Program Policies - HBS Online (2023)

Credential of Readiness (CORe)

Students who complete and pass all three courses—Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting—will earn the Credential of Readiness.

CORe grades are provided at both the individual course level and the program level.

Program Grades

Your mastery of program materials will be assessed based on your scores on module quizzes and final exams, as well as the quality and extent of your participation. CORe program grades are assigned on the following scale:

    Pass with High Honors

    To pass CORe with High Honors, you must meet all requirements referenced below:

    • Demonstrate a superior level of content mastery
    • Make exemplary contributions to the program through your engagement and participation.

    Pass with Honors

    To pass CORe with Honors, you must meet all requirements referenced below:

    • Demonstrate a strong level of content mastery
    • Make strong contributions to the program through your engagement and participation


    To pass CORe, you must demonstrate:

    • Mastery of course content
    • Satisfactorily complete all quizzes, the final exam, and required participation elements.


    Participants will not pass the CORe program and will not be awarded a Credential of Readiness if, in one or more courses, they fail to do one or more of the following:

    • Complete all module quizzes and the final exam
    • Demonstrate content mastery on module quizzes and final exam
    • Satisfactorily complete all required participation elements

Course Grades

Course grades are based on the following three components, with the approximate weighting of each component:

  • Your CORe final exam score (50% of final course grade),
  • Your module quiz score average (35% of final course grade), and
  • The quality of your participation on in-course reflections, cold calls, and shared reflections (15% of final course grade)

Please keep these weights in mind as you consider how to best allocate your time and effort.

Participants should expect to spend a significant amount of time each week completing the modules—and the program—on time. Each module, including the module quiz, must be completed by its stated deadline. If you do not complete a module by the deadline, you must still work through the module materials and complete the module quiz; however, your quiz score will be recorded as a zero for that module.

In calculating your overall quiz average for each course, we will exclude your lowest score. Therefore, if you are unable to complete one module quiz in a course by the deadline, it will not affect your overall grade. Missing more than one quiz deadline per course, however, will adversely affect your course grade and your eligibility for the CORe credential. All modules and quizzes in CORe must be completed to be eligible to take the CORe final exam and receive a passing grade for the program.

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We do not allow participants who do not complete CORe or fail the program to take it again. Participants who are concerned about their ability to successfully complete the program are encouraged to defer to a future cohort or withdraw and re-apply to a future cohort. By enrolling in the CORe program, participants will be ineligible to enroll in Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, or Financial Accounting as individual certificate programs.

Course Platform Certificate Programs

Participants are expected to fully complete all work on the course platform in a thoughtful and timely manner. For most programs, this will mean meeting each week’s deadline to complete a module and fully answering questions posed therein. This helps ensure your cohort proceeds through the course at a similar pace and can take full advantage of social learning opportunities. A module is composed of a series of elements, such as faculty videos, simulations, reflections, or quizzes, designed to impart the learnings of the program. Some programs also have assignments that must be completed as part of your experience. Business Analytics, Economics for Managers, and Financial Accounting contain required quizzes, and an average score of 50% or greater is needed to earn a Certificate of Completion.

In addition to module and assignment completion, we expect participation in the social learning elements of the program by offering feedback on others’ reflections and contributing to conversations on the platform. Participants who fail to complete the program requirements will not receive a certificate and will not be eligible to retake the program.

More detailed information on individual program requirements will be communicated at the start of the program. No grades are assigned for course platform certificate programs. Participants will either be evaluated as complete or not complete.

Harvard Business School Online welcomes participants of all backgrounds and abilities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), a person is considered to have a disability if that individual (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of having such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

What are accommodations? Accommodations are adjustments and modifications that provide participants with disabilities equal access to courses and programs. However, accommodations do not guarantee an outcome or a level of achievement. Accommodations also do not apply to non-disability related circumstances such as work conflicts, vacations, or family commitments.

What is the accommodations request process? Participants are responsible for disclosing the need for accommodations in each course by completing an Online Accommodations Request Form as early as possible. Individualized accommodations are then determined through a collaborative process that takes into account self-reports, available supporting documentation, and academic requirements of the specific course. Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you are unsure if accommodations apply to you, we are happy to answer questions using the email below. This request process only applies to HBS Online course offerings.

PLEASE NOTE: Early and active communication is required as late notification may result in a delay or inability to fulfill a request.

What type of supporting documentation is accepted? The HBS Online Accommodations team will review any relevant supporting documentation. However, the documentation must be in English or include a notarized English translation. Please also remove any social security numbers or other unrelated sensitive information.

Below are general documentation guidelines for your reference:

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  1. Documentation presents a clear assessment of the disability or condition by a licensed provider with firsthand knowledge and relevant credentials.
  2. Documentation is signed and on letterhead from the licensed treatment provider. Please note forms and templates from other institutions may require supplemental information.
  3. Documentation is current, preferably within three years. (The age of the documentation may also be dependent upon the nature of the disability and the specific requested accommodation).
  4. Provides a statement of the functional impact and limitations of the disability or condition on major life activities. When applicable, also outlines a prognosis of the symptoms over time and context.
  5. Lists recommended accommodations with an explanation of the relevance of each to the diagnosed disability or condition.

Who do I contact? In order to initiate a request or to inquire about the process, please reach out to Please do NOT send supporting documentation or medical records via email. We will provide instructions on how to submit documentation securely.

Learn more about Harvard University's Digital Accessibility Policy.

These policies took effect for programs that started after February 1, 2020. Access the previous policies here.

We understand your plans to join an HBS Online program may change. We offer the opportunity to shift your admission, defer your enrollment, and withdraw from your program. Some additional policies apply if you are company-sponsored, so please review those details if they apply to you.

