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Summer 2023: Coronavirus Information

Secondary School Program

  • Cost

    $3,600–$13,750 + $75 application fee

  • Program Dates

    June 17 - August 5

  • Courses

    200+ Courses to Choose From

  • Formats

    Residential, Online or Commuting

A young man in a teal polo shirt smiles as he faces a girl whose face is in the foreground.

Experience what it's like to be a college student for seven transformative weeks.

Choose from over 200 college courses, offered in a variety of flexible formats, taught by world-class scholars while earning college credit.

What is the Secondary School Program?

Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School program is a seven-week academic program for motivated high school students ready to excel in college courses for college credit.

Prepare for your future: At Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School Program, you’ll get a true feel for college as you engage with fellow high school and college students and thrive in an academically rigorous environment.

Course Offerings for Career Pathways & Focused Areas of Study: Explore how a topic of interest could translate into a future career. Discover a potential major. Delve into a passion or subject not offered at your high school.

Social Events & College Prep Activities: Connect with a diverse group of peers on campus and around the world. Engage in intellectual debate. Explore new interests and hobbies. And have fun too!

At Harvard’s Secondary School Program, you’ll gain the confidence to do well in college that comes from successfully navigating a healthy balance between advanced coursework, extracurricular activities, and new friends.

Choose From Three Flexible Formats

Harvard’s Secondary School Program (SSP) offers three different formats, allowing you to choose the one that works best for you.

SSP Residential: Live on Harvard’s beautiful and historic campus for the duration of the seven-week program. Choose from over 200 on-campus or online courses*. Live and dine in Harvard housing with other SSP students. Explore Cambridge and the Boston area as you connect with new friends.


SSP Online: Experience college life at Harvard from your own home, no matter how near or far. Choose from our extensive collection of rigorous online courses taught by renowned professors from Harvard and around the world. Join a global community of fellow students in a myriad of engaging online social activities. 


SSP Commuting: If you live close by, you can experience a summer at Harvard while still living at home. Come to campus for courses and extracurricular activities. Study at the Harvard library or at your dining room table. Enjoy social events with your fellow students on campus and around the Boston area.


Format Components SSP Residential SSP Online SSP Commuting
Class Format On-Campus
and/or Online*
Online On-Campus
and/or Online
Number of Credit Hours 8 credit hours 4 or 8 credit hours 4 or 8 credit hours
Have the option to drop their 2nd class No
(Can switch to another class)
Yes Yes
(Unless restricted by visa)
Live in Harvard Housing Yes No No
Participate in Activities Yes Some Yes
Harvard ID, access to campus buildings Yes No Yes
(Except dorms)
College credit from Harvard Yes Yes Yes
Financial aid eligible
(U.S. citizens and permanent residents only)
Yes Yes Yes
Tutoring and Writing Center access Yes Yes Yes

*International SSP Residential students cannot take online classes.

As a summer student at one of the top-ranked universities in the world, you'll experience a challenging learning environment.

  • 38

    Languages Spoken

  • 48

    U.S. State and Territories

  • 61

    Countries Represented

  • 18 Years

    Offering an Online Version of the Program

How to Apply To Harvard's Secondary School Program

The application for Summer 2023 is closed.

Who Can Participate in Harvard’s Secondary School Program?

The admissions committee is looking for mature, academically motivated students who meet both the following criteria:

  • Will graduate from high school and enter college in 2023, 2024, or 2025
  • Are at least 16 years old by June 17, 2023, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2023
  • Students are required to apply for the program

See the Secondary School Program Academic Calendar for all important dates and deadlines.

Admitted Students

If you have been admitted to the Secondary School Program for Summer 2023, learn more about how to prepare.

Course Options

What Courses Can You Take at the Secondary School Program?

High school students enrolled in the Secondary School Program can choose from over 200 college classes. Each of these classes is a real college course, taught by Harvard College professors and distinguished visiting faculty, and taken for college credit.

