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Non-Degree Study

Special Students in Education (SSE)

A select number of applicants for non-degree study may be admitted to take up to two residential (on-campus) courses during the academic year. This option is only available for professional educators seeking to enhance their current work, college or university faculty from institutions other than Harvard, and advanced doctoral students for whom the courses will contribute to their research. Admission to take courses as a non-degree student is competitive; course enrollment is on a space-available basis and is limited to HGSE residential (on-campus) courses only. Once admitted, a student's official enrollment in a course is subject to the approval of the instructor.

*Please note that Special Students are not eligible to register for Foundations courses or for HGSE funding, housing, or office space.

A complete application for non-degree study at HGSE consists of the following items:

  • Online Application Form
  • $85 non-refundable application fee (paid via credit card with the online application)
  • Official and unopened transcript(s) from each postsecondary institution attended (including institutions from which course credits transferred) showing all courses and grades. These must be sent directly to the HGSE Admissions Office and received by the application deadline.
  • Statement of Purpose: one page detailing how the course(s) you wish to take specifically relates to your current professional responsibilities or academic work
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • One letter of recommendation (submitted through the online application system)
    • Professional educators: This letter should be from a supervisor familiar with your work.
    • College or university faculty: You do not need to submit a recommendation.
    • Doctoral students: This letter should be from an academic adviser familiar with your plan of study and research interests.
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable)*

*Applicants whose native language is not English and whose bachelor's degree is not from a college or university where English is the sole language of instruction are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS exam. Scores must be from a test administered no earlier than July 1, 2020 for 2022-2023 enrollment. In addition, Harvard University does not provide student visas to Special Students.

If you are a HGSE degree holder, a Certificate of Advanced Study recipient, a voucher holder, or a Harvard employee eligible to take a course through the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), you do not need to fill out this application. You should contact the HGSE Office of the Registrar to arrange to take a course as a non-degree student.