Pursuing a Certificate

Certificates are the fastest-growing post-secondary credential in the United States. Learn how to get started, track your progress, and successfully earn a graduate certificate from Harvard Extension School.

Getting Started

No application is required to pursue a certificate. 

Follow these three steps to get started: 

  1. Find an undergraduate or graduate certificate that interests you.
  2. Browse the current certificate course offerings using the corresponding search in the course catalog.
  3. Register during one of our enrollment periods. Be sure to select the appropriate credit status, based on the certificate you choose.

NOTE: Our graduate certificates are not available at the undergraduate level. You must take all your certificate courses for graduate credit to earn a graduate certificate.

Grade Requirements

Students must earn a grade of B, B+, A-, or A in a certificate course in order to have it count toward the certificate. Courses in which a student has earned a grade of B- or below cannot be counted toward a certificate.

Currently, there is no restriction regarding retaking a course in order to have it qualify for a certificate. The course will be listed on your transcript for each term that you take it and will include all grades you are assigned. 

Three Year Requirement

Students must complete courses within three years from the first day they start taking applicable courses towards their certificate. See chart below for specific start and completion semester information. 

Semester in which you start classes Semester when you must complete certificate courses
Fall 2020 Summer 2023
Spring 2021 Fall 2023
Summer 2021 Spring 2024

Tracking Your Progress

The Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form—available through online services—will help you keep track of the courses you have taken that are eligible to count towards your certificate of interest.

Monitor your progress by logging in to online services and choosing the Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form. This form will confirm the courses that count toward the certificate, the courses for which you are currently registered, and the courses that you've completed.

Financing Your Certificate

You may be eligible for scholarship funds, including Lowell Scholarships for Boston-area middle and high school teachers, community scholarships, and private student loans. Federal or state aid is only available to students who have been admitted to a degree program.

Earning Multiple Certificates

If you plan to pursue multiple certificates, keep in mind that your courses can only count toward one certificate. Each certificate is carefully designed to include a distinct set of courses to ensure its academic and professional value.

Resources for Certificate Students

As a certificate student you gain access to the following resources to aid in your success:

Certificate Advising

When you have questions about the process of earning your graduate certificate, know we are here. We offer weekly Open Virtual Office Hours where students can drop in and ask questions. Visit the site for dates and more information, or email us at graduate_certificates@extension.harvard.edu for graduate certificate questions or undergraduate_certificates@extension.harvard.edu for undergraduate certificate questions.

Career Resources

We are here for you and your success. Certificate students have access to the Career and Academic Resource Center (CARC), where they can participate in online webinars on career planning and academic skills. CARC offers monthly call-in career counseling for all certificate students. You can also participate in our annual Harvard Extension School Career Fair, held during the spring semester. 

Library Access

As a student at Harvard Extension School, you can utilize any of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Harvard libraries with your class participant library card. Visit our Library Resources page for more information. 

Additional Student Resources

Visit our Resources page for additional resources such as computer labs, writing center, and the Math Question Center.