Summer classes cover over 50 different topic areas, from the humanities to STEM and everything in between. Discover your talent for acting or creative writing. Explore a potential major such as computer science or psychology. Learn about current events shaping our world today.

Summer courses are small and intensive, and offer an opportunity to engage with faculty and peers on topics of interest to you. Explore our 2023 course catalog to find the course that’s right for you

Cost & Aid

The total cost of the Secondary School Program depends on the number of courses taken and which format:

  • Non-refundable $75 application fee
  • SSP Residential $13,750. Cost includes tuition, room and meal plan, and an accident and sickness insurance plan for the full seven weeks.
  • SSP Commuting and SSP Online $3,600 (4-credits) – $7,200 (8-credits). Cost is for tuition only and depends upon the number of credits taken.



How Long is Harvard’s Secondary School Program?

Harvard’s Secondary School Program is seven weeks long. The session starts in mid-June and runs through early August. See the Academic Calendar for specific program dates and deadlines.

The Secondary School Program requires a full-time commitment throughout the seven weeks. If you choose to participate in SSP Residential, you’ll want to clear your calendar for the duration of the program. If you have other commitments during the summer, consider SSP Online where you can take one course from home, or our 2-week, non-credit Pre-College Program.

What Will You Get Out of Harvard’s Summer School Program?

At Harvard’s Secondary School Program for high school students, you will expand your academic skills and demonstrate your ability to study at an Ivy League level. Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll receive a letter grade and can request a Harvard transcript that lists your course or courses.

You’ll also begin to build core life skills—such as time management, career planning, and living on your own—that will prepare you for success in college. You will be among a global student body to learn from and have fun with. And you’ll learn that you can thrive outside your comfort zone while making connections and memories that will last a lifetime.

Are Summer School Courses Difficult?

Summer school classes at Harvard are college-level courses, and therefore academically rigorous. But it is the challenge of these courses that attracts our students to the Secondary School Program. You will be proud of all you have accomplished at the end of the summer.

At SSP, you’ll be enrolled in the same credit-bearing Harvard Summer School courses taken by college students and other adult learners. Courses are condensed and intensive, so the work will feel different from high school classes.

Faculty at Harvard Summer School expect a significant commitment of time outside of class for reading and assignments. On average, the work required outside of class time is 8-12 hours per week per four-credit course, but this varies by course and depending on the assignments for the week.

What Courses Should I Take in the Secondary School Program?

There are a lot of great courses available through the Secondary School Program, and choosing the right one or two for you can be tough. There are a variety of variables to consider, including your areas of interest and how they will enhance your college application.

The Secondary School Program staff members have a lot of experience advising high school students on selecting the right course. We will work with you to help you select courses that suit your skills, interests, and goals. Because we are intimately familiar with the summer course offerings, we can help ensure that you enroll in courses that will help you succeed.

Our office is open Monday – Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. Contact us for more information or email us to set up an advising appointment.

Do Secondary School Programs help with College Admissions?

Participation in Harvard’s Secondary School Program does not guarantee admission to Harvard College.

However, the Secondary School Program can help make your college application stronger, regardless of where you apply. Completion of the program shows that you can succeed in a rigorous college class, and that you are a motivated and dedicated student who is ready for life on a college campus.

The Secondary School Program also offers college prep activities designed to help you navigate the daunting college admissions process. You can meet admissions officers from a variety of US colleges and universities at our college fairs and visits, for example, as well as work on your essays and responses at our college readiness workshops.

When you complete the Secondary School Program, you’ll have an amazing experience to add to your application, and you’ll be ready to get your applications underway.

For additional information, read more Common Questions about the Secondary School Program at Harvard Summer School.

Why Choose Harvard’s Secondary School Program?

Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? At Harvard’s Secondary School Program, you will challenge yourself academically, meet new friends from around the world, and expand your perspective and horizons!