Degree Requirements

Required Courses

The Master of Liberal Arts, Information Management Systems degree consists of 12 courses (48 credits), one of which is required on campus. Weekend options available.

12 Graduate Courses

The degree is for individuals who know object-oriented programming using C++ or Java. If you need to strengthen your background, first complete our programming certificate.

  • 1 web principles course
  • 1 data communications course
  • 1 cloud computing course
  • 1 security and risk management course
  • 1 database management course
  • 1 IT management course
  • 1 business analytics course
  • 4 electives
    • EXPO 34 is an elective option
  • 1 capstone project course (on campus)

Search Information Management Systems Degree Courses

Admissions: Earn Your Way In

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following two, graduate-level degree courses (available online):

  • 1 web principles course
  • 1 data communication course or database management course

The two courses don't need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.

Eligibility: Before you enroll in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a four-year regionally accredited US bachelor's degree. You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master's degree in Information Management Systems or a related field. Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated, and the Admissions Office makes final determinations about eligibility. Refer to Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit the official application to the program. 

Don't delay! To achieve academic success and meet your expected graduation date, it is critical to prioritize the two degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. By doing so, you’ll avoid the delayed application fee and gain access to exclusive degree candidate privileges.

If you submit a complete and timely application, you will be admitted, after which you’ll have 10 more courses to take to earn the degree. A complete application includes required Harvard courses, grades, cumulative GPA and a passing score on our online test of critical reading and writing skills or completion of the program elective EXPO 34 Business Rhetoric with a grade of B or higher. Tip: Take the exam right away, in your first semester at Harvard.

For more details about eligibility, the application process, and application fees, visit Admissions.

Admissions

MITx MicroMasters® Credential Admissions Pathway

If you have earned the MicroMasters® Program credential in Supply Chain Management, you may apply the credential toward admission and complete one additional course at the Harvard Extension School. Learn more about the MicroMasters Pathway

The Harvard On-Campus Experience

Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least one course—the capstone—which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

Accelerated on-campus path: if you have limited flexibility, you can typically fulfill the capstone requirement with one intensive weekend on campus.

International Students Who Need a Student Visa

To meet the on campus requirement, you complete the capstone over the summer. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School's seven-week session. For more details, see International Student Study Options for important visa information.

To Complete Your Degree

Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher

Earn a B or higher in each of two degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses, but be sure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years

You have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to a degree program. Moreover, courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the five-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work. Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the five-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied.

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Information Management Systems. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May. 

For information about special academic opportunities, student privileges, and policies, see Completing Your Degree.