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Why Harvard Summer School?

Because you’re ready for a Harvard education. Find programs and courses online, on-campus, in the evenings, and at your own pace.

adult female Harvard summer school student
four students inside Harvard library

Take Summer Courses at Harvard

Every summer, we offer students young and old the opportunity to experience what it’s like to study and live at America’s premier institution for higher learning — Harvard University.

Harvard Summer School is the oldest academic summer program in the United States. Our global student body includes advanced high school students, Harvard undergraduate and graduate students, visiting college students from other universities, and adult lifelong learners.

At Harvard Summer School, you can study for college credit, professional development, or personal enrichment. Choose from more than 300 courses, taught by Harvard faculty and visiting faculty who are experts in their field, in a variety of online and on-campus formats.

Whether you join us for a couple weeks or the full summer semester, a summer at Harvard is one you’ll never forget.

Summer School Student Offerings

Harvard Summer School serves a wide range of students, from high schoolers getting a taste of the college experience to Harvard College and Extension students completing degree requirements to adult course takers.

High School Students

Harvard Summer School has multiple college programs for high school students. We have the 2-week non-credit Pre-College Program and the 4-week and 7-week college-credit Secondary School Program.

  • The 7-Week Secondary School Program is an immersive, for-credit experience offered in three formats: residential, 100% online, or commuting from home. Students will get a true feel for college as you explore how a topic of interest could translate into a future career. The 4-Week Secondary School Program is an accelerated for-credit experience offered in an on-campus residential format only. Students choose from a curated selection of around 20 courses featuring popular topics such as business or medicine where they’ll form connections with their classmates and instructor. Learn more about the Secondary School program.
  • Our 2-Week Pre-College Program is a residential program where high school students take an intensive non-credit college-level course on the Harvard campus. During this program, you’ll meet students from around the world while getting a glimpse of college life. Learn more about the Pre-College Program.

Visiting College Students

College students from other institutions can take advantage of Harvard Summer School to explore a new subject or take a course to earn credits over the summer. Courses are offered in accelerated 3- or 4-week or full week summer term and may be offered on campus or online, synchronously or asynchronously. Our highly selective, limited enrollment Study Abroad program also admits students enrolled at any accredited university to travel abroad with Harvard faculty and immerse yourself in a different culture while expanding your understanding of the world.

Learn more about taking courses at Harvard Summer school as a visiting college student.

Adults and Professionals

Adults on a lifelong educational journey and professionals looking to fill in skill gaps can take courses at Harvard Summer School to advance your career or personal interests. You can choose from either accelerated three or four week long or full seven week long courses on campus or online, synchronously or asynchronously.

Learn more about taking courses at Harvard Summer School as an adult learner or professional.

Current Harvard Students

Currently enrolled Harvard students can take courses that count toward your degree at Harvard Summer School. These courses are not restricted to Harvard College students and may include graduate students, Harvard Extension students, visiting students from other universities, qualified Secondary School Program students, or other adult learners. Courses run the full seven week summer term and are offered on campus, or online, synchronously or asynchronously. Harvard College students may also apply to our highly selective, limited enrollment Study Abroad program to travel abroad with Harvard faculty and immerse themselves in a different culture while expanding their understanding of the world.

Learn more about taking courses at Harvard Summer School as a current Harvard College Student.

Benefits of Harvard Summer School

Taking a summer course gives you the opportunity to explore a topic not offered at your school, catch up or get ahead on credit hours, earn college credits that could count toward a certificate, or improve your resume.

Taking a Harvard Summer School course gives you access to Harvard’s powerful academic resources and campus facilities. That includes libraries, museums, labs, and athletic facilities. You could get lost in the expansive Widener Library while studying for your courses, wander around one of the school’s wonderful museums with friends from your program, or take advantage of the pools, tennis courts, and boathouses on campus. Learn more about the resources you can access as a Harvard student.

