The bachelor of liberal arts -- or ALB degree -- is only offered through the Harvard Extension School in an open-enrollment program. That means that even students who didn't have the credentials to be accepted into the undergraduate school can now attend Harvard, which is regularly ranked as the number one university in the country. Students can earn a quality degree in liberal arts studies while also taking pride in having "Harvard" in a line on their resume.


The extension program at Harvard is open-enrollment, but students must still meet admissions criteria. Students are eligible to enroll in the ALB program if they have not completed a bachelor's degree already. Before applying, students must complete three courses in the extension program -- one in expository writing and two electives and earn a cumulative 3.0 GPA and a grade of B or higher in each of those classes. This requirement ensures that students have the ability to do the work required and help students learn whether the program is a good fit for them. Admissions also requires that students be in good financial standing with any schools attended, be able to demonstrate English proficiency, and not be pursuing a degree at another school.


Because the ALB is a liberal arts degree, coursework covers a broad number of topics, including the humanities, sciences, social sciences, writing, reasoning and language study. Coursework is offered both online and in person. Courses are offered in the evenings, as well as in the summers and during a special January session -- in addition to regular fall and spring semesters. The program requires completion of 128 credits, but because the program can be completed part-time or full-time and offers so much flexibility in when courses can be taken, there is no time limit for completing the degree.

Other Options

Students who are enrolled in the extension program have a number of options to enhance their educational experience. Paid internships are available at local schools with which Harvard has a partnership. The Harvard Summer School offers a study abroad program that provides 8 credits. Students who want to grow their academic opportunities can apply to do an independent research project or to take classes as a special student in Harvard College, which is the name of the undergraduate school within Harvard University.

Career Options

Students who graduate with a general liberal arts degree such as the ALB have a number of career opportunities. The degree provides a strong written and oral foundation, which can be used in careers such as writing, teaching, business, and research. Many students who complete a liberal arts degree may decide to go on to get a professional degree or a more specific degree with a specialization. However, the ALB itself can be enough to win an entry-level position that can lead to a variety of career options.

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