A note to our learners: Harvard University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the Harvard community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, as well as the edX Terms of Service (for HarvardX courses). If you have any questions or concerns, please contact online-learning@harvard.edu and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.

Courses

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I see things listed on the site that are not courses, and yet you call them courses. Why?

We refer to “Courses” as a generic term describing all learning content on the site. We use the term more generally to represent the full array of learning content available, from podcasts and DASH Collections to fully interactive courses and programs. The list below describes the different types of learning content we offer.

  • Course/Program: Learning content that is either part of a course (a “module” or mini-course), an integrated course, or a full degree program
  • Collection:
 Content from the Harvard Libraries and Harvard Museums
  • Digital publication:
 eBooks, journals, and other digital works
  • Hybrid:
 An online learning experience that incorporates residential learning elements
  • Podcast/Audio:
 Any purely audio learning content
  • Event:
 Media from lectures, panels, and conferences with a teaching and learning focus
How can I ask a question about a specific course?

To get detailed information about a specific course, click on the “Take course” or “Access content” button and you will be taken to the content provider’s course website. If you have additional questions about a course, contact the content provider directly. To learn more about the content providers and how to contact them, please read the Harvard Online Learning Content Providers section in the About page.

What is a DASH Collection?

A DASH Collection (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard) is not a course; it is a central, open-access repository of research by members of the Harvard community. You can access DASH content by clicking on the “Access content” button.

Do courses require prior knowledge or academic experience?

Instructional levels vary for courses. Each course is categorized by the following levels:

  • Introductory: Assumes you have no prior knowledge of the topic or subject.
  • Intermediate: Assumes you have some basic knowledge and are accustomed to college-level academic courses.
  • Advanced: Assumes you have subject-specific knowledge and/or a relevant academic degree.
How much interactivity do courses require?

Courses have different levels of interactivity. Each course is categorized by the following levels of engagement:

  • Low: No assessments or interactive learning elements.
  • Medium: Some optional online assessments and interactive learning elements. Helpful but not essential to the learning experience.
  • High: Online and/or in-person assessments and interactive learning elements are fully integrated into the experience.
Are courses only offered in English?

Currently, most courses are in English. Some courses are offered in other languages with English subtitles available for the videos. Click the "Take course" or “Access content” button to get specific information for an individual course.

Enrollment

How do I enroll or "take" a course?

To enroll in a course, you must click the “Take course” button to get more information from the content provider and/or directly access the content. In some cases, such as much of the free content (YouTube videos, SoundCloud, much of iTunes, DASH content, etc.), no enrollment is necessary and clicking the button will take you directly to the learning content itself. Other free and paid content (i.e., HarvardX, Extension School) require you to set up an account and/or pay for the credit option, when applicable.

Who can enroll?

Most courses are open to all learners, while some courses require participants to have certain academic degrees or equivalent work experience. Click the "Take course" button to get enrollment requirement information for individual courses.

What if I missed the enrollment date?

Enrollment dates are specified by the course content provider (e.g., edX, HBX, Extension School). Click the "Take course" button to get enrollment deadline information for individual courses.

Please also note:

1) "Enroll by" dates are often flexible. For courses that offer a verified certificate or premier certificate — meaning that there is a live course offering — you may still be able to enroll and take the live version of the course even after the "Enroll by" deadline. This is because many courses prefer students to enroll by the start date; however, many courses allow learners to enroll well past that date, sometimes as late as the day before the course finishes.

2) The vast majority of learning content on the site (including HarvardX courses) is available and open year-round. Many content items listed on the site allow learners to access the material even when the course is not running live. The learning assets are essentially archived. This applies to ongoing content as well as HarvardX courses, for example. (Please note: Most paid courses will not provide open access.) Look at the platforms available to take the course -- you may be able to access the learning assets at any point in time.

Fees and Financial Aid

Is everything on the site free and open?

The site presents a variety of learning opportunities, from open and free to admissions- and fee-based. For each given learning opportunity, there may be multiple learning options. For example, a learner could register for an open, free version of "CS50" through HarvardX/edX or enroll in the credit-bearing version of the course from Harvard Extension School for a fee.

How do I know if a course is free or paid?

There are three ways to determine if a course is free or paid.

1) When you are on the courses page, you will see a filter that includes an “Eligible for” category. Free options are labeled No Credential. Paid options include Credit, Verified Certificate, Premier Certificate, and Degree.

2) Under the “Cost” filter, you can search courses that are “Free” or “Paid.” Note that courses marked as “free” will often also offer options for paid Verified Certificates.

3) If you click on a specific course that interests you, on the left-hand side you will see the different platforms available in which you can take the course, listed as Available On. Some platforms (e.g., edX) offer courses for free, other platforms (e.g., Harvard Extension School) offer paid courses.

Do you offer financial aid?

No. We are a site that links to content across Harvard’s campus; as such, we do not host content nor offer scholarships or grants. Any external site that advertises scholarship opportunities to you does so in a capacity completely independent of Harvard. 

Credits

Is credit available?

Credit is available and varies depending on what type of learning content you choose. You can search for different types of credit under the “Eligible for” filter. Some learning content (such as the HarvardX courses offered on edX.org) have paid Verified Certificate options available; other learning content is free and has no certificate; and yet other content offers credit and degree options (such as the Extension School, HBX, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Master’s in Epidemiology).

What types of credit do you offer?

Below is a list of possible credit options. Note that most courses marked “No Credential” are also offered with a paid credential option. To learn about the credits available for a specific course, click on the “Take course” button and access the full course description page.

  • No credential (Free): Learning materials are open and available for you to access. No credential or credit offered. Note that for many of the HarvardX courses offered on edX.org, you may elect to pay for a Verified Certificate when you enroll in the free version of the course.
  • Credit (Paid): Typically offered as semester-long course with opportunities for deeper engagement. Academic credit available for successful learners who will receive grades on a Harvard transcript.
  • Verified certificate (Paid): Shows that you have successfully completed your course and verifies your identity.
  • Premier certificate (Paid): Offers additional support for learners and opportunities to share work and receive feedback. Successful students can earn a non-credit based, Harvard-branded certificate.
  • Degree (Paid): A program requiring a formal application, which will render a full degree.
What types of certificates do you offer?

Many courses offer certificates upon successful course completion. To learn more about the certificates available for a specific course, click on the “Take course” button and review the course provider’s website. You can also click the links below to learn about certificates offered by the following course providers:

Technical Issues

I'm having technical issues with the site; what should I do?

Our site has a mobile responsive design, so it works with most smart phones. It also works with most Internet browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Please note that we do not host any of the content; rather, our site is a way to search the breadth and depth of Harvard's online learning content. If you are clicking to the learning content and arriving at a content item or platform that is no longer accessible, please report it to us at online-learning@harvard.edu.