UC Questions Wording of Extension Degrees


Members of the Undergraduate Council (UC) questioned Dean of the Extension School Michael Shinagel’s proposal to make the wording of Extension School degrees more similar to Harvard College degrees at a Committee on Undergraduate Education meeting on Friday.

The Faculty Council discussed the proposal on April 26, and many of its members also had concerns.

The Extension School’s degree currently reads “in extension studies,” instead of listing a specific field, as Shinagel proposed.

“We, like the Faculty Council, are sympathetic to the Extension School’s desire to have a degree with nomenclature that is sensible,” said UC Student Affairs Committee Chair Ryan A. Petersen ’08.

But Petersen said he had reservations about the similarity of the proposed degree to a Harvard College degree. “It’s important to us that we preserve the integrity of a Harvard College degree, and it means that you’ve been taught by Harvard College professors with the Harvard College curriculum,” he said.

Students can earn an Extension School degree without ever being taught by Harvard College professors.*[CORRECTION APPENDED.] 

The UC has not made specific suggestions about how the Extension School can change the wording of their degrees.

“We’re open to listening to any other proposal that they come up with,” Petersen said.

—Staff writer Alex McLeese can be reached at amcleese@fas.harvard.edu.


According to Dean of Continuing Education and University Extension Michael Shinagel, "to the best of the knowledge of our Extension undergraduate degree program staff, no one has earned an Extension School degree without having been taught by a Harvard College professor as well as Harvard instructors among their 52 credits." A May 8 news article had stated that students could earn an Extension School degree without being taught by a Harvard professor.

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