The Master of Liberal Arts, Bioengineering and Nanotechnology degree field consists of 12 courses (48 credits), two of which are required on campus.
12 Graduate Courses
The degree is only for students who have an undergraduate degree in a science field (physical, life, or computer science), at least one year of proven postbaccalaureate scientific research experience, and an academic background in molecular, cellular, and organismal biology.
- 2 Life science courses
- Ethics and Trends in Biotechnology
- 5 Engineering science courses
- EXPO 42c is an engineering science option
- Thesis proposal tutorial
- Master’s thesis (8 credits)
Admissions: Earn Your Way In
To begin the admissions process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following two, graduate-level degree courses (available online):
- BIOT 200 Proseminar: Introduction to Graduate Studies and Scholarly Writing in Biotechnology
- To register, you'll need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills, or earn a B or higher in EXPO 42c Writing in the Sciences.
- You have two attempts to earn the minimum grade of B in the proseminar (a withdrawal grade counts as an attempt). The proseminar cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.
- 1 life science course
The two courses don't need to be taken in a particular order or in the same semester, but each course must be completed with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0.
Eligibility: Before you enroll in any degree-applicable courses, you must possess a four-year regionally accredited US bachelor's degree. You cannot already have or be in the process of earning a master's degree in Bioengineering, Nanotechnology, or a related field. Foreign bachelor’s degrees must be evaluated, and the Admissions Office makes final determinations about eligibility. Refer to Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.
Applying to the Degree Program
During the semester of your second degree course, you submit the official application to the program. Don't delay! It is critical to your successful admission and degree completion to prioritize the two degree courses for admission and apply before completing subsequent courses. We have fall, spring, and summer admission cycles.
If you submit a complete and timely application—which includes required Harvard courses, grades, and cumulative GPA—you will be admitted, after which you’ll have 10 more courses to take to earn the degree.
For more details about eligibility, the application process, and the delayed application fee, visit Admissions.
The Harvard On-Campus Experience
Many courses can be taken online, but the degree requires a Harvard campus experience. You come to Cambridge for at least two courses (8 credits), which offers you in-person access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.
On-campus requirements can ordinarily be completed through:
- 15-week fall or spring semester courses that meet only on campus. Courses with the format "on campus or online" do not fulfill this requirement.
- Three- or seven-week summer courses that meet only on campus.
International Students Needing a Student Visa
To meet the on campus requirement, you study with us in the summer. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School's three- or seven-week sessions. For more information, see the important visa information on the International Student Study Options page.
International Students and Thesis Research
While your research question will be developed in consultation with your research advisor (RA), you will be responsible for finding a lab in your home country. The Harvard Extension School cannot sign institutional agreements, nor does the school provide research funding.
To Complete Your Degree
Prove Competency in Statistics
Prior to registering for the thesis proposal course, you need to prove your competency in statistics through one of the following two options:
- Successfully complete the statistics waiver exam. Credit is not earned for the exam. The exam is available by appointment with your academic advisor (after admission to the program) only during the months of August, December, and March.
- Earn a B– or higher in one of the following undergraduate-credit statistics course at Harvard: STAT 100, 102, 150, or 200. While the course fulfills the statistics requirement, it does not count toward the degree.
Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher
Earn a B or higher in each of the two degree courses required for admission courses and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses, but be sure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.
Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years
You have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program. Moreover, courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.
Potential degree candidates must plan accordingly and submit their applications to comply with the five-year course expiration policy or they risk losing degree credit for completed course work. Additionally, admission eligibility will be jeopardized if, at the point of application to the program, the five-year degree completion policy cannot be satisfied.
Graduate with Your Harvard Degree
When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May, with the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May.
Degree Guidelines & Policies
For information about special academic opportunities, student privileges, and policies, see Completing Your Degree.