Specialized Programs

College can be a positive and enriching experience for students of all ages and backgrounds. Harper College wants every student to achieve success in his/her college endeavor and to have the opportunity to grow both in and out of the classroom. The programs and services listed below are designed toward this end.

The Adult Educational Development (AED) Department provides instruction for eligible students 16 years old and over who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency and are not currently enrolled in high school. Instruction prepares students for completion of the Illinois High School Equivalency exam through all approved tests (Pearson Vue GED, HiSET, and TASC). Students who qualify can enroll in an ICAPS (Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System) course, including a free AED support class, to complete a college certificate in Logistics, Office Assistant, or Certified Nursing Assistant at the same time they are taking High School Equivalency (HSE) classes.

Foundational classes in Social Studies, Science, English and Math give basic skills level students the confidence to progress from the Foundation level to Pre-HSE and HSE-level classes. HSE students will be advised by their instructors as to when they are ready for the official HSE exams. The Bridge to College and Career Success class helps students explore careers, prepare them for college and learn about academic success skills.

Beginning English as a Second Language learners and English as a Second Language learners with limited or interrupted schooling in their native countries can enroll in English Literacy Acquisition (ELA) classes which help achieve competence in reading, writing, speaking and comprehension skills and work toward attainment of a High School Equivalency diploma. Critical literacy, employability, math and technology skills are also incorporated into the ELA classes to prepare learners for HSE classes and postsecondary success.

Eligible residents are served by the Citizenship preparation classes, which prepare students for the interview and literacy testing conducted by the USCIS.

The AED department is connected with the community and provides support, resources and referrals through faculty and staff contact with students. Funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, the AED program must report student outcomes and standardized test level gains to the State and Federal government. AED is committed to helping learners make academic progress, obtain completion and meet individual student goals.

Daytime and evening courses are available. For more information and to register online, go to harpercollege.edu/academics/aed or contact the AED Office at aedinfo@harpercollege.edu or 847.925.6223.

In collaboration with local employers, Harper College offers a number of Apprenticeship Programs. To learn more, visit the Apprenticeship Programs page.

English as a Second Language (ESL) courses are for individuals who are native speakers of another language and who need to improve their English language skills for academic or employment purposes. Courses are offered for credit at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Both an intensive English program and part-time program are offered.

The ESL/Linguistics Department serves students from any language background. Some students are referred to the department from the Harper College assessment program. Student educational backgrounds range from nine grades completed through completion of graduate/professional programs. Students with fewer than nine years of education are referred to the Adult Educational Development Department for enrollment in the Nonnative Literacy Program.

Students are tested during registration and counseled for appropriate program and course placement. For more information, contact the department office in Building D Room D138 or call 847.925.6227

Intensive English Program

Due to COVID19, this program is currently unavailable.

English Language Program

The English Language Program (ELP) is for those students who wish to improve their English language skills for educational, professional or employment reasons on a full or part-time basis. Depending on their proficiency level, students may enroll in one or more classes, including integrated skills courses, as well as courses in reading, writing, grammar, conversation, TOEFL preparation and other supplemental courses. Students at the higher levels in this program may also enroll in other appropriate college courses.

Fast Track is an accelerated, part-time certificate and degree completion program designed specifically for busy students.

  • Pre-selected and pre-scheduled, allowing for more independent work
  • Primarily offered in 5- to 8-week lengths, accelerating your learning
  • Guaranteed with a consistent day/time simplified schedule
  • Conveniently held classes between 6 pm - 10 pm at the Harper Professional Center (HPC) in Schaumburg (see address, below) or at the main Palatine campus, or in a fully online format
  • Offered in a cohort format, allowing for peer support and progress
  • Limited in size, allowing for personalized interactions with your instructors

The degrees currently available in Fast Track are an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Management or Human Resources Management, and an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Supply Chain Management.

Various certificate programs also available include Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Social Media Specialist, Supply Chain Management (with built-in Procurement, Inventory/Production Control, and Logistics certificates), and Web Design & Interactive Media.

Fast Track Admission Requirements

Acceptance into the Fast Track program requires prospective students to complete the general Harper Application for Admission plus the following:

  • Meet with a Fast Track advisor to discuss the program in detail and determine if it meets your educational and career goals. Any prior credit that can apply to the program requirements will also be discussed.
  • Complete English placement testing, or have prior credit, for those interested in the AAS degree. English placement minimum score is 4.0 (essay). 
  • Complete math placement testing, or have prior credit, for the Web Design & Interactive Media Certificate.
  • All other certificates do not require English or math placement testing. English placement testing is recommended for the Social Media Specialist certificate.
  • Attend the mandatory orientation night for your desired program.

Students with prior college credit at Harper or another institution must have an overall GPA of 2.0 or better to enter Fast Track.  Exceptions to this requirement can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Don't worry if you've been out of the classroom for a while or if you feel a little rusty on basic skills, we can help you prepare—just ask us how. Visit the Fast Track webpage for more information.

Harper College seeks to stimulate, encourage and recognize work of depth, scope and originality by its students. A balanced curriculum of Honors courses is offered in the major areas required for the General Education component of associate degrees.

