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  1. #1
    Happydude26 is offline Registered User
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    Question Is Harvard Extension School Degree Applicable Toward a Doctorate, Ph.D in the Future?

    Hi all, first time post here! Glad I found this forum.

    So, I have a B.A. degree from UCLA and i'm wanting to obtain a Master of Arts in Anthropology and am looking at the HES and it looks quite tempting. In complete honesty i'm considering finding work out in Boston and committing to completing a HES degree in 12-18 months.

    A concern of mine would be if such a degree can later be used towards continuing my education ; say if, I wanted to go for a Doctorate back at UCLA, or perhaps USC .

    I'm from California so a final random question would be to those that would know how liberal financial aid is to those attending the HES.

    I'm taking this proposition of moving to Cambridge seriously, but am still doing my research so any advice is well appreciated.

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    OK, let's start with the basics. HES is one of the divisions or schools within Harvard University and all their conferred degrees are legitimate and coming from an accredited institution. Many people like the HES degrees because of the Harvard brand and the high quality of the instructors/instruction. Next I'd like to point out that, technically the grad degree to wgich you are referring in not a Master of Arts in Anthropology degree. It's a Master of Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in Anthropology . You will see the difference if you compare the degree requirements of this HES program with some other MA in Anthropology program, say at UCLA or USC . Next, the question is, "Does this difference make a difference?" The answer of course is, it depends. It depends on the PhD admission criteria of the program you hope to attend in the future. Some PhD programs do not actually require a Masters degree but many prospective applicants will have one, maybe just to make them more competitive for the limited number of slots in any given program. Typically, you need to have some evidence that you have some substantial knowledge of the specified subject (anthropology ) and obviously a Masters degree is a nice neat way to demonstrate such knowledge. You will also undoubedly need reference letters from people in the field. Again, a Masters degree is a good way to get to know such people and for them to get to know you. You should be mindful of this from the very start of any Masters program and collect these references at the conclusion of each relevant course. Don't wait until you get your degree. They won't remember you as clearly and may even be harder to contact. With all that said, I personally don't think the difference will make a substantial difference and the HES degree will meet your needs. Best of luck.
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  3. #3
    cookderosa is offline Resident Chef
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    Kizmet makes great points. So, something to think about, the master's from HES won't be 33 credits in anthropology , even if that's your concentration. It will be less, I can't recall the exact number, but that may or may not be an issue later.

    When you say "how liberal is financial aid" that makes me think you're asking about stipends? There are none, this will be paid for 100% by you. When you complete the first classes (pre-admission) you won't qualify for ANY student loans, so that has to be cash. (~$7500) Once you're accepted (post-3 classes) you can apply for student loans. There are no grants or stipend options.
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  4. #4
    Ted Heiks is offline Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happydude26 View Post
    Hi all, first time post here! Glad I found this forum.

    So, I have a B.A. degree from UCLA and i'm wanting to obtain a Master of Arts in Anthropology and am looking at the HES and it looks quite tempting. In complete honesty i'm considering finding work out in Boston and committing to completing a HES degree in 12-18 months.

    A concern of mine would be if such a degree can later be used towards continuing my education ; say if, I wanted to go for a Doctorate back at UCLA, or perhaps USC .

    I'm from California so a final random question would be to those that would know how liberal financial aid is to those attending the HES.

    I'm taking this proposition of moving to Cambridge seriously, but am still doing my research so any advice is well appreciated.

    Thank you!!
    When attempting to guess whether such and such master's degree will be valid enough credential to be used for admissions to doctoral studies, the key question is going to be: Did you write a thesis? The Harvard Extension ALM degree requires a thesis. So, yes I think you could get into a doctorate with your Harvard ALM.
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  5. #5
    sanantone is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookderosa View Post
    Kizmet makes great points. So, something to think about, the master's from HES won't be 33 credits in anthropology , even if that's your concentration. It will be less, I can't recall the exact number, but that may or may not be an issue later.

