A Comprehensive Review on Harvard Online Courses

harvard online courses

When we mention colleges and universities there’s one that always comes to our mind as the best – Harvard. Various sources rank all the universities differently but Harvard always seems to find its way on the top of the list. For instance, when we type in “Top Universities in the World” into the internet the first result that pops up is always Harvard. So in one way or another, we all agree that Harvard University is one of the top universities in the world.

In this article, we will be discussing: What is Harvard Online Courses, The various offerings of Harvard Online Courses – HarvardX (Harvard Free Online Courses), Harvard Online Medical School (HMX: Free Certification) & Harvard Business School Online (HBX), A detailed Review on Harvard Online Learning Program and How to make the most use of Harvard Online Learning Platforms.

The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston – Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000-degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world.

Harvard Mission Statement: Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. 

At Harvard School, they have a unique approach to online learning.

The best feature of the Harvard School online courses is that it brings on-campus experience to life in a digital environment. 

Each course is developed by leading faculty and features immersive case studies, interactive teaching tools, and a supportive peer learning community. The courses are thoughtfully designed to be flexible, yet structured to help you gain the knowledge you need in the time you have.

Central to each online program is the case method, a discussion-based learning model pioneered by Harvard School that puts learners in the shoes of decision-makers and has them tackle real-world business problems. These decision-makers are called protagonists and come from companies both large and small across a wide range of industries and geographies.

At the beginning of each case, a faculty member sets the stage through a short video. The case protagonist then discusses a business challenge they faced and you are asked to make decisions based on the facts provided. Here you gain new perspectives and refine your critical thinking skills.

The second pillar of their programs is social learning.

When you step into a Harvard School classroom, you are expected to engage. The diversity of perspectives enriches the discussion and is central to the learning process. In online courses, the same principle applies. It’s typical to see learners from up to 50 different countries in any given course.

Let’s explore a few of the ways you might engage with others in the program.

When you are not quite grasping a concept, this is where you go to pose a question or to help others who may need a little extra support. Star or comment on others’ responses. Instantly give recognition for an insightful comment or start a conversation. Chat one on one with another learner in your program. Now one of the ways you could connect or interact with your peers is through Profile search:

Find people with similar interests or professional backgrounds. It’s what they call active learning. The more engaged you are, the more you learn, which is why they follow a three to five-minute rule for each program. Meaning roughly every three to five minutes, you’re asked to engage with the material. That might mean watching a short faculty video, or completing a poll, or hearing from a case protagonist and then responding to a group discussion call.

Harvard Online Courses has a lot in common with platforms like EdX, Coursera, Udacity, LinkedIn Learning. Yet, there are major differences which make it stand out.

  1. Online certification from one of the Top Universities in the world. While it’s not a degree, professional certificates can have more weight and be noticeable on your resume as they show your commitment to making it through a rigorous program.
  2. There are no deadlines. You can select the course according to your suitability, your duration, or whatever time you are comfortable with. 
  3. You will also be able to access these courses from any part of the world or any device and also there is no age restriction for these courses.
  4. After completion of the course, you will get a digital certificate from Harvard which is a big thing. It can help with getting a new job or promotion.

Let’s Dive Deep into Harvard Online Courses


When it comes to art and literature, Harvard is the place that you have to look into. Harvard University has this initiative called HarvardX. It’s just an online learning initiative that they have partnered with Edx and they provide online learning opportunities for students. Harvard and MIT together have formed Edx so it is like their baby.

(Check out our review on edX)

Harvard + Mit = edX

The HarvardX online learning initiative has so many different courses from so many different fields. They also offer courses that have flexible periods from a range of a couple of weeks to a couple of months. 

HarvardX (Free Courses)

Note: Taking into consideration the current COVID 19 pandemic situation, HarvardX has offered Free Courses for students all over the world. Out of the 200 courses, 67 courses are made available for free for anyone around the world. Thus you can pretty much just make an account and enroll in these courses and start learning.

The only drawback of this offer of free courses is you don’t receive a certificate on completion and will be unable to access the assessments that are associated with the course unless you pay a nominal fee. The fee isn’t that huge if you’re not interested in getting a certificate i.e you just want to learn the particular topic then you can go ahead and do the course at least you can learn from some of the best professors around the world, right?

