Monday, June 19, 2006

Harvard Extension

NG writes in...

I notice that in your book there is no mention of Harvard's Master's of Liberal Arts, with its concentration on Literature and Creative Writing, as part of its Harvard Extension program.

I have been looking this program over and it sounds too good to be true, particularly the price, the Harvard faculty, and the courses offered.

Are you aware of this program, and if so, what do you think of it? If no, would you mind taking a look at their website and letting me know what your thoughts are?

I can't get a sense of the program from the website, and I didn't find information about price. Can someone else take a visit and give us some thoughts? Or is someone already familiar with this program?


disip23 said...

Hi: I just came across this post. I'm not sure how helpful I can be, but I used to work at Harvard Extension School when I was in college, and a friend of mine at work was getting a master's in English through the school. I know the Extension school does have some courses taught by Harvard faculty members. At the time I thought it was pretty amazing how many of the Harvard faculty members do teach at the Extension School, but one also has to keep in mind that just because someone teaches at Harvard doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is a good teacher. I went to Harvard, and there were many benefits to the experience, but now I'm in a tiny MFA program, and the quality of the teaching is so amazing and hands-on, I wish I had had that kind of experience before.

I wonder, though, if classes in that program at the Extension School tend to be small, in which case you might be getting an even better deal than Harvard students.

One other thing: Boston is such a vibrant academic area, even if the teachers aren't on Harvard's faculty (if that's what you're looking for), you might have amazing teachers who live/work in the area but don't have actual professorships.

That's my two cents...

Eric Hjerstedt Sharp said...

Did you find any other information about the writing program at Harvard Extension?

I have just enrolled, and am also interested in any info out there?

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lf said...

I am not in the program, but have taken classes in it since 2006. The literature classes are superb, with wonderful teachers. The writing classes are more mixed, not because the teachers aren't just as great as the literature professors - they are - but because of the students. I think the Harvard Extension ALM may be the only graduate writing program where you have to be admitted to the program to get a degree, but you don't have to be admitted to get into the classes. So the students are often a mix of levels, and you can be in an advanced writing class with someone who has only written a few stories or is starting their first novel. It can be a painful experience. This happens even in classes where the teacher requests a writing sample before admitting students to the class. That said, I have also learned a great deal from the better student writers in my classes at Harvard Extension.

As far as the costs are concerned, the Extension School graduate courses toward the degree this year cost $1850 for the semester, and the Summer School courses, which can be for taken credit toward the ALM, cost $2640. These courses can be taken while you work at a job, and the best deal is to work at Harvard - then you pay only $40 per course, regular session and summer, with a maximum of 2 courses per term as long as you're working at least 17.5 hours per week, under the TAP plan ( If you can get a job at Harvard, this is an amazing opportunity.

That's my two cents. I hope it's helpful.