I still think about the experience every single day. Many valuable lessons have stayed with me. This program taught me how to adapt to a more rigorous course load, which has been really helpful for my high school experience.


Secondary School Program Student

Aside from the academic benefits of taking a course at Harvard Summer School, you will also get to experience Harvard Square, Cambridge, and Boston during the lively summer months — should you choose an on campus program. You can participate in organized excursions, intramural sports, and music groups.

If you choose to live in campus housing around Harvard Square, you will be a short walk from your classes, the dining hall, and local shops and restaurants — with many more just a short walk, bike, or subway ride away.

The Harvard Summer Experience

Get a taste of what it’s like to be a student at Harvard Summer School in this video.

Popular Courses

With hundreds of courses to choose from, planning your studies at Harvard Summer School can feel overwhelming. Here are some of our most popular courses by program:

  • 2-Week Pre-College Program
    • Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
    • Introduction to Data Science with a Focus on Visualization
    • Introduction to Cancer: Diving into Research
  • 4- or 7-Week Secondary School Program
    • Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics
    • Introduction to Computer Science with Python
    • Introduction to Political Philosophy
  • Adult, Extension, and college students
    • The Psychology of Close Relationships
    • Fundamentals of Academic Writing
    • Business Rhetoric


Tuition, deposits, and fees for Harvard Summer School differ based on program and format.

The total cost of the Secondary School Program depends on the number of courses taken and in which format. Learn more about the cost of the Secondary School Program.

The total cost of the 2024 Pre-College program is $5,550, plus a $75 application fee. Learn more about the cost of the Pre-College Program.

The total cost of summer courses for adult & college students depends on the number of courses taken and in which format. Learn more about the cost of summer courses for adult and college students.

The cost to participate in a Harvard Summer School Study Abroad program depends on the location and duration of the program. Learn more about the cost of the Study Abroad Program.

The total cost of summer courses for Extension School students is $3,600 for a 4 credit course. Select courses are offered at HES tuition rate.

Meet the Dean

“I love that students can come to the Summer School, whether online or in-person, and find themselves in a classroom or a dorm room or on a bench in Harvard Yard next to someone who comes from a different country, who speaks a different language and practices a different religion, but shares a common intellectual passion.”

Sandra Naddaff is the dean of Harvard Summer School. A graduate of Harvard herself, Dean Naddaff has been an instructor in both undergraduate and graduate courses. In her role as dean of Harvard Summer School, she oversees programs for high school students, college students, and adults and professional learners.

Hear more from Dean Sandra Naddaff as she talks about our history, mission and her own experiences that led her to Harvard Summer School.

Dean Sandra Naddaff


How do I apply for Harvard’s Summer School Program?

The Secondary School and Pre-College programs both have an application process.

Learn more about applying to the Secondary School Program.

Learn more about applying to the Pre-College Program.

There is no application process for adult learners, Extension, visiting or Harvard college students. Once you’ve decided to take a course at Harvard Summer School, the next step is to complete the simple pre-registration process and register for your selected course or courses. Some courses do require that you complete eligibility assessments and submit additional documentation before you can register.

How long does Summer School last at Harvard?

The full Harvard Summer School term is seven weeks, but the length depends on your program and courses. The Pre-College Program for high school students lasts two weeks. The Secondary School Program has 4-week and 7-week options. Adult, college and Extension students can register for courses that last either 3-weeks, 4-weeks, or 7-weeks.

Does Harvard offer summer courses online?

Yes, many of the courses for adult learners, Extension students, visiting college students, and Harvard College students are offered online, either synchronously and asynchronously. In addition, high school students in the 7-week Secondary School Program also have the option to enroll in online courses.

Why should I take summer school courses at Harvard?

Harvard Summer School is an academically rigorous experience for learners of all ages with flexible options that allow people to choose the summer experience that works best for them. Taking summer courses at Harvard gives you access to Harvard faculty and visiting faculty and the many facilities at Harvard including its renowned libraries, museums, and labs.