    When you say "how liberal is financial aid" that makes me think you're asking about stipends? There are none, this will be paid for 100% by you. When you complete the first classes (pre-admission) you won't qualify for ANY student loans, so that has to be cash. (~$7500) Once you're accepted (post-3 classes) you can apply for student loans. There are no grants or stipend options.
    I never thought about that. If $7500 is something the OP can't pay out of pocket, I seriously considered University of North Texas' online master's in applied anthropology a few years ago.
    Online Master's Program - UNT Anthropology
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  6. #6
    cookderosa is offline Resident Chef
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanantone View Post
    I never thought about that. If $7500 is something the OP can't pay out of pocket, I seriously considered University of North Texas' online master's in applied anthropology a few years ago.
    Online Master's Program - UNT Anthropology
    Yes, and it's sticky because you can't complete all 3 pre-admission courses online in any of their programs, so you're going to have to pay for a visit right up front. It's a factor for sure (at least it was for me).
    Jennifer
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  7. #7
    Happydude26 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    OK, let's start with the basics. HES is one of the divisions or schools within Harvard University and all their conferred degrees are legitimate and coming from an accredited institution. Many people like the HES degrees because of the Harvard brand and the high quality of the instructors/instruction. Next I'd like to point out that, technically the grad degree to wgich you are referring in not a Master of Arts in Anthropology degree. It's a Master of Liberal Arts degree with a concentration in Anthropology . You will see the difference if you compare the degree requirements of this HES program with some other MA in Anthropology program, say at UCLA or USC . Next, the question is, "Does this difference make a difference?" The answer of course is, it depends. It depends on the PhD admission criteria of the program you hope to attend in the future. Some PhD programs do not actually require a Masters degree but many prospective applicants will have one, maybe just to make them more competitive for the limited number of slots in any given program. Typically, you need to have some evidence that you have some substantial knowledge of the specified subject (anthropology) and obviously a Masters degree is a nice neat way to demonstrate such knowledge. You will also undoubedly need reference letters from people in the field. Again, a Masters degree is a good way to get to know such people and for them to get to know you. You should be mindful of this from the very start of any Masters program and collect these references at the conclusion of each relevant course. Don't wait until you get your degree. They won't remember you as clearly and may even be harder to contact. With all that said, I personally don't think the difference will make a substantial difference and the HES degree will meet your needs. Best of luck.
    Thank you for pointing out the differences in degrees. Iím happy with a concentration in Anthro; as you mention, when it comes time to apply towards a Ph.D it can only make prospective schools happy to see iíve moved beyond just a Bachelors.

    Quote Originally Posted by cookderosa View Post
    Kizmet makes great points. So, something to think about, the master's from HES won't be 33 credits in anthropology , even if that's your concentration. It will be less, I can't recall the exact number, but that may or may not be an issue later.

    When you say "how liberal is financial aid" that makes me think you're asking about stipends? There are none, this will be paid for 100% by you. When you complete the first classes (pre-admission) you won't qualify for ANY student loans, so that has to be cash. (~$7500) Once you're accepted (post-3 classes) you can apply for student loans. There are no grants or stipend options.
    I understand what youíre saying in that essentially my relationship w/ financial aid and Harvard will be either a student loan, or outta pocket.

    My big concern right now as of the time of this writing at end of March, is whether to begin my HES career w/ a proseminar (most likely in Fall iíd assume?) and go the 3 classes toward being able to sign up for a degree programÖ. ORÖ. sign up online for a Harvard account and be ready to sign up for 2 anther courses for the summer, online courses and pay outta pocket..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Heiks View Post
    When attempting to guess whether such and such master's degree will be valid enough credential to be used for admissions to doctoral studies, the key question is going to be: Did you write a thesis? The Harvard Extension ALM degree requires a thesis. So, yes I think you could get into a doctorate with your Harvard ALM.
    Iíve read online how the thesis seems to hold up a lot of HES students from graduating. My goal here is to be able to walk come end of Spring 2016. <<<THIS IS LIKE THE MAIN THING.

    Quote Originally Posted by sanantone View Post
    I never thought about that. If $7500 is something the OP can't pay out of pocket, I seriously considered University of North Texas' online master's in applied anthropology a few years ago.
    Online Master's Program - UNT Anthropology
    Seriously, this is such a great option and its something i'm still considering. I love the aspect of it being completely online, however I'm in a position where it would be best if I moved to the northeast and am able to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by cookderosa View Post
    Yes, and it's sticky because you can't complete all 3 pre-admission courses online in any of their programs, so you're going to have to pay for a visit right up front. It's a factor for sure (at least it was for me).
    Any downfalls I may be missing in considering signing up for the HES now, in time for Summer courses and sign up for 2 Online-Only courses to begin with and then move to Cambridge in time for Fall 2015 where I'll then most likely be taking the proseminar (unless, they're offered in summer?).

    ANOTHER QUESTION:

    1. Considering i'm just freshly starting this whole process, i'm wondering if there is any need to physical visit the Harvard campus, initially? Say for perhaps, english and/or math testing ((if required at all) I'm an english lang. native and w/ math I completed Stats, undergrad) The reason I ask is because I'll be in NYC in a few weeks and if I could bang out whatever little things I could at the Harvard campus then I wouldn't mind the drive upstate; of course all in preparation of my moving to Cambridge either for Fall or if absolutely needed, the summer.

