Academic Gap Year

Whether you’re taking a traditional gap year before college, preparing for graduate school, or need to put your plans on hold for other reasons, the virtual Academic Gap Year at Harvard Extension School can help you maintain momentum.

  • Spend a semester or year challenging yourself in online classes with Harvard faculty and industry experts.
  • Build academic and professional proficiency through skill-building and career webinars, student resources, and Harvard University Library access.
  • Prepare for graduate school while participating in student programming and utilizing Harvard student resources.

Paths of Study

Courses for Noncredit or Undergraduate Credit

Through an array of interactive classes available for noncredit or undergraduate credit, you can explore interests for a major or build specialized knowledge. 

Browse our curated list of courses below, or search the full course catalog for noncredit and undergraduate classes that fit your schedule and align with your academic passions.

Noncredit vs. Undergraduate Credit

Enrolling for Noncredit Enrolling for Undergraduate Credit

Engage in college-level work without earning credit or grades. Courses will appear on an official transcript.

Earn grades and credit you could transfer to another college or university. Courses will appear on an official transcript.


$1,500 per course


$1,880 per course

A Harvard Undergraduate Certificate

If you’re interested in gaining skills and depth of knowledge for a career in fields such as technology, business, or social entrepreneurship, an undergraduate certificate may be right for you. Learn more about these three-course credentials on the individual certificate pages.


$1,880 per course • $5,640 total

Beyond the Classroom

No matter which path you choose, you’ll have access to student services to help you succeed.

Sample Webinar Topics

  • Getting Your Groove on as a Student
  • The Power of Habit in Academic Learning
  • Speaking Up in Class
  • The Not-So-Secret Secrets to Successful Online Learning

Student Resources

How to Get Started

To participate in the Academic Gap Year at Harvard Extension, you simply enroll in courses—no application required. To begin:

  1. Choose your path of study.

    • First, if you’re deferring college, make sure you understand your home institution’s gap year policies.
    • Next, decide whether you want to enroll in courses for noncredit or undergraduate credit or, perhaps, earn an undergraduate certificate (which requires you to register for undergraduate credit and earn grades of B or higher).  
  2. Plan ahead for registration.

  3. Register for your fall or spring course.

    • During registration, you’ll be asked to indicate the reason you’re taking classes. Select “Academic Gap Year,” so we can invite you to academic and career workshops as well as advising events.

    • You’ll choose your credit status when you register. If you’re pursuing a certificate, register for undergraduate credit. 

    • Limited-enrollment courses fill quickly. It’s best to register early!

Key Dates

See the full academic calendar for all dates and deadlines.

Fall Semester 2020  Spring Semester 2021 

Classes run:

August 31–December 19

Classes run:

January 25–mid-May 15

Registration is open:

July 20–August 27

Registration is open:

November 9–January 31