For Learners in a Corporate Training Program

You may not defer or receive a refund if you are a company-sponsored participant enrolled in a program through your employer. If you wish to withdraw, please contact the appropriate representative at your company and they will inform HBS Online. These restrictions do not apply if you completed an application, paid for the program yourself, and plan to request employer reimbursement – you are still eligible for deferrals and refunds in this case.

For Learners in a Course Platform Certificate Program

Shifting Your Admission: After admission to a Harvard Business School Online program but before enrollment (completed payment), you may opt to shift your admission to a later program through the “My Dashboard” page. If the enrollment deadline to your program has passed and your application has expired, you will need to submit a new application to be considered for a future cohort.

Deferring Your Enrollment: Once you have enrolled and paid for a program, you may request a deferral of your enrollment by contacting our support team. We will enroll you in a later offering of the same program, subject to the policies below.

  • You may request an enrollment deferral at any time before your program starts, and up to one week after the start of your program. Note that you will need to start the program over after deferring – no work you have completed will transfer to the later offering.
  • You must defer to one of the next three offerings of the program in which you are enrolled. A list of upcoming offerings may be found on the program’s page on our website.
  • You may only defer once. If you have previously deferred, you will not be eligible for an additional deferral or a refund. For this reason, please consider requesting a refund if your program has not started and you are uncertain about joining a later offering.

Withdrawals and Refunds: After enrolling in a program, you may request a withdrawal with refund up until 24 hours after the start of your program. Please note, this is 24 hours after the course materials become available, not after you log in. We encourage you to log in to your program as soon as it starts to confirm it will be a good fit for your learning needs. To request a withdrawal with refund, log in to your account with us and select “Change Program Status” for the relevant program.

Once you have requested your withdrawal with refund, we will return funds to the payment method used while enrolling, minus a $100 nonrefundable enrollment fee.

Please be advised, if the original payment was by Western Union, refunds will be paid by Check and mailed via USPS.

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You may request a withdrawal without refund if you have completed less than half of your program. Withdrawing will allow you to apply and enroll in the program at a later time.

We understand unexpected life events happen. Harvard Business School Online may make exceptions to our deadline, deferral, and withdrawal policies on a case-by-case basis.

Extreme life circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Unexpected medical situation for you or a dependent
  • Death of a family member
  • Natural disaster or other large-scale event

Early and active communication is essential to help us support you during your life event. We expect you to make every reasonable effort to reach out to us within 2 weeks of your life event. Regardless of circumstances, no requests submitted more than 60 days from the final deadline of your course will be considered. To the extent you can do so, we encourage you to continue your coursework while any exception request is under review.

Participants who do not agree with a decision made on an exception, accommodation, or any decision rendered by HBS Online can submit a formal appeal. The appeals process will allow you to submit more information or documentation to provide additional context as to why you believe your exception decision should be changed. This appeal will be reviewed by an appeals committee at HBS Online. Appeals decisions are considered final and we will only accept one appeal per exception or accommodation decision.

Participants that are currently enrolled in a course that wish to submit an exception request or appeal, may refer to their Orientation Guide and Course Announcements for additional information.

When communicating with HBS Online, please understand that the nature of online learning means that your message to us may not be read immediately, and that we are not able to respond to personal emergency situations. If you are in distress or are experiencing a personal emergency, please reach out to local resources or to emergency responders in your area.

Effective May 7, 2021, participants who have enrolled in at least one qualifying Harvard Business School Online program are eligible to receive a 30% discount on each subsequent qualifying program enrollment, regardless of completion or certificate status in the first purchased program. The discount is NOT valid for the first purchased program. Participants are only eligible to receive the discount after the withdrawal deadline (24 hours after the start of a program*) passes for their first purchased program. Participants enrolled in HBS Online Free Business Lessons or programs that are part of a corporate learning package are NOT eligible to receive this discount.

Discounts are automatically applied to the Program Fee upon time of payment. Discounts are not available after you've submitted payment, so if you think you are eligible for a discount on a registration, please review this discount policy in detail before you submit any payment.

At this time, the discount is for 30% off of the Program Fee for only the programs listed below. Offer terms are subject to change, and any changes have immediate and retroactive effect.

  • Alternative Investments
  • Business Strategy
  • Business Analytics
  • CORe (Credential of Readiness) - Non-Credit Only
  • Design Thinking and Innovation
  • Disruptive Strategy
  • Economics for Managers
  • Entrepreneurship Essentials
  • Financial Accounting
  • Global Business
  • Leadership Principles
  • Leading with Finance
  • Management Essentials
  • Negotiation Mastery
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Power and Influence for Positive Impact
  • Strategy Execution
  • Sustainable Business Strategy
  • Sustainable Investing

This 30% discount can only be redeemed on registrations on or after May 7, 2021 on the HBS Online website at All prior registrations do not qualify for this discount.

This discount may not be combined with other scholarships, financial aid, or other offers.

Only one discount may be used per order.

Participants who are enrolling in discount-eligible cohorts as part of a corporate learning package are NOT eligible for any discount.

Participants who took at least one Harvard Online program prior to March 1, 2022 were eligible to receive a past participant discount on HBS Online courses that started before August 1, 2022. For Harvard Online participants interested in taking an HBS Online program on or after August 1, 2022, you will have to pay full price for the program.

Participants deferring from discount-eligible cohorts to non-eligible cohorts will not retain the discount. Deferrals are subject to the standard program policies.

You can’t redeem this discount for cash, and it can’t be transferred or sold. It’s void where prohibited by law.

These terms and conditions are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

*Please note, this is 24 hours after the program materials become available, not after you log in.

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