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Guide to DCE Course Search and Registration

DCE Course Search and Registration is your one-stop shop for searching and registering for courses at Harvard Extension School and Harvard Summer School (both schools within the Division of Continuing Education).

This guide will help you use the platform and get answers to questions you may have, including:

Searching for Courses

Extension School Courses

  • Start your search by selecting a term — either fall, January and spring, or all terms.
    • To narrow your search by course length, use the part of term filter: full term, half term, January session, or active learning weekend.
  • Then, to find courses that count toward a program, select Browse by Degree, Certificate, and Premedical Program.
  • Use the Advanced Search to narrow your search further. If you’re interested in taking courses independent of a program, you can search for courses by subject here.

Summer School Courses

  • First, be sure the term is set to Summer School term.
  • Next, select a Summer School option based on your student or audience type. You can select the “i” icon for a description of each audience.

Creating Accounts and Completing the Enrollment Process

To complete registration in Course Search and Registration, you’ll need to have a MyDCE student account. 

For instructions on how to create a student account and complete the steps for enrollment in a course, check out our step-by-step guides:

Already have an account but having trouble logging in?

If your DCEKey or HarvardKey does not work when you attempt to log in, please contact our Enrollment Services team at (617) 495-4024 or

FAQs about the Course Search & Registration Platform

When can I start “shopping” and adding courses to my cart?

You can shop for courses by adding courses to your cart during the pre-registration periods and registration periods for each term. For registration dates and deadlines, refer to the Harvard Extension School academic calendar and Harvard Summer School academic calendar.

How do I add courses to my cart?

From your chosen course’s details panel:

  • Click Add to Cart.
  • A pop-up will prompt you to confirm. Select the desired cart and click OK.
  • On the registration options panel appear, select your desired credit status and click Save Changes.
  • If you encounter an error or warning message when trying to add courses to your cart, review the Warning Messages and Icons Guide for clarification.

What is the difference between the primary cart and other carts?

The primary cart is where you’ll handle all course registration actions. You can only make changes to your registration using your primary cart.

You may create additional carts to help you “shop” for courses and highlight courses of potential interest. However, before you can register for a course, you must add it to your primary cart. Changes made to courses in any other cart you create will not affect your registration. 

How do I finalize my registration?

If you have already added courses to your primary cart:

  • You must select a term first to view your primary cart.
  • Click the Primary Cart button in the search panel.
  • The cart contents panel will appear. Click Submit Schedule at the bottom of this panel.
  • The registration panel will appear showing the course/s you would like to submit for registration and any related messaging. (Encounter an error or warning message? Refer to the Warning Messages and Icon Guide.)
  • Click Submit Registration to confirm and finish your course enrollment.

Depending on the course you are trying to register for, there may be extra steps for you to complete before you can submit your registration. This includes submitting the Distance Education Survey and agreeing to the Student Recording Authorization.

After submitting your registration, the registration results panel will appear confirming whether your transaction was successful.

How do I create a new cart?

To create a new cart, click on the Cart drop-down menu. Select Create a New Cart and then enter a name for the cart in the New Cart Name field. Once you have created a new cart, click on the OK button to proceed or cancel to start over.

How do I delete a cart?

To delete a cart, click on the Cart drop-down menu and select the cart you wish to delete. In the Cart Contents panel, you will see the Delete Cart option. Clicking Delete Cart will prompt you to confirm that you want to delete this cart and clear the contents of the cart. Click OK.

Why can’t I see my primary cart?

You must select a term in the Search Classes box before you can view your cart.

If you cannot see your primary cart, double-check that you have selected the appropriate term (Fall, January & Spring, or Summer).

If you select Harvard Summer School, you must also select a specific Summer School Option: Adult & College Students, Harvard College, Pre-College Program, or Secondary School Program.

How do I view my course schedule?

You should refer to My Courses in MyDCE to see your full course schedule, including dropped courses. 

You can also view the status of your courses after registering by returning to your primary cart. Each course in your cart will have a symbol designating the status of the course.

Why isn’t my class listed in MyDCE? 

If your class isn’t listed under My Courses in MyDCE, then you have not yet completed the registration process. Once you have added the course(s) to your primary cart, you must click both Submit Schedule and Submit Registration. You can only register for courses from your primary cart.

Your registration may be prevented in certain situations. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • You did not complete pre-registration in MyDCE (required for both new and returning students each term)
  • You did not select the correct term in the search panel
  • You attempted to enroll in too many credits for your selected term
  • You are not eligible for a specific course or have not completed the appropriate prerequisites
  • You must take additional steps before completing registration, such as submitting the Distance Education Survey and agreeing to the Student Recording Authorization.

