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Master's Programs

Who Studies at HGSE?

Teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, lawyers, and artists — HGSE students defy a single mold, but share a singularly vital goal: to make a difference through education.

The 13 master’s programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education attract extraordinary students from every imaginable background: classroom teachers, district leaders, nonprofit workers, public policy researchers, social entrepreneurs, and software engineers. Our diversity is our greatest strength. We are a community of talented, compassionate, and ambitious individuals united by a shared purpose: making a difference in the lives of learners of all ages.

2016-2017 Entering Class 

Individual class profiles vary significantly by program, but here is the big picture for the class that entered in 2016-2017:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Ph.D.)* Students: 25
  • Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) Students: 25
  • Master of Education (Ed.M.) Students: 646
  • Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) Students: 12

*The Ed.D. enrolled its final cohort in fall 2013; the Ph.D. in Education enrolled its first cohort in fall 2014.

Rate of Study 

Full-time: 95%
Part-time: 5%

Gender Ratio

Female: 75%
Male: 25%

Geographical Distribution 

40 states, D.C., and 48 countries of citizenship

International Students


Students of color  


Age Breakdown

Ph.D. students

Ed.L.D. students

Ed.M. students

Range: 23 to 37

Range: 29 to 46

Range: 20 to 61

Average: 27.5

Average: 37.1

Average: 27.9

Years of Work

Ph.D. students

Ed.L.D. students

Ed.M. students

Range: 0 to 11

Range: 6 to 22

Range: 0 to 35

Average: 3.7

Average: 12.9

Average: 4.2

Test Scores for Enrolled Students

General Record Test (GRE)

Ph.D. students

Ed.L.D. Students

Ed.M. Students

Verbal Average: 87 (percentile)

Verbal Average: 69 (percentile)

Verbal Average: 80 (percentile)

Quantitative Average: 58 (percentile)

Quantitative Average: 37 (percentile)

Quantitative Average: 60 (percentile)

Analytical Writing Average: 4.9

Analytical Writing Average: 4.5

Analytical Writing Average: 4.6

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • HGSE seeks applicants with scores of 104 or higher on the Internet-based TOEFL, with individual section scores (e.g., reading, writing, listening, and speaking) of at least 26. On the Paper-based TOEFL, HGSE seeks applicants with scores of 613 or higher, with individual section scores of at least 60 in reading, 63 in writing, 60 in listening, and 5.0 on the TWE (Test of Written English). 
  • Individuals with scores below these levels will likely be required to enroll in an English language course at Harvard (late June – early August) as a condition of their offer of admission.
  • Internet-based test average score: 113
  • All class profile numbers are accurate as of September 12, 2016.

Student Stories

The best way to understand the remarkable diversity and capacity of HGSE master’s students is to meet the students themselves:

  • Ed.M. Student Profiles - Throughout our website there are profiles of students and their experience at HGSE. Find out what brings our master’s students to Harvard and how they plan to make an impact
  • Student Blogs and Videos – Read posts and watch videos to get useful tips from current master’s students
  • Connect with an Ambassador – Get answers from a current Ed.M. student or alumnus/a about life at HGSE