Types of Courses

We understand you need flexible course options to balance school, career, and other life commitments. We offer a number of ways for you to experience Harvard Extension School courses.

Due to the ongoing pandemic about which there are still many unknowns, we've made the important decision to offer only online courses for the entire academic year (fall, January session, and spring term). This decision was made first and foremost to help ensure the health and safety of you, our students, and our community. Second, as an early adopter and national leader in distance education, we are perfectly positioned to offer you an outstanding, world-class academic experience online, with no compromise on quality.  We plan to offer courses again on campus in Academic Year 2021-22.

Online (Live) Web-Conference Courses

These online web-conference courses meet at a scheduled time weekly, and you are required to be present online, live, at that time. Meeting times are listed in course descriptions. Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines for more information.

Online (Live or On Demand) Web-Conference Courses

These online web-conference courses meet at a scheduled time, and you participate in class live at that time or watch recorded sessions on demand, while keeping up with posted deadlines for assignments and exams. Recorded sessions are posted to the course website within 24 hours of the class meeting.

Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines and Course Video Technology Guidelines for more information.

2-credit Half-Term Live Web-Conference Courses

These are 2-credit courses that meet at a scheduled time weekly for a half term. You are required to be present online, live, at that time. Meeting times and dates are listed in course descriptions. Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines for more information.

Online Courses

These courses meet only online. No specific meeting schedule is listed but you need to keep up with posted deadlines for assignments and exams. See course syllabi and websites for specific course information and expectations.

Some of these courses are based on Harvard College or other Harvard courses The class room meetings are recorded and posted to the course website Lecture Video page within 24 hours of the class meeting. You can watch the recorded classroom meetings at your convenience and participate on your own schedule within the bounds of assignment due dates and course expectations.

See the Course Video Technology Guidelines for more information. 

On-Campus Courses [not offered in Academic Year 2020-21]

These courses meet on the Harvard campus. In course descriptions, the day and time of the class meetings are listed. Some courses have separate labs or small section meetings. The days and times of those are either listed in the descriptions, on the website, on the syllabus, or announced by the teaching staff once class begins.

On Campus or Online [not offered in Academic Year 2020-21]

Students in On Campus or Online courses have three options for attendance: you can attend in person, attend live online in real time, or watch the recordings of class and participate on demand, keeping up with posted deadlines for assignments and exams. Class recordings will be posted within 24 hours of the class meeting. You can choose how you’d like to attend on a week-to-week basis.

Live online participation comes in two forms. In some courses, the class is live streamed and you can communicate via text-based chat. In others, you attend through web conference, which is broadcast on large monitors in the classroom so you can interact with the class as if you were there. Check the course description for specific information about live participation for each course.

In a few courses, you are required to attend at the time the course meets. This is explicitly noted in the course description and syllabus. 

Please see the Course Video Technology Guidelines for more information on accessing and viewing course videos. Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines for more information about live online participation in courses.

Online Courses with a Required On-Campus Weekend [not offered in Academic Year 2020-21]

In this type of course, you participate online in most of the course, and you attend an intensive weekend class on campus. Information about the format of the online meetings and the dates of the intensive weekend meeting are outlined in the course description.