The award of the degree of Master in Business Administration certifies that a candidate has demonstrated the knowledge, capabilities, integrity, and understanding that form the foundation for continued leadership. Specifically, this achievement implies the following three conditions for the award of the MBA degree:

  • The candidate must possess the basic intellectual capacity to have benefited from the academic work of the MBA Program, and to continue to grow in professional competence throughout his or her career.
  • The candidate must have acquired a body of knowledge, skills, and techniques appropriate to the practice of business administration.
  • The candidate must have demonstrated—by a commitment to the work, a sense of responsibility to colleagues and others, and a capacity to work effectively alone and with others without detailed supervision, as outlined in the HBS Community Values and the MBA Honor Code — that s/he is prepared to use this body of knowledge, skills, and techniques in a manner befitting a professional administrator and responsible business leader.

Each graded course in the MBA Program receives a specified number of credits. To receive the MBA degree, students must complete all courses in Terms 1 and 2 of the Required Curriculum (RC), and the equivalent of 30 credits of courses in the Elective Curriculum (EC). Specific credit determinations are described below. Students in Joint Degree programs will have alternative requirements; please check Joint Degree program guidelines for specific requirements.

Required Curriculum

The following courses comprise the Required Curriculum for the Class of 2025 (all RC courses are worth 3 credits and graded on the Category I-IV scale unless otherwise noted):

Term 1 Term 2
Data Science for Managers (DSM) 1.5 credits Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE)
Finance 1 (FIN1) The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM)
Financial Reporting and Control (FRC) FIELD Global Immersion (FGI)
Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) Finance 2 (FIN2)
Marketing (MKT) Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA)
Technology and Operations Management (TOM) The Social Purpose of the Firm (SPF) 1.5 credits, graded Pass/Low Pass/Fail
Strategy (STRAT)

Elective Curriculum

30 total credits are required, with 15 credits required each term (Fall and Spring), including no more than 6 non-classroom, Independent Project (IP) credits in one term, with a maximum of 9 non-classroom, Independent Project (IP) credits for the year.

Students may take any combination of long courses (full-term, 3 credits) and short courses (generally half-term, 1.5 credits) to meet their minimum required credits each term. Students who complete a 3-credit January Term Immersive Field Course (IFC) may elect to take only 12 credits in either the Fall or the Spring term.

To help ensure manageable student workloads, a student may not take more than 10.5 credits on one schedule (X or Y) in a given term. This does not include classes that meet only once a week.

EC students can choose to take six credits in approved cross-registration courses toward the standard MBA degree. Among the 15 maximum combined IP and cross-registration credits, six may be through Online Learning IP credits.

Exceptions to the 15 credits/term policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis in cases where there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. the arrival of a child or other serious health concerns). Please email the Registrar’s Office ( for consideration.