How to Enroll:

  • Go to the official website of Harvard University online courses then you have to click on view all courses.
  • After clicking on view all courses this kind of page will appear from where you can filter out the courses according to your price, needs, difficulty, duration, and subject area.
harvard free online courses
  • If you click on the price a drop-down will appear which says free courses and paid courses. From this drop-down, you can choose if you want to do a free course or a paid course.
  • If you want a free course then this will give a list of all the courses which you can do free of cost from Harvard University.
  • Then you can click on the subject area and select your field or your area of interest. For example, if you click on computer science then it will give you a link, a list of all those courses in computer science.
  • You can also select your difficulty level and your duration. The duration period varies from 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and up to 12 weeks.
  • To apply for the course, first, you have to select your desired, then you have to click on take course which will take you to edX (Online Learning Platform), and then you have to click on enroll.
  • Now on this page, you have to create a free account. You have to enter some of your credentials. While entering your full name keep in mind that the name you enter here will appear on your digital certificates so be careful while typing your full name. 
harvard online courses

So this is how you have to apply for this online course.

Note: The only downside of these free courses is that you won’t receive a certificate on completion and will be unable to access the assessments that are associated with the course unless you pay a nominal fee.

Harvard Medical School (HMX)

harvard medical school
Click on the image to visit the site!

For more than 200 years, Harvard Medical School (HMX) has been the most prestigious and trusted source of medical education in the world. The HMS name is synonymous with best-in-class learning, clinical excellence, and innovative biomedical research—an assurance that the knowledge imparted creates a transformational impact. They offer postgraduate medical education for physicians, researchers, and other health care providers.

Today, HMS’s Office for External Education provides broad access to HMS’s peerless and constantly evolving body of medical knowledge. Created by the School’s almost 12,000-member faculty and comprising firsthand expert clinical insights based on breakthrough research and best practices, this valuable information is now available to business and science leaders, pre-health career learners, clinicians, and individuals seeking to increase their working knowledge of health care.

Postgraduate Medical Education is part of The Office for External Education at Harvard Medical School.

Offerings include:

  • Master’s degree and yearlong certificate programs on topics including clinical research; patient safety and quality; leadership; and medical education
  • Open enrollment programs on focused subjects like pediatric leadership, cancer, and surgery
  • Custom programs designed and delivered for hospitals and health systems; regions; and organizations training clinicians and clinician-scientists 
  • An extensive, best-in-class catalog of continuing medical education (CME) activities to help you meet licensure requirements
  • An innovative CME Online digital hub with CME and CE courses for doctors, researchers, and other health care professionals
  • Blog articles, videos, and other timely thought leadership content

 HMX (Free Certification Courses)

Note: Presently, Harvard Medical School is offering Free Online Courses during this pandemic for learners to learn. You can take these courses and learn them for free and if you pass the test with 75 marks you will be able to get the certificate for free. 

How to Enroll:

  • First, you need to click on the link here and this kind of page will appear with a list of webinars.
  • It says the June webinars and May webinars, these are the available courses in the form of webinars. All of these webinars are two to three hours long so you can take these webinars as courses.
harvard free online courses
  • Now for example, if you click on any of the webinars it will take you to the video which you need to watch. It is around two to three hours long webinars.
  • The teachers who are teaching you in these videos are the staff and professors of Harvard medical school which means you will be learning directly from the staff of Harvard medical school.
  • If you scroll down you can read about the course details, the details of the instructor, the release date of the course, and much more information. 
  • After watching the video and understanding it, a part of your course will be completed. Then you just need to click on claim credits.
  • You will be taken to a page where you need to fill in some of your credentials such as Name & Email Id.
harvard university online courses
  • When you click on submit, this page will appear. Here you can see that this bar is showing your progress through the course.
  • Over here you need to enter the name which you want to be on the certificate. You need to enter your real full name then you will check this box and click on next.
  • This is the course review form which you need to fill out. If you go down the page you will see two options: you can either get the certificate which is for physicians or you can get the certificate which is for professionals, learners or students.
  • After choosing the type of certificate you will click on next.
  • Now comes the final test, these are the multiple-choice questions that you need to do correctly to get the certificate.
  • If you get 75 marks overall then you will get the certificate. In each course, you will be asked for multiple-choice questions like these as a test.
  • Once you complete the test and get at least an overall score of 75 percent, click on finish. The certificate will be sent to you via email.

Thus getting a certificate in these courses is really easy and these certificates are verified by Harvard University. They have offered these courses for free for you, so you can take these courses during this pandemic and make the most of your time useful and productive. 

