To earn the biotechnology degree, fulfill the following requirements.

Meet the course requirements for your concentration.

Nine courses and a thesis (40 credits) are required for each concentration:

  • Life sciences
  • Management principles
  • Bioinformatics
  • Bioengineering and nanotechnologies

See the concentration requirements >

Prove competency in statistics.

Demonstrate your analytical skills by completing a statistics course at Harvard (see the degree course search) for undergraduate or graduate credit with a grade of B– or higher. The course does not count toward the degree.

If you have previous background in statistics, you can complete the waiver exam.

To set up an appointment to take the exam, contact Maura McGlame at If you do not pass the exam, you will need to take a statistics course.

We encourage you to complete the statistics requirement before your sixth degree course. This core requirement should be behind you as you enter your final year.

The statistics requirement must be met before consulting Dr. Vaughan on your thesis proposal. Failure to do so will delay thesis registration and postpone graduation.

Complete at least four on-campus-only courses.

See Online Courses and On-Campus Requirement for more information.

Take all courses for graduate credit.

All courses must be taken at Harvard for graduate credit. You take most courses at Harvard Extension School. You also have the options to study at Harvard Summer School and to take a maximum of two courses as a Special Student through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

Maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA.

Courses earned with grades below a B- do not fulfill degree requirements, but do count toward your cumulative GPA. Note that a B or higher grade is required in the three admission courses. See Academic Standing and Enrollment.

Complete all requirements within five years.

Ordinarily, the five-year timeframe begins at the point of admission, but if you delay admission the timeframe begins upon completion of the third degree course (i.e., any course that can count toward the degree). If you are unable to complete the degree within five years, you are retired from the program.

Submit graduation confirmation form.

As you near graduation, you must complete the graduation confirmation form, which is available through online services. See Graduation for deadlines.

Participate in the thesis symposium.

Attend the symposium to present your research to the Harvard community. If you live outside of Massachusetts and cannot attend the symposium, submit a poster presentation. Participation and submission details are provided by the program director, Dr. Cheryl Vaughan, during the research proposal stage.