HES students appeal to have "Extension Studies" removed from degree title.

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Maniac Craniac, Jun 25, 2021.

  1. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

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  3. nyvrem

    nyvrem Active Member

    hasn't this been going on forever.

    i think the only continuing/adult school that names it's degree's like those who take the full time programs is Columba's GS program and Upenn's LPS ?
  4. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    It’s dumb, the ALM name instead of MA, MS, or MBA is already enough to distinguish it as not the regular Harvard degree, but let’s make it even clearer that they got a degree from the school for the “unwashed” by technically making it a degree in “extension studies”

    It’s like the “affordable housing” in fancy high rises, where the powers behind the building keep those in the affordable section from ever being able to forget they are really not wanted. That’s what Harvard does with HES. Which is a shame, because the idea of HES is so wonderful, that open opportunity to come, even if you have baggage in your academic history, prove you can do the work and leave with a degree from a world recognized institution.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I feel it is the problem with HES education that schools within Harvard University do not even accept HES credit transfers. Even the "Extension Studies" in the degree diploma even worst. As far as ALB and ALM are okay, but I agree that it is better to put them in the proper format associating with the programs. For example, a Master of Liberal Arts in Accounting; is a Science degree, not an Arts degree.

    My degree from Georgetown University, Master of Professional Studies...not really happy about it; however, the degree diploma is in Latin, so nobody knows...
  6. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Harvard degrees never list the concentration earned on the parchment. That's fine. They also always indicate which school (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard College, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) awarded the degree. What doesn't make sense is why they insist on listing "Extension Studies" instead of the concentration, since that is different than other schools.
  7. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    While I understand the Harvard Extension students' complaints, I think they should have thought about these issues BEFORE they pursued their HES degrees. It's not like Harvard was hiding the fact you get a degree in Extension Studies. Students knew what they were getting into. It's not like Harvard forced them to enrol or did a bait and switch.

    The solution is simple --- if you don't want a degree in Extension studies, then don't go to the Extension school (apply to another Harvard school or any of the hundreds of good universities available in the US).

    Frankly, while I agree there is a real issue with the degree names, I think the students' complaints are more about improving their ego / vanity than anything else.

    I believe the Extension school was originally set up to "extend" Harvard's educational opportunities to a wider audience but NOT to extend Harvard's prestige. Educational quality and prestige are two different things and Extension has always focused on promoting the educational quality aspect (and not the prestige) of Harvard.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  8. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

  9. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I'm sure ego plays a role in the issue for many of the students complaining. But the complaints about how it's viewed in the job market are valid and may alone be strong enough of a case for making the change if for no other reason than to keep the Harvard name out of what can become an even bigger controversy at some point down the road.

    And although I agree halfway with your take on them needing to have an internal locus of control, we may be assuming that everyone (or most) really paid attention to this prior to enrollment, while in reality we know it's common for people not to be analytical with these things, a big reason we get people coming in here all the time asking for answers to questions that they could find for themselves if they gave just minimal effort. Granted, that doesn't change the point, but if enough people are doing that it becomes a PR problem for the school, then it needs to be considered.
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  10. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    This cases a flag for a lot of universities. Let's look at Cornell or NYU for example they offer Masters in Professional Studies which is similar to Harvard Extension School Masters in Extention Studies.... I get why people are complaining because the name for the degree sounds weird but let's face it if you want a degree from Harvard University, apply for the actual school rather than the extension school. People want to look flashy with a degree from Harvard but they went to the Extension School. I am not trying to knock down anyone that gets a degree from there as they use Harvard Professors from different areas of the actual Harvard education system and they are some of the best in the country. If you apply for actual Havard University in any of their programs we know it is super competitive to get in and I feel the work would be more difficult as professors will be more strict to uphold the prestige of the school and earning an actual degree from Havard University.
  11. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    I love Latin Diplomas, my ex-girlfriend got her bachelors from Fordham University and her diploma was in Latin. They gave it to her at graduation and she almost threw it away thinking they just gave her a Spanish paper saying to pick up her diploma. Lucky I looked at it and read it.
    Rachel83az likes this.
  12. Courcelles

    Courcelles Active Member

    But they give an MPS in Subject, not a Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies. No one should be complaining about the ALM instead of a more normal degree title, there’s gracious plenty MLAs or MPSs out there. The problem is the “in Extension Studies” part…