See a full list of registration warnings (indicated by a yellow triangle with an exclamation point) and potential solutions below.

How do I pay for my course?

To make payments, please log into MyDCE and select Financial Services [SEM2] to enter the Student Finance Portal.

You can also find a link to the payment portal in the Search Panel by clicking MyDCE & Payment, then choosing View Balance and Make a Payment.

Please see Payment Options and Policies for additional information.

I have added myself to the waitlist for a course. What happens now?

As seats become available in the course, students will be admitted from the waitlist in the order that they registered. We are unable to predict if, or when, seats will become available in any course. If you are not admitted to the course for which you are waitlisted, you will receive a full-tuition refund for that course. Please see Limited Enrollment Courses and Waitlists for further information.

Can I change my credit status while on the waitlist?

You cannot edit your course credit status while on a waitlist. Once you are moved off the waitlist and registered for the course, you will have the ability to edit your credit status.

Why can’t I enroll in a noncredit course if I am already enrolled in 16 credits?

You cannot register for courses, even courses at the noncredit status, above the maximum enrollment limit for that semester. 

How do I audit a course?

To audit courses, you must register for noncredit if it is available. Courses that do not have a noncredit option may not be audited.

  • Adult & college students must be at least 15 years old to enroll for a noncredit Harvard Extension School course and at least 16 years old to enroll for a noncredit Harvard Summer School course.
  • High School students currently completing 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, including those graduating this year, must apply to the Secondary School Program or the Pre-College Program.

I still need assistance. Who can I reach out to for help?

You can reach our Enrollment Services team by calling (617) 495-4024 between Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by emailing

Registration Warnings

If you cannot complete registration for any reason, a warning indicator in the form of a yellow triangle with an exclamation point will appear in your primary cart, along with a brief explanation of the warning.

Here are the most common registration warnings.

You must complete pre-registration in MyDCE before registering

Log into MyDCE and complete the pre-registration process.

You must complete pre-registration every term, even if you are an admitted degree candidate or have previously enrolled in a course at Harvard Extension School or Harvard Summer School.

English Proficiency Hold

You have not met the English Proficiency requirement.

You must submit a qualifying test score or one of the required satisfactory transcripts before the English Proficiency deadline to meet this requirement.

For complete information on the English Proficiency requirement, view English Proficiency Requirement for Registration.

Prerequisite and Test Score Error

Some courses have prerequisites or other requirements that must be fulfilled before you can register for the course. You must fulfill all appropriate requirements before you can register. In some cases, you may not be able to register for that class until a later term.

Examples of common requirements include:

  • Test of Critical Reading and Writing Skills
  • Individual study courses requiring program approval (given in the form of a test score)

Immunization Hold

You may not register for on-campus courses until your immunizations have been approved. You may receive this warning if:

  • You are trying to register for an on-campus course after the appropriate deadline for on-campus course registration. You will not be able to complete registration for an on campus course until next term.
  • You have not yet submitted proof of immunization as required for registration. Be sure to follow complete instructions on submitting your immunization verification in a timely fashion to avoid missing the appropriate deadlines.
  • Your immunization documentation has not yet been approved.

Financial Hold

You may not be allowed to register for courses if you have an outstanding balance from prior terms. You must pay off all outstanding balances before registering. Visit the Student Finance Portal in MyDCE to make payments.

Registration Hold

Your registration privileges are currently suspended. As noted in the warning, you must contact the Registrar’s Office at with questions or to obtain additional information. You will not be able to register for additional courses until your registration privileges are reinstated.

You must be 18 years of age

If you are under the age of 18, you will see this warning message regardless of the credit status you are registering for.

  • You will not be able to register for graduate credit if you are under the age of 18.
  • If you are trying to register for undergraduate credit or noncredit, you may disregard this warning and proceed with registration.

Maximum Enrollment (Overload)

You may not register for more credits than allowed for that specific term.

If the number of courses in your cart exceeds the maximum enrollment limit—even if you do not plan to register for all of them—your registration will fail. Please reduce your course load by removing one or more courses from your cart and try to register again.

You can register for up to 16 credits in fall and spring, four credits in the January session, four credits in Harvard Summer School three-week sessions, and eight credits in Harvard Summer School seven-week sessions.

Waitlisted courses do not count toward your enrollment maximum.

