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Harvard Division of Continuing Education

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Title: Harvard Division of Continuing Education  
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Subject: Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University, Harvard Extension School, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, History of Harvard Extension School
Collection: Harvard University
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Harvard Division of Continuing Education

Harvard Division of Continuing Education
Division of Continuing Education
Type Private
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Campus Urban
Harvard Division of Continuing Education Logo

The Division of Continuing Education is a part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at Harvard University. It is responsible for various undergraduate, graduate and non-degree programs in fields such as liberal arts, information technology, social sciences, religion and environmental management. While non-degree programs have an open enrollment policy, degree programs do require a formal Harvard University admissions process, and full tuition on a per-course basis. Admitted students have full access to Harvard's faculty, laboratories, library system and facilities.


Currently, the Division of Continuing Education comprises five major programs:

  1. The Harvard Summer School
  2. The Harvard Extension School
  3. The Harvard Institute for English Language Programs
  4. The Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement
  5. The Harvard Summer Secondary School Program

The Harvard Summer School, founded in 1871, is the first academic summer session established in the United States. Each summer more than 5,000 students of all ages come to Harvard from across the U.S. and more than 100 foreign countries to study for seven weeks with faculty from Harvard and other major American and foreign universities. The Summer School offers approximately 300 daytime and evening classes in more than forty disciplines in the sciences, humanities, writing, economics, computer science, and over a dozen foreign languages.

The Harvard Extension School, founded by Harvard University President A. Lawrence Lowell in 1910 as an academic program designed to serve the educational interests and needs of the greater Boston community, now additionally serves students worldwide through its online course offerings. The Extension School features open enrollment (the degree programs require a formal admissions process), part-time evening classes, instructors drawn mainly from Harvard, and an opportunity for personal enrichment, career advancement, or study leading to a degree. The school currently awards the degrees of Associate in Arts (AA), Bachelor of Liberal Arts (ALB), Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in 19 liberal arts fields, and Master of Liberal Arts in mathematics for teaching, biotechnology, sustainability and environmental management, museum studies, information technology, journalism, and management.

The Harvard Institute for English Language Programs (IEL) was founded in 1950 to meet the language needs of post-World War II immigrants to the United States. During the academic year, the Institute offers part-time day and evening programs to non-native English speakers living in the greater Boston area. During the summer, the Institute offers intensive daytime programs for international students and evening classes for local students, at a variety of levels, from beginning to advanced.

The Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement, created in 1977, offers retirees and other older adults an opportunity to pursue intellectual interests and explore new areas of knowledge in peer-taught study groups. Each year, approximately 500 people, ranging in age from their fifties to their nineties, participate in the Institute's programs.

Part of the Harvard Summer School, the Harvard Summer Secondary School Program offers high school seniors, juniors, and sophomores a unique chance to sample college. Students take college classes taught by Harvard and non-Harvard faculty, meet students from around the world, and take part in social, recreational, and college preparatory activities: a college fair, trips to other colleges, intramural athletics, dances, a trivia bowl, music groups, and a talent show.

Organization and faculty

The Division of Continuing Education is led by the Dean of Continuing Education and University Extension, who is appointed by and reports to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Dean of the Harvard Summer School reports to the Dean of Continuing Education. The Summer School and the Extension School draw their instructors from among the tenured and ladder-rank faculty in the various Arts and Sciences department, as well as from the other schools at Harvard University. Instructors also include academic administrators, and various part-time lecturers and practitioners from both Harvard, other institutions of higher learning, and the private sector.

External links

  • Harvard Extension School
  • Harvard Summer School
  • Harvard Summer Secondary School Program
  • Harvard Institute for English Language Programs
  • Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement
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