Enrollment Policies for Graduate Students

Bachelor’s Degree Required

You must have a US regionally accredited or foreign equivalent bachelor’s degree before taking courses toward the program.

Graduate Credit

All courses must be taken for graduate credit.

Two-Credit Courses

Two-credit courses are considered half courses. If you complete a two-credit course, you'll need to complete a second, two-credit course to earn full course credit towards the ALM degree. You should complete the pair of two-credit courses in one academic year, as the second two-credit course may not be offered the following year.   

Full-Time Enrollment

The maximum number of credits you may take is 16 credits in a fall or spring term, four credits in a January session, four credits in a Harvard Summer three-week session, and eight credits in a Harvard Summer School seven-week session. Registration in crafting the thesis proposal tutorials, when taken for graduate credit, is considered full-time enrollment.

If you are registered for a thesis, internship, or a capstone with an E-/S- 599 course number, you are considered a full-time student. This includes the term of your initial registration and all subsequent terms in which you continue your work with program approval. Program approval will not be granted for full-time status in an upcoming term, if you are scheduled to submit your thesis project during the first nine weeks of that term.

Repeat Courses

Credit is not awarded for any course that duplicates the subject matter of a previous course taken at the Extension School or Harvard Summer School for which undergraduate or graduate credit has already been received. The only exception to the repeat rule are creative writing courses with an R in the course number (e.g., CREA 100R). You may repeat those courses once.

You may not repeat a course to improve your grade point average (GPA). A repeated course will appear on your transcript, but will not count toward the degree or your GPA unless a failing grade is earned. However, if you need to repeat a required course because you earned a grade below the minimum and there are no alternatives courses from which to choose both grades count toward your GPA. This includes all required admission courses, such as proseminar courses that might need to be repeated due to a low grade or because the course is more than two years old at the time of admission. See Academic Standing for more information.

Online Academic Progress Reports

Once admitted, you are required to review your personalized academic progress reports through online services; they are updated after each term.  If you fail to track your degree requirements, you may need to take extra courses and delay graduation.

Dual Enrollment

You cannot be simultaneously enrolled as a candidate in more than one Harvard Extension School degree program, nor can a course count toward more than one ALM degree program at Harvard Extension School.

Transfer Credit

No credit may be transferred from other colleges and universities, nor is any credit given for related work or military experience.

Inactive Status

Continuous enrollment is essential for successful degree completion. If you do not enroll for one year (fall, spring, summer), your candidate status becomes inactive and you'll lose many degree privileges, including ID card and Harvard e-mail account privileges. To return to active status, you will need to reaffirm your commitment to the program by meeting with your academic advisor, articulating a plan to complete the program within the required five-year deadline, and registering for at least one degree-applicable course.

Five-year Completion Deadline

For Management, Finance, and Capstone Track Candidates

The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree applicable courses (when admission requires two courses) or any three degree applicable courses (when admission requires three courses), regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to a degree program.

If you were admitted using HBX CORe, your six-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any one degree applicable course.

Your deadline date is displayed on your course record sheet, which is available via online services, Academic Progress Reports.

If all requirements have not been satisfied by your deadline date, your candidacy will automatically expire and you are removed from the program. Your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

For Thesis Track Candidates

The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree applicable courses (when admission requires two courses) or any three degree applicable courses (when admission requires three courses), regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to a degree program. 

If you have course work remaining at the end of five years, your candidacy will automatically expire and you are removed from the program. Your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

However, at the end of five years, if you've completed all other degree requirements but the thesis and are in good academic standing, you may gain one--and only one--additional year of candidacy to complete your thesis proposal by paying an active file fee of $500.

The fee allows you to retain library and other degree candidate privileges. If approval of your thesis proposal is obtained within the one-year active file period, then you will be given the usual allotment of time for completion of the thesis: nine months. If you do not submit the fee, your candidacy will automatically expire. If you submit the fee, but do not meet the one-time extended deadline for an approved proposal, your candidacy will automatically expire and you are removed from the program. No further extensions of time will be given and your transcript will reflect this new status: CE (candidacy expired).

Returning from Candidate Expired (CE) Status

CE status requires one year of mandatory rustication from Harvard Extension School and/or Harvard Summer School. If you decide at some future date to resume your studies, you can petition the Office of Graduate Advising and Program Administration. Please note that without exception courses over five years old for professional fields and ten years old for liberal arts fields are considered expired and will no longer fulfill degree requirements.

If your petition for re-admission is granted, you'll be held to any new admission and degree requirements. If all your course work has expired, you'll need to start from the beginning and complete all new course work, including the three degree courses required for admission. If some or all of your course work is not expired and can be counted toward the degree, you’ll still be required to (1) complete additional courses prior to admission to demonstrate your seriousness of intent and ability to re-engage in academic work after a long absence (for example, the proseminar or another key course in your field). This may require taking courses above and beyond the minimum needed to graduate. You will also be required to (2) meet with a research advisor about your intended thesis topic. Petition for re-admission will not be approved for students without confirmation of a workable thesis topic and research plan.

The Office of Graduate Advising and Program Administration will offer advice regarding which courses have expired, which courses may and may not be repeated, and the courses you should complete to re-apply. It is critical that you petition the Office prior to enrolling in courses. Re-admission petitions are only considered for students who are in good standing and are welcomed three times a year: May 15-June 1 to begin taking courses in a fall term, September 15-October 1 to begin taking courses in January or spring term, and January 15-February 1 to begin taking courses at the Harvard Summer School.