    I'm thinking my next year will either look like one of the two following:

    A) Fall 15' - 3-4 courses (Proseminar)
    January 16' - 1 Course (Elective?)
    Spring 16' - 3-4 courses (Anthro's)
    Summer 16' - IF NEEDED

    *Say I'm 1 course shy of graduating, am I still allowed to walk in the grad ceremony come end Spring 2016?

    B) Summer 15' - 2 online anther elective courses OR Proseminar at Cambridge & 2nd elective
    Fall 15' - 3-4 courses (Anthro's)
    January 16' - 1 Course (Elective?)
    Spring 16' - 3-4 courses (Anthro's)
    Summer 16' - IF NEEDED


    Thank you everyone for the incredibly helpful guidance; i'm definitely going to make this a reality!

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  9. #8
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happydude26 View Post
    Any downfalls I may be missing in considering signing up for the HES now, in time for Summer courses...
    As someone who has spent more than a little time in the Boston/Cambridge area I highly recommend that you do whatever possible to secure housing in advance. There are epic problems with apartment hunting as it seems that half the known universe moves to the area every August and everything with four walls and a roof disappears from the housing market well in advance of the start of the Fall semester.
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  10. #9
    Happydude26 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    As someone who has spent more than a little time in the Boston/Cambridge area I highly recommend that you do whatever possible to secure housing in advance. There are epic problems with apartment hunting as it seems that half the known universe moves to the area every August and everything with four walls and a roof disappears from the housing market well in advance of the start of the Fall semester.
    A part of my current research in planning on moving out there is that I've found a place available come May to August with the then option of signing a full year lease. This is currently only available to me if I relocate to Cambridge by summer session. Otherwise I agree comes Fall semester and I love out there I'll be one of the thousands of other incoming students trying to swirl said housing.

    Unless someone suggests otherwise I'm annoying g on signing up for two online only anthro summer courses and come Fall I'll move to Cambridge and get my remaining classes sorted along with starting my thesis. But in complete honesty if love to be able to take those three courses required for admission into my anthro graduate program now starting this summer and get that degree ASAP.


    My plan is to call HES tomorrow and ask these questions too to whomever answers but in total honesty I've found the information that others post on forums like this to be much more valuable. I remember when I was trying to get into ucla, the college confidential forum had so much more relevant info than the people at my community college admissions office.

  11. #10
    truckie270 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happydude26 View Post
    Thank you for pointing out the differences in degrees. I’m happy with a concentration in Anthro; as you mention, when it comes time to apply towards a Ph.D it can only make prospective schools happy to see i’ve moved beyond just a Bachelors.



    I understand what you’re saying in that essentially my relationship w/ financial aid and Harvard will be either a student loan, or outta pocket.

    My big concern right now as of the time of this writing at end of March, is whether to begin my HES career w/ a proseminar (most likely in Fall i’d assume?) and go the 3 classes toward being able to sign up for a degree program…. OR…. sign up online for a Harvard account and be ready to sign up for 2 anther courses for the summer, online courses and pay outta pocket..



    I’ve read online how the thesis seems to hold up a lot of HES students from graduating. My goal here is to be able to walk come end of Spring 2016. <<<THIS IS LIKE THE MAIN THING.



    Seriously, this is such a great option and its something i'm still considering. I love the aspect of it being completely online, however I'm in a position where it would be best if I moved to the northeast and am able to do so.



    Any downfalls I may be missing in considering signing up for the HES now, in time for Summer courses and sign up for 2 Online-Only courses to begin with and then move to Cambridge in time for Fall 2015 where I'll then most likely be taking the proseminar (unless, they're offered in summer?).

    ANOTHER QUESTION:

    1. Considering i'm just freshly starting this whole process, i'm wondering if there is any need to physical visit the Harvard campus, initially? Say for perhaps, english and/or math testing ((if required at all) I'm an english lang. native and w/ math I completed Stats, undergrad) The reason I ask is because I'll be in NYC in a few weeks and if I could bang out whatever little things I could at the Harvard campus then I wouldn't mind the drive upstate; of course all in preparation of my moving to Cambridge either for Fall or if absolutely needed, the summer.

    I'm thinking my next year will either look like one of the two following:

    A) Fall 15' - 3-4 courses (Proseminar)
    January 16' - 1 Course (Elective?)
    Spring 16' - 3-4 courses (Anthro's)
    Summer 16' - IF NEEDED

    *Say I'm 1 course shy of graduating, am I still allowed to walk in the grad ceremony come end Spring 2016?

