Harvard Extension School?

Has anyone hear good or bad things about the Diploma in Pre-Medical Studies at the Harvard Extension School?

I will be doing an AmeriCorps service in Boston next year, and I was looking at Harvard’s website; the classes are cheap ($1,100.00 per course; $8,800 to finish all of your premed requirements).

Any thoughts?

My thought is that $1100 per course is not cheap.

  • spoxjox Said:
My thought is that $1100 per course is not cheap.

Au contraire my friend, $1100.00 at a private school is quite cheap. I pay just as much, if not more, at my State U and that's resident rates!

At the University of Washington, the best public university in the Pacific Northwest (and not nearly as inexpensive as a community or state college), you can pay tuition for three full-time quarters for $7800. This amount includes full tuition and fees for up to 54 credits during that time period, averaging out to less than $150 per quarter-credit.

The Harvard program mentioned has the Harvard name, but is in fact basically open to anyone who ponies up the dough, making it more like the public-school arm of a private school. It offers eight four-credit classes (32 credits, which I assume are quarter-based) for $8800. This is $275 per quarter-credit, almost double the UWash rate, and probably double or triple what you’d pay at a community college (for example, it’s more than triple the per-credit rate at Bellevue College).

I’m not saying it’s a terrible deal – it is not – but it certainly does not strike me as “cheap” except to those for whom money is no object anyway.

Harvard Extension is a well-regarded postbacc program. It is considered on par with USC, Columbia, and other non-linkage based formal postbaccs at top schools. It is also much cheaper than most formal postbacc programs, which typically run in the range of 40K, unless you live in Seattle, I guess . Here is a link to some helpful info on postbacc programs at that other site, I hope thats okay??? http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=1…

  • spoxjox Said:
...to less than $150 per quarter-credit

Maybe it's the quarter system that makes it cheaper. We're on a semester system and the U of MN undergraduate rate - $350.76 per credit for residents and $798.07 for non-residents.

I’m a long-time lurker but thought I’d register to offer a few thoughts here. I am halfway through my second semester of the HES program. So far I have found it to be great.

People outside the program often get a little sensitive about HES. You will find plenty of people eager to point out the ways in which it is not Harvard. And its certainly not. But most of the time no one has claimed that it is. Its kind of like having someone come over and tell you your beer is fake wine.

While admission is open, admission to the diploma program isn’t (though its close to it) and then you have another layer of screening before the premed committee will sponsor you (which is about a 50% cut). So not everyone who can pay gets through, though it is not super exclusive either. But one key is that the core courses are taught by actual Harvard professors. So far I have found them to be great. It makes the experience enjoyable, and it makes learning the material easier.

As far as infrastructure/support, its probably somewhere in between a formal post-bacc and do-it-yourself IF you are in the diploma program. If you are just taking the classes at HES, it is do-it-yourself. But for some of us, that’s fine. I think for the level of guidance you get, and the faculty you gain access to, the price is very attractive.

It would also be worth it if you can also get a committee letter from them. Many of the post-bac programs do that, I know Columbia does.

For some reason, that seems important to me. Having a committee letter carries a lot of weight (and I don’t think I would have received interview invites with out one,) especially if you are not a 40+MCAT and a 3.9 cGPA!


Being at Columbia, I do have to say that the learning environment at a top tier school is nothing to dismiss. Now, I understand the contrary point of view. I am a firm believer in public education, and put myself through a couple of public degrees before getting to this point. I always thought they were essentially all the same. But the best schools do enable you to study with other highly advanced students, at a school with amazing faculty and lots of resources.

If you think that will enable you to learn and perform well, then you should consider it. I am that kind of person, and so here I am. No regrets so far, despite the hefty price tag. Only one word of caution - make sure you take enough time in your life to study!!

Based on a very cursory look at the UC Berkeley Extension p/b program, it would appear that it costs ~$270/unit. (Most classes are 3 units, I believe.) $810/class. 24 semester units required to complete the program. FWIW