Many of the master’s degrees from the Extension School have some classes that can be taken online. Most require at least two semesters residency. Some programs require that a certain number of hours be taken in person. The masters’ degrees in information technology (ALM in IT) and environmental management are the only two that appear to have the smallest residency requirement. Many of the classes offered by the Extension School do not have an online option, so beyond the residency requirement, some classes must be taken in person.
The difficulty of the courses seemed to vary greatly, but this was probably a function of my previous experience more than anything else. Coming from a totally unrelated field, but with a lot of hands-on experience, meant that there were some gaps I had to fill in while taking classes that probably wouldn’t have been an issue for someone with an undergraduate computer science background. The Theory of Computation class was especially difficult for me. In fact, I took it twice. Halfway through it the first time, I was getting a B, but really struggling. I ended up dropping it. That summer, I took a course in discrete mathematics. It wasn’t required for the degree, but it filled in some of the background I needed to pass the Theory of Computation the next semester.
Hello Mark, I’m interested in the HES undergraduate program. I’m currently a Junior in High School and wanted to ask if I could attend HES right after high school. Also, do you think if I take a government undergrad course, and finish and get my diploma may I still be able to apply to any law school and get a Law degree (J.D.)? Assuming I pass the BAR & LSAT for admissions.
It is important to realize that the degrees offered by the Extension School may not map directly to degrees offered by other schools. My degree is the ALM in IT with a concentration in software engineering. I do not have a Master’s of Science in Computer Science as is offered by the Harvard Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. While there is some overlap, that degree requires different courses and goes much deeper on the computational theory side of things. The classes I took included several that were more focused on practical use of current technologies rather than being all theory. My required courses seemed about equivalent to the Master of Science in Computer Science degrees from some of the state schools I researched.
I wasn’t familiar with the Digital Media degree. Of the other schools I looked at, Harvard did seem to have the best classroom experience. Stanford’s was good as well. I figured by now more schools would have caught up, but from what you are saying it sounds like they still have a lead over many of the other online programs.
Thanks for the write-up. There are some pretty interesting online programs from some of the best liberal arts in the country. Getting a degree from Harvard online probably takes the cake. Hopefully you will be respected by your Harvard grad peers as that may be the most valuable part of the degree. Networking with alum that is. Thats a nice feature that they make you spend one section at the school, probably a fun summer.
Taking classes by watching the lectures on your computer and communicating by email is hard. It is very hard. It is much easier to go to a physical class and sit with a bunch of your fellow students than participate in an . It is not something that everyone can do. It can be very frustrating and leave you feeling very isolated. Before making a huge commitment to try to earn a master’s degree using distance education technology, make sure you try a class or two. You have to make sure it works with your personality. It definitely isn’t for everyone. Most of my education through high school was self paced and individualized working through textbooks and workbooks on my own. A teacher was available for questions, but there wasn’t any type of lecture. It involved reading, doing problem sets and then telling the teacher when you are ready to take the test. Distance education seemed like something of a hybrid between my college and high school education.
The ALM in IT master’s degree program has a one-semester residency requirement. Since the eight-week summer session counted toward this, we chose to spend a few months there during the summer. My wife and I rented a small, one-bedroom furnished apartment a few blocks from Harvard Square, and I took eight credit hours during those eight weeks. We were only a block or two from the Science Center where my classes were held and very near the subway in Harvard Square, so we didn’t need to use our car. It sat in a parking lot for most of the summer with the battery slowly draining from disuse.
Postsecondary education is broadly dividedinto two different sectors: postsecondary vocational education and training,which is non-degree but can produce some transferable credits under certaincircumstances; and higher education, which includes studies undertaken indegree-granting institutions for academic credit.
Thank u so much for d info! But I was just wondering… What if I finished the non thesis…then in time, I realized that I wanted to pursue a doctoral degree.. Will it be possible?
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Out of curiosity, would you know when Harvard started awarding online Master degrees? I am very interested in this program and love the fact that it emphasizes classroom ability for its admission criteria. Back when I was applying for schools in 2006, online degree opportunities were very limited.
Founded in 1910, was originally designed to serve local non-traditional students. It is now under the Continuing Education division. The Extension School is the only of Harvard’s thirteen schools to offer both graduate and undergraduate degrees and also the only to offer an associate degree. Anyone can sign up to take a course without being admitted to a degree program. The primary qualification for admittance to a master’s degree program is the successful completion of 12 hours of courses (three classes) with a decent GPA. Some of the programs now require that specific classes be taken as part of those first 12 hours. These are usually the classes that are the hardest. This is actually a very kind requirement. You don’t want to get admitted by taking the 4 easiest courses and complete most of the coursework only to discover that one of the classes you left to the end is well beyond your ability.