How To Get A BioTech Master’s From Harvard On The Cheap

HBS reapplication strategy

Harvard University

Harvard Business School today announced that it would begin offering a new joint master’s degree program in b biotech with Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The new MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences Program carries a price tag of $165,600.

But the more interesting part of the pricing is that the cost of the MS is just 15% more than the cost of a Harvard Business School MBA. That puts a price of just $10,800 a year for the biotech degree, compared to the $72,000 in tuition for the MBA. So while the entire program sports a sticker price tuition of $165,600, only $21,600 represents the cost of the MS. That’s a master’s degree steal by Harvard standards.

The two-year, full-time program begins in August 2020 and will confer both an MBA and a Master of Science through Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB). Harvard is expecting a first cohort of only seven to ten students in its first year so the program will be highly selective. To promote and market the new offering, the schools have put up a slick video touting the benefits of studying in the program.


“Strong candidates will combine a passion for life science and a determination to build sustainable business models around the science,” said Chad Losee, managing director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at HBS, in a statement. “They seek to drive impact at the interface of biological science and society to effect the greatest health outcomes.”

Applicants should already have an undergraduate degree in life sciences or medicine and/or significant work experience in biotechnology or life sciences. HBS said it would consider candidates with non-STEM undergraduate degrees can be considered in “rare circumstances” if they have substantial life sciences background preparation. This may include extensive advanced coursework in the biological sciences or independent laboratory experience or advanced degrees such as an MD or Ph.D.

Students in the new program would complete their degree over two years, augmented by coursework during August at the beginning of the program and during both January terms. Students will have the summer available between year one and year two to pursue an internship in the life sciences or biotech space.


This is the second joint degree program Harvard Business School has offered, following the inaugural MS/MBA launched in 2017 from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), GSAS, and HBS, which confers both a Master of Science in Engineering Sciences and a Master of Business Administration.

According to the announcement, the new degree would equip “students with approaches to the science and medical aspects of entrepreneurial activities and will empower them to build organizations with the potential to transform human health. The curriculum emphasizes an understanding of effective, sustainable structures for discovery and development, the ethical implications of new therapeutics, and equitable access to the fruits of therapeutic discovery.”

“The world needs more leaders able to bridge science and business,” said HBS Dean Nitin Nohria in a statement. “We aim to provide graduates of this new program with tools to understand the most modern biomedical science issues, as well as knowledge of scientific methodologies and timeframes, so they can be effective leaders in this domain.”

Students in the program will receive life-science training in HSCRB, a joint department between Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School.

“This is a collaborative effort from several schools across Harvard to fill a unique need we see in the industry,” added Emma Dench, dean of GSAS. “Currently there is no systematic educational approach to train leaders in this field but students yearn for an opportunity to become conversant in biomedical science and business together. Nearly half of HSCRB graduates are now entering careers in biotech/pharma, biomedical consulting, and finance. We want to prepare them to be leaders in these fields, while helping others that may gravitate towards leadership roles in government and non-profits involved in the life sciences.”


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