Time Conflict

If one or more of the courses in your cart meet at the same or overlapping times, the warning will indicate that you cannot register for courses with overlapping meet times.

However, you may disregard this warning and proceed with registration if one of the courses causing the time conflict is On demand, as On demand courses have flexible participation options.


You have added yourself to the course waitlist. The warning message will tell you how many other people are on the waitlist ahead of you.

Course Drop Error

If you try to drop a course by using the Search tool instead of your primary cart, you may notice a loading bar above the Course Details panel that loads infinitely. Please navigate to your primary cart to drop your course instead.

Registration Restriction. See Course Search Options for Eligibility

You have tried to register for a course for which you are not eligible. This warning occurs most frequently during registration for Harvard Summer School courses.

  • Study Abroad: You will receive this warning if you are an admitted Study Abroad student and are trying to register for a Study Abroad class on your own.
  • Secondary School Program: You are an admitted SSP student and you try to register for a three-week session course. SSP students must take seven-week courses. In the course search, select Harvard Summer School, then Secondary School Program (7-week) for a full list of eligible 7-week courses.
  • Secondary School Program: You have attempted to register for a course which is not open to SSP students. In the course search, select Harvard Summer School, then Secondary School Program (7-week) for a full list of eligible SSP courses.
  • Pre-College: You have attempted to register for a non-Pre-College course. In the course search, select Harvard Summer School, then Pre-College Program (2-week) for a full list of Pre-College courses.
  • You are not an admitted Pre-College student but have attempted to register for a Pre-College course. Adult and college students and Harvard College students must select the appropriate category in the course search to find courses for which you are eligible.

Secondary School Program Special Enrollment Request

You have attempted to register for a course that is only open to SSP students by special request.

SSP Online Students Cannot Register for On Campus Courses

As an admitted SSP Online student, you cannot register for on campus classes. You will need to select an appropriate online course to complete your registration.

To find online courses open to Secondary School Program students, use the course search to select Harvard Summer School and Secondary School Program (7-week). Then, under Advanced Search, select Online in the Format box to narrow your search to only online programs open to SSP students.

This class cannot be removed from your schedule

Study abroad: As an admitted study abroad student, you cannot drop or remove a study abroad course on your own. You must contact the study abroad program to make changes to your course schedule.

Pre-College: Admitted Pre-College students cannot drop or remove courses after the payment deadline. Contact the Pre-College Program to make changes to your course schedule.

Contact the SSP office to make changes to your schedule

Admitted SSP students cannot add or drop courses after the course changes deadline. You will need to contact the Secondary School Program directly to make changes to your course schedule. Be sure to review the SSP Academic Calendar frequently to note all appropriate deadlines throughout the registration process.

Credit Status: No valid options available

Admitted SSP students will encounter this warning if you attempt to register for a Pre-College course. Be sure to select Secondary School Program (7-week) in the course search to narrow your course search to only courses open to admitted SSP students.

You may register for a maximum of one course per Pre-College Program session

As an admitted Pre-College Program student, you may only register for one course per session. Before you register, you must remove all but the one course you want to take from your primary cart.

Icon Guide

IconMeaningWhere it appears
Blue shopping cartThe course you have selected is in your cart, but you haven’t registered for it yet.In the Cart Contents panel
Green checkmarkA course transaction (add or drop) was successfulIn the Registration Results panel after you click Submit Registration. The green checkmark will disappear from your cart once you click Back to Cart
Black checkmarkThe course section is full or closedIn the Cart Contents panel after you submit your registration
Black warning sign The course section is full or closedIn the Course details panel
Yellow warning signThere’s a restriction that will prevent you from registering for a courseIn the Cart Contents panel and Registration panel. The icon is placed next to the warning message text
Green plus signYou want to add and register for a specific course section
Under the Registration panel
Red cross markA course transaction (add or drop) was NOT successfulIn the Registration Results panel after you click Submit Registration. The red cross mark will disappear from your cart when you click Back to Cart
Red dash signYou have started the drop/withdraw processIn the Course Details panel under the “Registration Notes” section and in the Cart Contents panel when you are in the process of dropping or withdrawing from a course. It also appears in the Registration panel
Black hourglassYou are waitlisted in a courseIn the Course Contents panel
Yellow hourglassYou have been added to the waitlistIn the Registration Results panel after you have submitted registration
Pencil iconYou are in the process of making a course change but haven’t completed itIn the Course Details panel under the “Registration Notes” section and in the Carts Contents panel

General Feedback

If you have any feedback on the Course Search and Registration platform, please complete our  general feedback form.