English is the language of instruction at Harvard Extension School. You must be proficient in English, unless you are enrolled only in courses through the Institute for English Language (IEL) Programs. In all Extension School courses except IEL:
- Your oral comprehension and expression must be sufficient for effective class participation.
- Your reading and writing skills must be sufficient for responding clearly and accurately to course assignments.
- Your comprehension and communication skills must be sufficient for completing examinations without the use of dictionaries or other exam aids, except those authorized by the instructor for all students taking the exam.
- You may be dropped from a course for a full-tuition refund if the instructor determines before the full-tuition refund deadline that you lack the English proficiency required for the course. After the full-tuition refund deadline, you may be excluded from a course for no refund if the instructor determines that your lack of English proficiency is disruptive to the progress of instruction.
Courses that require proof of English proficiency
All courses except IEL courses require English language proficiency. If English is not your native language you must provide proof of English proficiency to be enrolled in courses in the following subjects:
- Creative writing (CREA)
- Economics (ECON)
- Expository writing (EXPO)
- Information systems management (ISMT)
- Journalism (JOUR)
- Management (MGMT)
- Speech (SPCH)
How to meet the English proficiency requirement for enrollment in the above courses
1. Take one of the following tests of English proficiency and earn the minimum required score.
Take the test as far in advance as possible have your score sent to the Registrar’s office and well before registration begins to improve your chances of meeting the English proficiency requirement by the registration deadline. Your score will be reviewed after you register for a course in a subject listed above.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Have your official score sent from the Educational Testing Service to the Extension School Registrar’s Office: institution code 3458, department code 02.
Minimum TOEFL scores required for Harvard Extension School courses:
- 250 on the computer-based TOEFL
- 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL
- 600 on the paper-based TOEFL
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Have your official score sent to the Extension School Registrar’s Office.
Minimum IELTS score required for Harvard Extension School courses: band 7.0
Harvard English language placement test (HELPT)
This test is given on the Harvard campus several times during each registration period. You may take the test only once each term. Space is limited. Online reservations are required.
See the test dates and how to take the Harvard English language placement test.
Minimum HELPT score required for Harvard Extension School courses: 76.
This test does not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree program admission.
2. Register for one or more courses.
Your registration or waitlist status for courses in subjects listed above will be conditional until you meet the English proficiency requirement. You must be conditionally registered for your test scores to be reviewed.
3. Log in to check your English proficiency status online. Confirm that your test scores have been received and posted on your student record.
4. Meet the requirement by the registration deadline
If you do not, you will be dropped for a full-tuition refund from course(s) in subjects listed above. Registration fees are nonrefundable.
- Fall: September 3
- January: December 20
- Spring: January 27
Appeals to submit alternate proof of proficiency
If none of the above tests are available in your location and you meet the following criteria, you may appeal to submit other test scores listed below or official transcripts as defined below for consideration as alternate proof of proficiency for one semester of enrollment. An official minimum TOEFL, IELTS, or HELPT will be required for all subsequent enrollment.
- If you have taken the Institutional TOEFL, the University of Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), the University of Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), the Business English Certificate Higher (BEC Higher), the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC, 800 or higher), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic (68 or higher), you may submit official scores for these tests and they will be considered.
- If you have completed a minimum of one semester of courses other than English language skills courses at a college or university at which English is the sole language of instruction, that is located in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom, or the United States, you may submit official transcripts from those schools.
Submitting an appeal does not mean it will be approved. Appeals are decided case by case, based on an appeal form and documentation received by the registration deadline. Appeals approved for course enrollment do not meet the English proficiency requirement for degree program admission. For an appeal to be considered:
- You must be conditionally registered or waitlisted for courses in subjects listed above.
- Your appeal must include the English proficiency appeal form and documentation of the above criteria. Letters of reference, résumés, and certificates of English language study will not be considered.
- Your appeal must be received in the Registrar’s Office no later than the registration deadline. Appeals and supporting materials received after the registration deadline will not be considered.
If you have any further questions about the English proficiency requirement please e-mail email@example.com.
Requirement for degree program admission
The English proficiency requirement for degree program admission is different from the requirement for course registration. Please see the admission section of the degree program that interests you and contact the program office directly with questions.