Harvard Extension School Alm Thesis Proposal

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harvard extension school thesis proposal

I’m 25 years old and graduated as an Electronic Engineer from a well known university in Canada and have been in the work force (software related – developing automation framework) for about 2 years now. I was recently accepted into a competetive masters program (i.e. Master in Software System ~ 2 year program) at University of British Columbia (among the top 30 post-secoundary institutions in the world) which I was contrasting with the ALM software engineering program at Harvard. In both cases, I plan on undertaking a full course load and being on campus – what would you advise someone such as myself? How should one compare a open program (i.e. ALM) against a competetive program at a well known University (UBC)? My aspiration is to become a senior software developer…

I finally settled on the ALM in IT program from Harvard’s Extension school

Harvard Online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering

I completed a master’s degree (ALM in IT) from Harvard with a concentration in software engineering last year. Most of my classes were taken online. I’ve written about what it was like getting an , but I wanted to write up something a bit more focused on programmers who are looking at possibly getting a master’s degree and would be interested hearing about Harvard’s online master’s degree programs.

Description: This course is designed to refine students' research skills and critical thinking ability while they work to develop their own specific research proposal for the required Master of Liberal Arts thesis in the fields of government, international relations, or history. The goal of the course is to produce a strong thesis proposal draft in a community with fellow degree candidates. Students learn how to pose research questions, read and understand the existing literature in their fields, find primary sources, and formulate academic arguments. There is a heavy emphasis on creating a connection with classmates in order to create a supportive community of scholars that may continue to meet after the course is over. The crafting of a thesis proposal does not need to be done in isolation. Supportive writing groups are common in all research fields, enabling students to rely on knowledgeable peers to read and critique their work, particularly with respect to clarity, tone, and the use of evidence. Students should not register for this course unless they are ready to engage in the entire thesis process. They should consider if this is the right time to start independent research, as the goal of the course is to move from crafting the thesis proposal to thesis registration with no extended breaks. Students should begin the thesis project during the next semester or two after completing this course.

Prerequisites: Students must be candidates in the Master of Liberal Arts, government, international relations, or history. They must have completed eight courses toward the degree, have completed their statistics requirement if they are candidates in government or international relations, be in good academic standing, and have the approval of the instructor. Students should submit a two- to three-page document by August 1 to Dr. Bond. The document should include a potential thesis topic, a list of research questions, some background information about the research topic (including three references), and the rationale for the proposed research (why the questions are worth asking). When considering a topic it is important to be mindful that students need to work with a thesis director, typically a Harvard faculty member, who has expertise in the area and not all topics of interest can be supported. See the Guide to the ALM Thesis. Students who do not meet these requirements are dropped from the course.

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Admission to the Harvard Extension school is simple and very different from the normal competitive college admissions process. You take three classes toward the degree and then apply for admission. As far as I’m aware, the successful completion of the three courses with B or better is the main criteria for admission. There isn’t a panel of people looking over your application and rejecting this person because they didn’t have enough extra-curricular activities. You must be proficient in English, have a bachelor’s degree and enough of a background in what you are wanting to study to have a reasonable chance of success. It appears that your ability to pass three courses with a B is probably going to demonstrate most of those skills.

harvard extension school alm thesis

This is an interesting approach because it is very much based on your ability to actually do the course work. The Extension School can do this because their online classes allow them to scale to a much larger number of students than what you’d experience in the other Harvard schools.

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To be clear, Harvard doesn’t offer any degrees that are completely done online. Even the degrees where the majority of the classes can be taken online have a residency requirement. For the ALM in IT program, I had to be on campus for one semester. Fortunately the summer 8 week semester counts toward the requirement so that is what I did. It is a lot easier to work out an 8 week leave of absence or telecommute arrangement with your employer than it is to try to take off for an entire semester.