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Biology Master’s Degree Program

Learn how to apply critical thinking to real-world scenarios in the life sciences while exploring cutting-edge research and theory.

  • Online Courses

    11 courses (of 12 total courses)

  • On-Campus Experience

    1 weekend or one 3-week course

  • Tuition

    $3,220 per course

Program Overview

Through the master’s degree in the field of biology you:

  • Enhance your understanding of the biological sciences, including molecular biology, genetics, genomics, cell biology, physiology, neurobiology and behavior, evolution, and ecology.
  • Build a foundation in scientific practice, including experimental or case study design and implementation, scientific data collection and analysis, and ethical practices.
  • Develop advanced professional communication skills, with an emphasis on sharing scientific results in written, oral, and graphical forms.

Program Benefits

  • Teacher speaking to class.

    A faculty of life science instructors from Harvard University

  • Two people talking at a table.

    Personalized academic and career advising

  • Notebook and pencil.

    In-depth thesis experience with faculty advisor

  • Lightbulb in a hand.

    Entrepreneurial opportunities through the Harvard Innovation Labs

  • Texbook.

    Paid research options supporting faculty

  • Graduation cap and diploma.

    Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation

Customizable Course Curriculum

Our curriculum is flexible in pace and customizable by design. You’ll experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person. You can study part time, choosing courses that fit your schedule and align with your professional goals.

As you work through the program, you’ll take courses in essential biology topics like genetics, neurobiology, biochemical engineering, and molecular biology.

11 Online Courses

  • Synchronous and asynchronous formats
  • Fall, spring, January, and summer options

On-Campus Experience

You’ll complete 1 biology elective course in person, at an accelerated or standard pace:

  • An online course with an intensive weekend on campus in fall or spring
  • A 3-week summer session


You’ll complete a 9-month independent research project on a topic in biology in consultation with a thesis director.


The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.

First, you’ll register for and complete 3 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Getting Started

We invite you to explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.

Our Community at a Glance

Students in the biology degree program are accomplished professionals who are pursuing the degree to continue their career advancement or prepare for further advanced study in biology. They work in a variety of fields, including education, research, and healthcare.

Download: Biology Master's Degree Fact Sheet

  • 31

    Average Age

  • 1-2

    Average Courses Taken Each Semester

  • 80%

    Work Full Time

  • 96%

    Would Recommend the Program

  • 85%

    Professional Experience in the Field

  • Most

    Pursued for Career Advancement

science student looking into microscope

Careers & Alumni Outcomes

Biology alumni have gone on to doctoral programs in a variety of fields, including bioethics, biomedical sciences, biomedical forensic sciences, chronic disease epidemiology, education, medical/veterinary sciences, neuroscience, oncology, and pubic health at top research universities.

Roles held by recent graduates include: 

  • Physician
  • Senior Research Technician
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Medical Student

Alumni work at a variety of organizations, including:

  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Harvard University
  • Pfizer

Career Advising and Mentorship

Whatever your career goals, we’re here to support you. Harvard’s Mignone Center for Career Success offers career advising, employment opportunities, Harvard alumni mentor connections, and career fairs like the annual Harvard Biotech, Pharma, & Healthcare Expo on campus at Harvard.

Your Harvard University Degree

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will receive your Harvard University degree — a Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Biology.

Expand Your Connections: the Harvard Alumni Network

As a graduate, you’ll become a member of the worldwide Harvard Alumni Association (400,000+ members) and Harvard Extension Alumni Association (29,000+ members).

Tuition & Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

Our Tuition (2023–24 rate) $3,220 per course
Average Tuition of Peer Institutions $4,330 per course
Average Total Cost $38,640

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid. Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

Learning & Connection

Deep learning springs from human connection. That’s why we work so hard to bring people together — whether in a live virtual classroom or an in-person seminar on campus.

Our approach to online learning fosters interaction without sacrificing flexibility. Each week, you’ll engage with your instructor, participate in peer discussions, and receive one-on-one support from teaching staff—all from your home or office.

Online Learning at Harvard Extension School
Student at computer