International Student Study Options

We welcome close to 4,000 students from around the world seeking opportunities to study part-time at Harvard University each year.

We serve international students seeking online courses and nonresidential programs to advance their career or pursue an academic passion. Our offerings include:

Online Courses

We have about 500 online courses available in the fall and spring semesters.

Some courses have live meeting times in a virtual classroom each week. Others offer more flexibility, allowing you to watch weekly lecture videos or access course materials at your convenience. All classes have scheduled assignments each week.

No application is required to take a course; you simply register. However, English proficiency is required.

Explore online courses

On Campus Courses

Being a part-time school, Harvard Extension School does not issue I-20 certificates for the F-1 student visa for full-time on-campus study.

International students who require a student visa can participate in on-campus courses at Harvard Summer School.

Graduate Certificates

If you are interested in earning a Harvard credential in a specialized area, we offer more than 30 graduate certificates in fields like management, technology, and sustainability. Certificates include between three and five courses, and most can be completed online. Explore graduate certificates

Degrees

Our part-time degrees combine online and on-campus study. You can take a majority of your courses online, but you will also come to Harvard during the summer to meet your on-campus residency requirements.

The Harvard on-campus experience is a key aspect of our degree programs. You attend classes on campus at Harvard Summer School (see visa information below), engage with faculty and fellow students in person, and use campus libraries and other resources to enrich your academic experience.

Depending on your program of choice, you complete between one and four courses on campus. Review our undergraduate degrees and graduate degrees.

Degrees that Can Be Completed Online with On-Campus Summer Terms

Degree Field Number of On-Campus Courses Required Minimum Number of Summers On Campus
Anthropology and Archaeology 3 2
Bachelor of Liberal Arts 4 2
Bioengineering & Nanotechnology 2 1
Biology 3 2
Biotechnology 2 1
Creative Writing and Literature 1 1
Data Science 1 1
Development Practice 1 1
Digital Media Design 1 1
Dramatic Arts 3 2
English 3 2
Finance 2 1
Government 3 2
History 3 2
Industrial-Organizational Psychology 3 2
Information Management Systems 1 1
International Relations 3 2
Journalism 1 1
Management 4 2
Mathematics for Teaching 4 2
Museum Studies 2 2
Psychology 3 2
Religion 3 2
Software Engineering 1 1
Sustainability 1 1

Important Visa Information

As a part-time school that offers the majority of their courses online, Harvard Extension School does not issue I-20 certificates for the F-1 student visa for full-time on-campus study. 

If you need a student visa from Harvard University to enter the United States, your only option to complete the on-campus requirement is through Harvard Summer School. Because the Summer School has a full-time residential program option, the school offers the I-20 certificate for the F-1 student visa.

To qualify for an I-20, you must be a full-time Harvard Summer School student, registered in one of the following:

  • two 4-credit on-campus courses during the seven-week session, or
  • one 4-credit, three-week, on-campus course, or
  • one 4-credit capstone course during the seven-week session, for admitted degree candidates only

Begin planning in early March, as you will need to register for courses, apply for housing (if you want to live on campus), submit an I-20 application, and coordinate with the US embassy or consulate in your country to determine how long it will take to process your visa request.

Summer School registration opens in early March, the I-20 request deadline is in early May, and on-campus housing is limited—so don’t delay. See the international student guidelines for Summer School. Please note that if you obtain an I-20 from HSS for an F-1 visa, it is not possible to continue studying on the F-1 at Harvard Extension School due to the part-time nature of the program.

Other Visas

Many types of US visas do allow part-time study (e.g., J-2, F-2, H-4). If you are in the United States on a visa that permits academic enrollment, please follow the guidelines of the U.S. Department of State regarding the permitted enrollment load.

For the most current visa information, check the US Department of State website periodically.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and B-2 Visas

Neither ESTA nor the B-2 visa allows full- or part-time study. ESTA and B-2 visas are only for international travelers whose main reason for visiting the United States is tourism.

Attempting to enter the United States in ESTA or the B-2 visa status to earn credit is a violation of US visa policy and you risk being denied entry to the United States. This is true for non-degree students as well as admitted degree candidates. Only noncredit study is permissible.

Financing Options

Limited financial aid funding is available to non-US citizens. You may be eligible to borrow a private education loan through a lender of your choice with a US citizen as a cosigner.

Professional Development Programs

For short, one or two day offerings, you may be interested in noncredit Professional Development Programs offered by the Harvard Division of Continuing Education.