Pursuing a Certificate

How do I get started?

There is no application required to pursue a graduate certificate. Once you find one that interests you, you can browse the current certificate course offerings and enroll for graduate credit when registration is open.

What does a certificate cost?

Tuition for each course, which you take for graduate credit, is about $2,550 (2016–17 tuition rate). The number of courses you take to earn a certificate ranges from three to five.

Is financial aid available?

You may be eligible for scholarship funds, including Lowell Scholarships for Boston-area middle and high school teachers, community scholarships, and private student loans. Federal or state aid is only available to students who have been admitted to a degree program.

Can I earn a certificate online?

Most certificates can be completed online. Because some course instructors prefer to meet face-to-face, not every certificate course has an online option.

I am an international student. Can I come to campus?

Because our certificates are part-time offerings, I-20 certificates for the F-1 student visa are not available for on-campus study. You may take most of our certificates completely online. 

How do certificates differ from degrees?

Our Extension School graduate degrees require 10 to 12 courses, specific admission requirements, and a formal application process. With only three to five courses, no admissions requirements, and no application required, certificates offer a quicker path to a professional credential. Certificate awardees do not participate in Commencement or receive alumni status.

What will my certificate say?

If you completed a professional graduate certificate, the certificate will state: Harvard University, Harvard Extension School awarded [Your Name] a [three-, four-, or five-] course Professional Graduate Certificate in [field name].

If you completed a liberal arts graduate certificate, the certificate will state: Harvard University, Harvard Extension School awarded [Your Name] a [three- or four-] course Graduate Certificate in [field name].

Will all the courses listed be offered every year?

The required courses are offered each year, but the elective offerings do change slightly because of new offerings and instructor availability.

Can I count one course toward multiple certificates?

No. Each certificate requires three, four, or five distinct courses to ensure its academic and professional value.

Can I substitute a course that is not listed on the certificate course search?

No. Only those courses specifically listed in the certificate course search can be counted toward the certificate. We do not accept course substitutions or transfer credit. 

Can I count a certificate toward a Harvard Extension School degree program?

Our certificates are standalone credentials, but you can count one certificate toward one degree. Please note, our degrees have specific admission, GPA, grade, course, and timeline requirements. Students are encouraged to apply to the degree program first, and then earn their certificate along the way.

You’ll want to do your research by reviewing the specific degree program requirements and finding applicable certificate courses by degree program.

How can I monitor my progress?

You may monitor your progress by logging in to online services and choosing the Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form. This form will confirm the courses that count toward the certificate, the courses for which you are currently registered, and the courses that you've completed.