Explore the institutions of government, politics, policy, and the systems used to govern communities and nation-states. In this graduate degree program, you gain a deeper understanding of the complex role of governmental organizations within society.
Key learning outcomes
Through the master's degree in the field of government you:
- Build an understanding of government’s role in relation to economics, education, ethics, history, law, philosophy, and sociology.
- Gain crucial theoretical and practical insights into governance and other challenges of governmental and nongovernmental administration.
- Explore political practice and theory, and analyze political behavior, cultures, and systems.
The degree includes 12 courses, three of which are taken on campus.
- Get started. You begin by completing three stipulated degree courses as outlined on the degree requirements page. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student.
- Apply to the program. While you are completing your third degree course, you submit the admission application. We have application cycles in the fall, spring, and summer.
- Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, year round in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least three courses on campus.
- Thesis option. If you choose this option, you'll work one-on-one with a thesis director to conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how scholarly research is executed and communicated.
- Capstone option. For the capstone option, you work with a capstone instructor and in community with fellow candidates to craft a policy, historical, or community-based analysis on a topic of your choice. The final paper will represent the caliber of writing and research evident in peer-reviewed academic journals.
- Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, field: Government.
Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2018–19 graduate tuition is $2,750 per course; the total tuition cost of earning the graduate degree is approximately $33,000.
There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.