers On Campus|
|Bachelor of Liberal Arts||4||2|
|Creative Writing and Literature||1||1|
|Digital Media Design||1||1|
|Information Management Systems||1||1|
|Mathematics for Teaching||4||2|
As a part-time school that offers the majority of their courses online, Harvard Extension School does not issue I-20 certificates for the F-1 student visa for full-time on-campus study. Many types of US visas do allow part-time study (e.g., J-2, F-2, H-4). For the most current visa information, check the US Department of State website periodically.
Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and B-2 Visas
Neither ESTA nor the B-2 visa allows full-time study, nor do they allow part-time study. ESTA and B-2 visas are only for international travelers whose main reason for visiting the United States is tourism.
If you intend to pursue full- or part-time study at Harvard Extension School, ESTA or the B-2 tourist visa are not appropriate. Do not attempt to enter the United States on either ESTA or the B-2 visa. Attempting to enter the United States in ESTA or the B-2 visa status to earn credit is a violation of US visa policy and you risk being denied entry to the United States. This is true for non-degree students as well as admitted degree candidates. Please note noncredit study is permissible.
If you need a student visa from Harvard University to enter the United States, your only option to complete the on-campus requirement is through Harvard Summer School. Because the Summer School has a full-time residential program option, the school offers the I-20 certificate for the F-1 student visa.
To qualify for an I-20, you must be a full-time Harvard Summer School student, registered in:
- 8 credits of on-campus courses during the seven-week session
- 4-credit capstone courses (for degree candidates only) during the seven-week session
- One three-week, 4-credit, on-campus course
Begin planning in early March, as you will need to register for courses, apply for housing (if you want to live on campus), submit an I-20 application, and coordinate with the US embassy or consulate in your country to determine how long it will take to process your visa request.
Summer School registration opens in early March, the I-20 request deadline is in early May, and on-campus housing is limited—so don’t delay. See the international student guidelines for Summer School. Please note that if you obtain an I-20 from HSS for an F-1 visa, it is not possible to continue studying on the F-1 at Harvard Extension School due to the part-time nature of the program.
English Proficiency for Degree Programs
Strong English language skills are essential for success in our programs. Our courses are taught in English, and language facility will help you learn complex topics and engage in thoughtful discourse with fellow students.
We encourage students to review the English Proficiency requirements for admission to our degree programs before beginning their studies here.
Limited financial aid funding is available to non-US citizens. You may be eligible to borrow a private education loan through a lender of your choice with a US citizen as a cosigner.
Professional Development Programs
For shorter offerings, you may be interested in noncredit Professional Development Programs offered by the Harvard Division of Continuing Education.