Attending Harvard Extension has become a huge joke?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by bennylinus, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. mark74

    mark74 New Member

    I thought you were the guy switching to the Stony Brook program. That is a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies through a School of Professional Development. That seems inconsistent with this post.
  2. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    I work at the University and am aware of some Harvard College student's perceptions of HES. Of course I'd be pissed to if someone was sitting in the same class as me, paying 1/4 the tuition I was, and making a better grade to boot. It happens, I've seen it, and Harvard College students get butt hurt about it. I don't think anyone is arguing that HES is as prestigious as Harvard College, I'm certainly not, but HKS isn't as prestigious as HBS and I'd still take a degree from the Kennedy School. you finish a program at HES and you're a Harvard grad with all the same rights as a graduate from any of the other programs. I'm now in a program at the Graduate School of Education so I don't have a dog in this fight, but I think you're wrong. I'll say this, the courses I took at HES were more time consuming and challenge than anything I've taken in my Ed.M program at Harvard.
  3. bennylinus

    bennylinus New Member

    I've actually scrapped the entire idea of getting an M.L.A. or M.A.L.S.

    I was accepted to an M.A. program through U of I last fall and I've decided to go that route instead. Again, I don't have a problem with liberal arts programs or the HES, but I also know HES isn't up to par with degrees from Harvard College.
  4. ITJD

    ITJD Active Member

    Ben -

    This whole HES stuff is really simple.

    1. Students at HES are being taught by the same profs as those at the College. There are adjuncts that don't teach at the college, but if you're smart as a student of HES, you avoid those classes unless you're really interested in the specialty topic.

    2. HES is a school at Harvard University. You're a full alum of the University if you get a degree from HES. You don't get all the benefits you'd get as an alum of HBS, but the Harvard College kids don't get those either.

    3. Students graduating from HES are and have reliably been getting into Harvard's doctoral programs, Penn State's doctoral programs, Stanford's, etc. Granted that's a relatively small sample of the whole, but if those people are able to get in to those programs, there's obviously no stigma to HES at the grad level.

    Nuff said. Please feel free to counter the above if able. The whole political stance of College students disliking HES and the have/have not argument is silly and irrelevant.
  5. mark74

    mark74 New Member

    That makes sense. I agree that the reputation of HES is not as good as other colleges, but I think any association to Harvard is pretty positive. I really dislike the names of the degrees though.
  6. bennylinus

    bennylinus New Member

    Again, I see nothing wrong with HES. I know it's an actual degree from Harvard. However, the perception of HES is often negative. I have no doubt that one can find great utility with a degree from HES.

    A Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies just sounds ridiculous.
  7. mark74

    mark74 New Member

    I don't think anyone can argue this point, even at degreeinfo! :)
  8. bennylinus

    bennylinus New Member

    Although I do think an M.A. in Liberal Studies sounds better. I think it's the whole "in extension studies" that sounds weird.
  9. Balios

    Balios New Member

    If that's your point then I completely agree, but that's pretty far from where you started. You said that "attending Harvard Extension has become a huge joke," that anyone can pay for an e-certificate from Cornell, Notre Dame, Stanford and Berkeley and that "it really seems like [a degree from HES is] becoming a laughing stalk [sic] akin to the University of Phoenix." While I can't speak to Cornell, Stanford, the University of Phoenix et al, I can tell you that you're out of line about Harvard Extension, at least in the undergraduate program where I have some experience.

    It's obviously true that HES performs a different function and serves a different population than the other schools at Harvard. It enrolls over 14,000 students a year, thousands of whom are Harvard staff members like AUTiger, 23% of whom have at least one graduate degree and most of whom are casual or life-time learners. Through HES, anyone who's interested can study under some of the best professors in the world, and a lot of people take advantage of that opportunity. As you’d expect, HES's open enrollment policy attracts a fair number of eccentrics, odd-balls and academically curious but ultimately unqualified students. A lot of people, I'm sure, also sign up for a class simply so they can say they "studied at Harvard" (though, in my experience, a comically large number of those people withdraw after they get back their first graded assignment).

    The number of students in HES's undergraduate degree program, on the other hand, is tiny. In 2009 there were 526 undergrad degree candidates (those who had taken the requisite courses, met the qualifications and been admitted to the program) and 115 ALB degrees conferred. Though these numbers are small, the people who make it through the program are real Harvard graduates. They go through commencement exercises with all other students in Harvard. They're members of the Harvard Alumni Association. They can join the Harvard Club of Boston (or any other city).

    Once they're admitted, degree candidates have full Harvard University IDs, with access to Harvard libraries, museums etc. Like all Harvard students, they're members of the Harvard Faculty Club and have reciprocal privileges at, among other places, the Oxford and Cambridge University Club. With a good GPA and LORs, degree candidates can qualify for Special Student status, which allows them to take two courses a term in Harvard's "regular" programs (Harvard College, GSAS etc.)

    The majority of HES courses are taught by Harvard professors and some (30 in 2010-2011) are taught jointly at Harvard College and HES. In those courses HES students watch lectures online rather than in person, but otherwise have the same professor, materials, lectures, coursework and grading standards as their HC counterparts.

    In my experience, students in the degree programs at HES are almost all extremely bright, diligent and motivated, choosing to pursue a degree in the Extension School precisely because it's the most academically rigorous and intellectually demanding route available to them. Those few students who graduate after years of effort, often juggling family responsibilities and demanding careers along the way, are not a joke. They deserve all our respect and admiration. They’re as far from laughingstock as you can possibly get.
  10. Jacob Perry

    Jacob Perry New Member

    This is quite honestly the best post I've ever read on this site.
  11. Chebasaz

    Chebasaz New Member

    :iagree: Indeed, very well said.
  12. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    Exuses, excuses... You've lost the argusment. Period.
  13. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    bennylinus was banned yesterday for a month for having troll-like tendencies.

  14. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    Thumbs-up! :)
  15. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member


    Balios- only your 7th post here and you have already made DegreeInfo history. How do you plan on toping yourself?
  16. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    BAlios- nice job
  17. Balios

    Balios New Member

    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the warm welcome.
  18. vincee101

    vincee101 New Member

    Well said, very well said.
  19. dlalum

    dlalum New Member

    I have to admit that I certainly thought the extension program was just an easy way to get Harvard on your resume. I'm glad that there are threads like this that really explain what Harvard extension is and is not.
  20. AUTiger00

    AUTiger00 New Member

    It definitely is not easy. There are programs in several of the other schools that are far easier to complete but whose barriers to entry are much higher. If anyone is simply looking to get Harvard on their resume, I have been told by several people that the journalism track is the easiest complete (this obviously assumes you're a somewhat proficient writer).

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