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.

Online Courses

We have more than 300 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.

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.

Explore online courses

Graduate Certificates

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

Degrees

Our degrees combine online and on-campus study. If you decide to pursue a degree with us, you can take a number of your courses online. You will also come to Harvard 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, engage with faculty and fellow students in person, and use campus libraries and other resources to enrich your academic experience.

Depending on your program of choice, you complete between one and four courses on campus. Review our undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees.

Degree field Number of on-campus courses required
Anthropology & Archeology 3
Bachelor of Liberal Arts 4
Bioengineering & Nanotechnologies 4
Bioinformatics 4
Biology 3
Biotechnology 4
Biotechnology Management 4
Digital Media Design 1
Dramatic Arts 3
English 3
Finance 4
Government 3
History 3
Information Management Systems 1
International Relations 3
Journalism 1
Legal Studies 3
Literature & Creative Writing 3
Management 4
Mathematics for Teaching 4
Museum Studies 2
Psychology 3
Religion 3
Software Engineering 1
Sustainability 1

Important Visa Information

As a part-time school, Harvard Extension School does not issue I-20 certificates for the F-1 student visa for full-time study.  Many types of US visas do allow part-time study (e.g., J-2, F-2, H-4, etc.)

B-2 visas

The B-2 visa does not allow full-time study, nor does it allow part-time study if that is the sole purpose of the visit to the United States. The B-2 visa is 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, the B-2 tourist visa is not appropriate. Do not attempt to enter the United States on the B-2 visa with the sole intention of studying at Harvard Extension School. Attempting to enter the United States in B-2 visa status for the exclusive purpose of studying is a violation of US visa policy and you risk being denied entry to the United States. This is true for nondegree students as well as admitted degree candidates.

Three-week January Sessions, Active Learning Weekends, and Online Courses with Mandatory On-Campus Weekends

The US government has advised that a casual, short-term class that is not the primary purpose of the visitor’s presence in the United States may be appropriate for the B-2 visa category. However, you should not attempt to enter the United States on the B-2 visa if your sole purpose is to participate in one of these programs, as we cannot guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the United States under these circumstances. If you have any doubts regarding which visa is appropriate for your participation in these programs, contact the US embassy or consulate in your country.

Harvard Summer School

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
  • 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.

If English is not your native language, you will need to provide proof of English proficiency when you apply to a program.

Financing Options

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 co-signer.

Professional Development Programs

For shorter offerings, you may be interested in the one- and two-day Professional Development Programs offered by the Harvard Division of Continuing Education.