Enrollment Policies for Graduate Students
Bachelor’s Degree Required
You must have a four-year, US regionally accredited or foreign equivalent bachelor’s degree before taking courses toward the program.
All courses must be taken for graduate credit.
Complete All Credits at Harvard to Graduate
You must complete a total of 48 degree-applicable Harvard, graduate-level credits with required grades, meet the required GPA, and fulfill all degree requirements to graduate. For museum studies, the total credits is 40.
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. For example, you can't fulfill on-campus credit requirements with just one two-credit course; you'll need two. You should complete the pair of two-credit courses in one academic year, as a second two-credit course in your area of interest may not be offered the following year. Two-credit courses ordinarily fulfill only elective requirements.
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.
If you are registered for thesis proposal tutorial for credit, 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.
Degree credit is not awarded for a course that duplicates the subject matter of a previous course taken at the Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School for which undergraduate or graduate credit has already been received. The only exception to the policy are graduate-credit creative writing courses with an R in the course number (e.g., CREA 100R), which may be repeated only once.
If you choose to repeat a course, it will appear on your official transcript, but will not count toward the degree or your GPA (unless a failing grade is earned).
Occasionally, students must repeat a course because they earned a grade below the required B or B- when attempting to fulfill a specific degree requirement that has no alternative course options (e.g., proseminars). In these cases, both grades count toward the GPA.
See Academic Standing for more information.
Online Academic Progress Reports
Once admitted, you are required to review your personalized academic progress reports on the Degree Candidate portal, available via 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.
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.
No credit may be transferred from other colleges and universities, nor is any credit given for related work or military experience. Credit for the MITX MicroMasters (not individual MITX courses) is only awarded as part of the MITX Admission Pathways.
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. Failure to comply and register, after one year of inactive status, will result in your candidacy being expired.
Five-year Completion Deadline
Your five-year deadline date is displayed on your course record sheet, which is available, once you are admitted, via online services, Academic Progress Reports. For details regarding how the five-year deadline is calculated, please review your specific degree-field requirements web page.
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
If you have coursework remaining at the end of five years, including the thesis proposal 4-credit tutorial, 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, active academic standing (i.e., not inactive), you may gain one--and only one--additional year of candidacy to complete the thesis by paying an active file fee of $500.
The fee allows you to retain library and other degree candidate privileges, while you are working on your thesis. 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 to complete the thesis, 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 ALM Advising and Program Administration. Please note that without exception courses over five years old 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 coursework has expired, you'll need to start from the beginning and complete all new courses, including the three degree courses required for admission. If some or all of your coursework 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 ALM Office 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.
If you are allowed to return from CE status and, for the second time, you do not complete the degree, you'll be permanently retired with no opportunity to be reinstated.