    B) Summer 15' - 2 online anther elective courses OR Proseminar at Cambridge & 2nd elective
    Fall 15' - 3-4 courses (Anthro's)
    January 16' - 1 Course (Elective?)
    Spring 16' - 3-4 courses (Anthro's)
    Summer 16' - IF NEEDED


    Thank you everyone for the incredibly helpful guidance; i'm definitely going to make this a reality!
    I am not trying to rain on your parade or anything, but..............

    I have not taken any courses at HES, but I have a colleague at work who has taken three classes in the last year and is applying to the ALM program this summer. My friend is very intelligent, has devoted a lot of time to his education , and has no wife or kids. He regularly spends 15 hours per week on each HES course and indicated to me as recently as last week how time consuming they are.

    You might want to take a class or two from them to get a feel for the workload before you set yourself up for disappointment with such an aggressive timeline.

    Good luck to you.
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  12. #11
    Happydude26 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by truckie270 View Post
    I am not trying to rain on your parade or anything, but..............

    I have not taken any courses at HES, but I have a colleague at work who has taken three classes in the last year and is applying to the ALM program this summer. My friend is very intelligent, has devoted a lot of time to his education , and has no wife or kids. He regularly spends 15 hours per week on each HES course and indicated to me as recently as last week how time consuming they are.

    You might want to take a class or two from them to get a feel for the workload before you set yourself up for disappointment with such an aggressive timeline.

    Good luck to you.
    Yeah no I completely agree. Realistically I'll tackle 2-3 and definitely start with 2.

  13. #12
    edowave is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happydude26 View Post
    A concern of mine would be if such a degree can later be used towards continuing my education; say if, I wanted to go for a Doctorate back at UCLA, or perhaps USC.
    What is the average salary of someone with a graduate degree in anthropology make? What's the job market like? How much more student loan debt will you incur paying tuition at HES and living in Cambridge?

    Before you run off to Boston, I highly highly highly recommend you sit down with the department chair, or graduate adviser in the anthropology department at UCLA, and USC and have a one on one conversation. Tell them you are interested in getting a masters and possibly a PhD in the field, and are considering HES.

    They might have much better options. You may get referrals to programs that in the anthropology world, are much more respected than HES, and will probably provide funding.

    You also mentioned you tried to get into UCLA for graduate school. If you meet with that chair, bring a copy of your application, and try to find out why you didn't get in. Get advice on what would make you a better candidate for their program, or another program in the future.
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  14. #13
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
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    I'm in HES ! But i'm doing an ALB. Or finishing it up rather. Doing the physical classes this summer (8 credits of language), and 8 credits in Fall + 8 more online.
    Don't quote me but I think there's a limit to how fast you can graduate from the ALM program. I think there's a 2 year minimum time required ?
    Also find a place in advance. It's hard ! I just just just just agreed for a 1 bedroom in Worcester. Will take the train into Cambridge.

    Good luck on your program !

  15. #14
    Kizmet is offline Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyvrem View Post
    I just just just just agreed for a 1 bedroom in Worcester. Will take the train into Cambridge.
    Let me know if you need any Wormtown recreational suggestions. If you need a study venue you should check out the library at UMass Medical School. It's big, open all hours, and very quiet, especially in the summer. Also, the Librarians are consistently helpful. And remember, it's pronounced Wistah.
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  17. #15
    cookderosa is offline Resident Chef
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    Your schedule and proposed sequence should be run past an advisor. If you ask, they are very helpful. You have to work in your thesis, which has a strict schedule, so be sure to ask about that in advance.

    While you can't complete your degree online, you can complete some classes that way, so if it were *me, I'd set it up so I was as efficient as possible. I'd align my campus requirements together (summer and Jan would be my first choice = short time paying high rent) and use my distance learning to the fullest. Using summer is smart. If you opt to not go this summer, you can do 2 distance learning classes to use later, and then back-fill with your residency requirements when you can.

    I won't question your degree choice, but I agree with the advice that anyone seeking a degree should consider return on investment and potential risk of not completing. The underlying assumption, of course, is that Harvard trumps all problems (time, money, unemployment), and it may.... but getting in isn't the problem- it's getting out. Everyone thinks they'll graduate with a degree. Everyone. Discuss this with your advisor when you ask about schedule.

    A random thing- book lists are crazy. You can check this ahead. My classes had 3, 6, even 12 required textbooks each. CHA-CHING. Plan for books to cost more than typical college.

    Finally, the classes I took were great. The classes were challenging but not impossible for someone who enjoys school.
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  18. #16
    nyvrem is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kizmet View Post
    Let me know if you need any Wormtown recreational suggestions. If you need a study venue you should check out the library at UMass Medical School. It's big, open all hours, and very quiet, especially in the summer. Also, the Librarians are consistently helpful. And remember, it's pronounced Wistah.
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