Bioinformatics Degree

This field will no longer be accepting applicants after the spring 2018 admission cycle (March 15 to April 15, 2018). If you have started your admissions coursework, you may continue and apply during summer, fall, or spring (see Degree Program Admission for specific dates). To find courses, you can log into online services and choose Degree Program Admissions from the menu.

Check out our graduate degrees and certificates in related fields.

Develop skills in programming, statistical modeling, and other areas of computer science to help you analyze and interpret complex biological data. Through the graduate program in bioinformatics, you’ll learn to blend expertise in computational and biological sciences, leading to a deeper understanding in areas like genomics, diseases, and drug discovery.

Key learning outcomes

Through the master's degree in the field of bioinformatics, you:

  • Gain an understanding of applied learning in related computer science subjects, including programming languages, statistical modeling, visualization, databases, and algorithms.
  • Develop skills in scientific practice, including experimental or case study design, scientific data analysis, writing and communication, ethics, and effective collaboration.
  • Build a foundation in life science theory as it relates to biotechnology.

Program Overview

The master’s degree includes nine courses—at least four taken on campus—and a thesis or internship.

  • Get started. You begin by completing three admission courses from the program curriculum. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student.
  • Apply to the program. While completing your third admission course, you submit your application. We have application periods in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. You are required take at least four courses on campus as part of your degree.
  • Complete your thesis or internship. If you choose the thesis option, you work with a thesis director to conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your work experience or academic interests, producing publishable quality results. You’ll emerge with a solid understanding of how scientific research is executed and communicated. For the internship, you have the opportunity to apply your knowledge of quantitative analysis and computational design to solve a biological problem, either with your current or potential employer.
  • Graduate with your Harvard degree. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement, receiving your Harvard University degree: Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in extension studies, field: Bioinformatics.

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Registration is Open!

Spring course registration is open through January 27. Interested in a 3-week January session course? Register by December 19. You can browse the course catalog.