Honors students enjoy the benefit of reduced class size and the challenge of social and intellectual interaction with other high-achieving students while they acquire the breadth of understanding and develop leadership qualities that such settings enhance. Additionally, the Honors Program provides students a variety of opportunities to extend their learning beyond the classroom.

All Honors courses are noted as such on the student's official transcript. Additionally, upon fulfilling all other degree requirements, students who have completed at least 12 hours of Honors coursework (which must include either Honors HUM 105 or HST 105) and maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher will be designated as Honors Program graduates.

To be admitted to Honors classes, students must meet specified criteria, complete an Honors application and have an interview with a coordinator of Honors. Applications are available on the Honors Program website. Applications are accepted at any point during the year.

The College also offers several scholarships based primarily on academic achievement. (Some of these scholarships are only open to members of the Honors Program). Scholarship information is in the Office of Student Financial Assistance.

There are also a number of transfer opportunities and transfer scholarships only open to members of the Honors Program.

The mission of the Office of International Education at Harper College is to develop international awareness through collaborative programs that enhance knowledge of global dynamics, cultural diversity, and world issues for students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community. The Office of International Education at Harper College serves as a resource to the College and surrounding communities to celebrate the many contributions of the world's cultures and traditions, and will foster the continuing global education of its citizenry. Furthermore, we are committed to educating students for leadership in an increasingly complex global society. To that end, the Office of International Education at Harper College strives to offer global education opportunities that provide students with the following:

  • a curriculum that ensures that all of our students will be able to succeed in a world marked by interdependence, diversity and rapid change,
  • the knowledge and understanding of culture, language, geography and global perspectives,
  • the skills to understand the world through the eyes of others and how their actions can affect and be affected by people throughout the world.

Studying abroad is an exciting way to gain course credit. An educational experience abroad can help you develop skills that will give you an advantage transferring from Harper College. International experience, cross-cultural communication skills, global awareness and foreign language skills are becoming increasingly important in all areas of work and study, and your study abroad experience will prepare you for future challenges! If you are interested in a study abroad program, we have a variety of short-term and long-term programs available. In addition, we provide information about available programs, resources about funding opportunities, support through the application process, pre-departure orientation, advice and assistance while overseas, and post-return support.

Although all study abroad programs have been suspended for the 2021-2022 academic year, we are excited to offer a variety of virtual opportunities for you to have an intercultural experience. If you are interested in learning more about these programs, contact the Director of International Education directly.

The Office of International Education at Harper College also sponsors the graduation Global Scholars Distinction which is a graduation honor designed to promote, acknowledge, and reward individual students’ real, life-changing growth during their studies at Harper College. A student who earns the Global Scholars Distinction will complete 12 hours in interdisciplinary academic studies at Harper College as well as a portfolio and capstone project. Students are supported through the portfolio and capstone activities by the Director of International Education and qualified faculty mentors. The Distinction offers students an opportunity to work closely with Harper faculty and exposes students to different cultures, creating a unique advantage for students’ future employment, scholarship possibilities and higher education experiences.

For more information about our programs visit us online.

A wide variety of courses are available to students via the web. Online and blended (Internet component with reduced campus class time) courses offer the options of flexible learning time as well as communication with instructors and classmates via e-mail, discussion forums or live web conferencing. A personal computer, specific hardware and software requirements, online access through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and a Harper email account are necessary.

Harper College uses Blackboard, a learning management system, which can be accessed through the student portal, for courses offered via distance delivery. Many instructors offer an online orientation session at the beginning of each semester. Students are strongly encouraged to attend these as they are critical to course success.

Internet Course Exchange (ICE) is a consortium of Illinois community colleges (ILCCO) that provides access to online courses throughout the state for students, regardless of which college they attend. Registration, financial aid and transcripts are handled through Harper College for its students, regardless of where the course is offered. Discussion with a Harper Advisor prior to registration is necessary, as students who want to enroll through ICE need to adhere to specific enrollment procedures.

For information about current distance learning courses offered by Harper College, please call 847.925.6506 or visit Harper Online.

The Start Smart Program is designed to help new degree seeking students transition to college by addressing many of the common “new student” concerns and to ensure that students receive all the support they might need while at Harper College. Courses in the Start Smart Program are taught by experienced faculty who care about new students and know exactly how to provide support AND inspire – at the same time. There are Start Smart options aligned with each Area of Interest in order to provide curriculum that is relevant to each student’s individual academic and career goals.

After successful completion of a Start Smart Experience, students will be able to 1) identify and utilize Harper support services to help meet their personal and academic needs, 2) demonstrate responsible academic behaviors appropriate to intellectual engagement, such as the application of active learning strategies, and 3) create an educational plan which includes academic and career goals and exploration of options leading to completion. 

Beginning Fall 2019, all new degree-seeking students with fewer than 12 hours of college credit earned after completing high school will be required to participate in a Start Smart experience within their first two semesters at Harper College. Students will select an appropriate Start Smart option aligned with their Area of Interest when they meet with their advisor or counselor during New Student Orientation. To learn more about the Start Smart Program and to view Start Smart options, visit https://www.harpercollege.edu/academics/firstyear.php. Contact the Center for New Students and Orientation at 847.925.6208 for additional information.

Last Updated: 5/31/22