Campus & Community

Joint degree at Extension School

3 min read

New combination undergrad and grad program invites students with business experience

Harvard Extension School is accepting applications for a new combined undergraduate and graduate program, the first of its kind at the School. The program will provide an accelerated pathway for working professionals to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in four years.

The program is designed for adult professionals without a previous bachelor’s degree who have seven to 10 years of professional business experience. The School currently offers separate undergraduate and graduate degree programs in liberal arts fields, and has an alumni base of more than 16,000 graduates.

According to Suzanne Spreadbury, the School’s associate dean for academic programs, “This program is an answer to President Obama’s call to action for the U.S. to increase its number of college graduates. The program is tailored for the 4 million U.S. adults whom the National Student Clearinghouse has termed “potential completers,” students who started and reached the two-year mark, but never finished their undergraduate degrees. Many of these students have likely worked their way up to jobs that require a bachelor’s degree. In order to remain competitive, they need to move forward in their careers with both the bachelor’s and master’s degree.”

The undergraduate curriculum focuses on the critical thinking and communication skills in a global context that are key to understanding complex issues and are the core of a liberal arts education. During the graduate coursework, students will develop strong analytical and management skills that will help them move up to leadership roles in the workplace.

Spreadbury said, “For adult learners who are balancing families and careers, the carefully prescribed curriculum and 15-person cohort model of this program help increase retention rates. Students, with the support of their peers and faculty, can earn the degrees they need to obtain job security and confidence while achieving success within their organization.”

An admissions committee, consisting of program advisers, administrators, and faculty, selects candidates for the new program. Once accepted, students will begin an accelerated, four-year cohort program that includes 18 online courses and six on-campus courses. Students will complete coursework on campus for three weeks each summer, and online coursework during the fall and spring semesters. Upon completion, students will earn first a bachelor of liberal arts in global studies degree, and second, a master of liberal arts in management degree. As part of the master’s degree requirements, students will also earn a professional graduate certificate in a specialized management topic such as organizational behavior or marketing.

Huntington Lambert, dean of Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, added, “This program continues Harvard Extension School’s commitment to serve part-time learners with the academic ability, curiosity, and drive to succeed in Harvard courses. Our mission is to extend Harvard faculty to a broader community of highly motivated learners and to help working professionals achieve their academic and professional goals.”

The joint degree program’s first cohort will start coursework online in June 2016. For more information.