English Proficiency Requirement for Registration

English is the language of instruction at Harvard Extension School. If your native language is not English, you must provide designated proof of English proficiency to be enrolled in the following courses and subjects and to take the following placement tests, unless you are an admitted degree candidate in Harvard College, the Harvard Extension School, or a Harvard graduate school:

  • Graduate proseminars
  • Graduate seminars
  • Writing-intensive courses
  • ENVR E-210
  • MUSE E-102
  • Creative writing (CREA)
  • Economics (ECON)
  • Expository writing (EXPO), with the exception of EXPO E-C
  • Journalism (JOUR)
  • Management (MGMT), with the exception of MGMT E-10
  • Speech (SPCH)
  • Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills (CRWS). Note, a one-term exception to the English proficiency requirement is not sufficient for the purpose of taking this test.

Meeting the Requirement

To meet the English proficiency requirement for enrollment you must provide one of the following criteria by the registration deadline:

1. Three- or four-year undergraduate degree transcript from listed countries

Submit an official transcript showing completion of a four-year undergraduate degree at a college or university located in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, or United Kingdom, at which English is the sole language of instruction.

Transcripts showing more than one year of transfer credit from a school in a country not listed will not meet this requirement. Send your official transcript to Registrar’s Office, Attn: English Proficiency, Harvard Extension School, 51 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138, or by e-mail to proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu.

2. Four-year high school transcript from listed countries

Submit an official transcript showing your graduation from a four-year high school located in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, or United Kingdom, at which English is the sole language of instruction.

Transcripts showing more than one year of transfer credit from a school in a country not listed will not meet this requirement. Send your official transcript to Registrar’s Office, Attn: English Proficiency, 51 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, or by e-mail to proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu.

3. Minimum required score on TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA 

Meet the English proficiency requirement by providing the minimum approved score on the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA if you cannot provide an approved four-year undergraduate degree transcript or four-year high school diploma transcript. Take the test before registration begins to ensure that your score is received by the registration deadline.

Scores must be no more than three years old.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

You must earn one of these minimum scores:

  • 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT)
  • 250 on the computer-based TOEFL
  • 600 on the paper-based TOEFL

Have your official scores sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service to the Harvard Extension School Registrar’s Office: institution code 3458. Select undergraduate or graduate based on the courses you plan to take.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

You must earn a minimum score of band 7.0 on the Academic IELTS.

Have your score sent electronically to the Harvard Extension School Registrar’s Office.

Pearson Test of English Academic (PTEA)

You must earn a minimum score of 68 on the PTEA.

Have your score sent electronically to the Harvard Extension School.

Register online or by phone (1-800-901-0229), or check to see if other local PTEA dates and locations are available.

You may also send a copy of your score report (no more than three years old) as a PDF to proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu.

Receipt of Scores

Check with the testing service sending your score report for expected delivery times. To see if we have received your scores, log in to online services and select "Placement Tests," then "View Placement Test Scores." If your score has been received and posted by the Registrar's Office, you will see an option for "English Proficiency Tests" after selecting "View Placement Test Scores." Note that if you sent your score to another office it may not appear here.

How to Register for Courses While Meeting the Requirement

  • You can submit your transcript or test score year-round, if you have an account in online services. Create an account before submitting materials. Submit materials before registration opens for best chance of meeting the deadline.
    • If you are a new student, create an account and provide required English proficiency information before submitting your test score or transcript. Or, if registration is open, provide the information when you register as a new student.
    • If you are a returning student, provide required English proficiency information in "English Proficiency Information and Status" in online services before registration opens, or when you register.
  • You can also register before you meet the requirement, but your registration will be conditional until your test score or transcript is reviewed and a determination regarding your proficiency is made.
    • If you meet the requirement, you will be officially registered/waitlisted for courses in which your status was conditional.
    • If you do not meet the requirement, you will be dropped for a full-tuition refund from those courses. Please note that the registration fee is nonrefundable.
  • You can check your English proficiency status and your course registration status in online services, via the "English Proficiency Information and Status" page or your course schedule.
  • You must meet the English proficiency requirement before attempting the test of critical reading and writing skills (CRWS) if you register for a course with both prerequisites.
    • A one-term exception to the English proficiency requirement is not sufficient for this purpose.

Deadlines

You must meet the English proficiency requirement by the registration deadline for the course(s) you plan to take. If course registration deadlines are different from dates in the full academic calendar, they are included in the course description.

Option for One Term of Enrollment with Other English Language Test Scores

If the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTEA are not available in your location and you have not earned a four-year undergraduate degree or four-year high school diploma at a school in one of the countries listed above, you have the option of requesting one term of enrollment upon submitting the minimum required score on one of the following tests:

  • 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)
  • the duoLingo English language test (76% or higher, and no more than one year old when registration opens for the term); take the duoLingo test entirely online at the duoLingo Test Center and email a PDF copy of the score certificate to proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu.

You may request this option for one term of enrollment by making the appropriate selection on your "English Proficiency Information and Status" page in DCE online services. Your request and scores must be received in the Registrar's Office by the registration deadline for the courses you plan to take. Please keep in mind that if your request is approved based on one of these test scores, it is for one semester only, and the minimum required TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA score must be provided for your future enrollment.

Are you considering an Extension degree program?

Meeting the English proficiency requirement for Extension course registration does not necessarily meet the requirement for Extension degree program admission. If you are considering an Extension degree program, review admission policies for the degree program that interests you. And contact the Admissions Office, admissions@extension.harvard.edu, directly with questions about meeting the requirement for that program.

Questions?

Please contact Enrollment Services at (617) 495-4024 or e-mail proficiency@dcemail.harvard.edu.