Harvard Business School (HBX)

Harvard Business School’s Online CORe Program (HBX):

HBX is short for Harvard Business School. Harvard Business School also has its own online learning platform which belongs to Harvard Extension School. This branch of Harvard produces an online study platform where students can take different kinds of courses mainly business courses and one of their major programs is the CORe program. 

Note: The CORe is not a typo error here, it stands for Credential of Readiness.

WHAT is CORe Program?

The online Credential of Readiness (CORe) program will prepare you to contribute to business discussions and decision-making, whether you’re looking to advance your career, considering graduate school, or exploring new career paths. 

CORe consists of three courses—Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting —and a final exam. Immerse yourself in real challenges faced by seasoned leaders across a variety of industries, develop business intuition through interactive learning exercises, and join a global community of peers. As in the business world, you’ll be evaluated on the quality and timeliness of your work and your contributions to the learning community.

Once you decide to enroll in this online program offered by Harvard you are committed to a three-month journey. Once you decide to enroll the time is very restricted. The time is not flexible. You have to start their online semester according to their schedule and will have to finish it at a specific time as well. Throughout the semester you will have deadlines every single week and these are to be taken very seriously.

This program in general opinion is very valuable in terms of the knowledge that it teaches you and the way of thinking that it instills on you. The learning you get from this program is in-depth and well explained. If you are going for the sheer purpose of learning knowledge this is an excellent program because it does teach you a lot of valuable knowledge and these online videos are made by Harvard professors who are experienced and they are very good in explaining the concepts and everything. The contents of this program are designed for people who either have zero business background or have a little bit of background.

  At the end of the program, you’re supposed to appear in one of their exam centers and take one test that encompasses the three courses in a three-hour scope. Only when you pass that test you will be able to pass the program and get that credential of readiness certificate offered by Harvard Business School. This exam is not nearly half as difficult as you imagine it to be. You will have to prepare well in advance just like any other test. Once you pass the exam you don’t have to pay extra money for the Certificate.

Note: If you’re going to study this program to complete a quick program to get a certificate then this is not worth it because this requires a lot of time and commitment. The certificate you earn is valuable because these are offered by Harvard which is a very prestigious school in terms of its recognition.

You can visit the HBX official websites to check out the price of these courses or Click Here.

Now the question in your mind might be – Can I Learn the Same Things for Free? Yes. All of the topics covered are in open access and can be found here:

  1. Business Analytics
  2. Economics for Managers
  3. Financial Accounting

Moreover, these resources on Khan Academy perfectly supplement most of the materials.

  1. Core Finance
  2. Microeconomics
  3. Macroeconomics

Now when coming to the downside of the courses. Yes, there are some technical difficulties that you may face during the program because whenever you take an online course the high G maintenance of the platform is very important. Once you encounter one technical difficulty like if there’s something wrong with the website you just can’t refresh it or if there is a technical error like you just can’t fill in their Excel or if you just cannot fill in their word document embed it on the web site then you’re in trouble. You can’t proceed and then you have to email them back and forth to get it fixed


Since the quarantine period is going on and you all might be wondering or looking forward to spending this time productively. This is the best time to do an online course which is worth it and which will improve your skills as well as your profile and for that purpose Harvard University, online courses are the best one out there.

Overall our Experts recommend this certificate because the content is very informative. It teaches you a lot of important knowledge about accounting and statistics and its well explained because this knowledge is displayed in the video format. You can keep playing them till you understand the concept.

To get a more comprehensive review of Harvard Online Courses Click here.

At Career Online Courses we’re constantly working on new features. If you have an idea for how to make our blogs more effective or if we have missed out on any additional info, please let us know in our comments section below. Your feedback is valuable to us.

Also Checkout our Article on The 5 BEST ONLINE LEARNING PLATFORMS

3 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Review on Harvard Online Courses”

  1. In regards to HBX CORe courses exam, it’s mentioned that one has to take the exams at the exam center, so are there exam centers in different countries or is it an online exam?

    1. Yes, Richu. The CORe final examination is a three-hour, multiple-choice, closed book, a computer-based assessment that has been created by HBS faculty and is administered by Pearson VUE. Presently due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, HBS Online has enabled virtual delivery of the CORe final exam for participants. Pearson VUE does not deliver on VUE virtual exams in the following countries: China, Japan, Slovenia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Participants who are unable to complete virtual testing due to location or other circumstances will be contacted by HBS Online at the conclusion of the exam window. For more info on the rules & regulations of the exam as well as the dates for the same Please visit – https://online.hbs.edu/courses/core/final-exam/

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