    If they awarded an ALM in Subject this would be a nonissue, and the degree being an ALM would be enough to tell everyone who cared it came from the Extension School.
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  13. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    Yes, I see the problem but again if you want a degree with the actual degree name on the diploma, the person has the choice to attend another school or apply for the actual Havard University... They have a Harvard Business School if you want to study management or business. They have been giving out diplomas like that for years. If we look at some colleges yes they just offer a simple master's in liberal arts, you can pick a concentration like political science or English but they will not include the subject matter in the diploma. It applies the same for HES, they put in Extension Studies to identify the degree was gained through an extension studies program which I think it is fair of them to do being that they hold a very prestigious name they do not want people or possible employers to confuse it with an actual harvard degree. The Harvard Diploma actually states Harvard University on it but under the signatures of the dean, it shows extension school in small letters.
    Here is a sample..
  14. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is what students want. The ability to list "Master of Liberal Arts in Concentration, Harvard University" which is accurate, given that Harvard GSAS recommends students list their degree as "Master of Arts in Concentration, Harvard University" but HES is not willing to let them do that.
  15. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Right there is the problem. Harvard Extension School is "actual" Harvard University. They are a constituent college of Harvard University alongside Harvard College, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard School of Law, and Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. (And the rest: Medicine, Business, etc.)
    Rachel83az likes this.
  16. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    It's an extension school. Is it a part of the Harvard System yes but it's an extension program so the Prestige of the degree is not held as high as any degree from those other schools within the University System. Not trying to be a pain but I get why it was done at the end of the day. The degree is accredited still people are crying because they have to have the word extension studies included because they attended an extension school? Makes no sense it would not affect getting a job, if an employer ever questions the degree just order the transcripts. Most of the time when you interview for a position they are going based on experience rather than the actual degree, the degree is just a part of the requirements.
  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I don't even think the title Extension School is accurate for a degree-granting institution these days. Most extension schools that I see online now are offering non-credit professional development or CE credits for licensure, not university credit towards a degree.

    Thinking that a degree earned from a non-traditional program (even though you must take several courses on-site with other Harvard College students) is automatically less prestigious was wrong in the 90s and it's not true decades later. Only 0.2% of the 500,000 students to take courses through HES earn a degree.
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  18. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Well-Known Member

    If they fixed their admission criteria for the extension school it would be considered more prestigious also graduation rates would be higher as the students they allow to enroll are more capable of handling the work. Is the work rigorous? I am sure it is but at the end of the day, it's an extension program from the actual Harvard University. If they wish to include it in the diploma they can there is no legal issue there. Does it look weird? Yes, but it still states you got a Liberal Arts degree which is fair enough. They want to show that it's from an extension program so the studies are in extension studies in a concentration. The credits are not counted the same in Havard University they are considered bachelors or masters credits from the extension studies program. I have not taken classes but I can assume the course work is not as difficult as Harvard University (again we would only know if you attended both schools). I know a few friends that went to Havard and they told me they were ready to pull their hair out. It shows a big red flag when Harvard University does not accept Extension credits toward their own degrees even tho they are accredited under the same accrediting body.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Accounting is neither an art nor a science, and science is a liberal art. It's not uncommon to see science majors in MA and BA programs. Master of Art and Master of Science have become generic degree titles with no real meaning, but I will say that accounting is a weird concentration to have within a Master of Liberal Arts program. Since accounting is an applied subject, I think an MAcc is the most appropriate title.
  20. smartdegree

    smartdegree Active Member

    Harvard Extension awarded 1,049 masters degrees in 2020, the most of ANY Harvard school. In fact, they had more masters graduates than the COMBINED masters graduates of the Graduate School of Arts/Sciences, Kennedy School and Engineering schools.


    Let that sink in for a second. That means, you are far more likely to meet someone who is a Harvard Extension masters graduate than one who graduated from the Kennedy school.

    Now imagine how many more would enrol if Extension was changed to "Professional Studies". I will not be shocked if more than half the population of Harvard will be Professional Studies students.

    If you were a Harvard alumnus/ae, would you be fine with that? I think Harvard has already been very very gracious granting those degrees at those prices regardless of the weird name. I feel no other Ivy League would risk that type of brand dilution, but Harvard can do it because it is Harvard. Those "loud" students complaints / bad press might backfire on them and HES might instead just scale down operations, a shame really.
    Futuredegree likes this.

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