Welcome to the Biotechnology Graduate Program.

Cheryl VaughanWhile some industries are downsizing in the current economy, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are strong and growing. And Massachusetts continues to stand as an epicenter for these industries.

As the director of the Biotechnology Graduate Program, I have been working to guarantee that our candidates gain the knowledge and experience necessary to make their next career move. Along with our career services officer, I have gone out to meet recruiters at local companies, both to inform them about our program and to better shape the program around industry needs.

In all cases, recruiters have expressed the desire to find qualified master’s level applicants with a strong background in science, updated biology training, and cross-training in another field. This is exactly what can be achieved by earning the biotechnology degree at Harvard Extension School.

The two questions most frequently asked by prospective students are:

  1. Do I have the necessary background to apply to the biotechnology program?
  2. What have students gone on to do after graduating? 

In response to the first question, successful applicants have an undergraduate degree in the area of life, physical, or computer science and have worked in an area of research for at least one year after completing their bachelor’s degrees.

I have some candidates who do not have a background in biology but, rather, a different area of science such as engineering or computer science. They have worked as industry scientists for the last five years, and now want to break into the field of nanotechnology or bioinformatics. All have found a perfect fit in this program.

Some examples of what students have done after graduating include becoming a doctoral student at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; directing a hedge fund at a company in Washington, DC; becoming a project manager; going on to law school to study patent law; and working as a lab manager in an academic lab. Other graduates who continued as research scientists enjoyed a significant pay increase in recognition of their higher qualifications. Also, a biotechnology graduate student is working on new wound closure technology.

In the biotechnology program, career potential can undergo an evolution. This enhancement in your training will provide a selective advantage in an industry where conditions are always changing and always competitive.

With warm regards,

Cheryl Vaughan, PhD
Director and Research Advisor of the Biotechnology Program
Assistant Director for Science Instruction
Lecturer on Molecular and Cellular Biology