19 Jun 2019

Harvard Launches New MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences Joint Degree

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BOSTON and CAMBRIDGE—Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) announced today a new joint master’s degree program that aims to prepare future leaders at the interface of life sciences and business. The two-year, full-time program begins in August 2020 and will confer both a Master of Business Administration from HBS and a Master of Science from GSAS. Students in the program will receive business training at HBS and life-science training at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), coordinated by Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) and HBS.

The new MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences Program equips 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. “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.”

“This is a collaborative effort from several schools across Harvard to fill a unique need we see in the industry,” said 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.”

“This program is an elegant fit with the Harvard Medical School therapeutics initiative,” said George Q. Daley, Dean of Harvard Medical School. “It will reside within a powerful academic home at the HMS iHub, where training is at the interface of biomedicine, biotechnology and business. Students will be immersed in the goals of our therapeutics programs and provided with multiple opportunities for translation.”

The Master of Science degree component is led by world-renowned Harvard scientists and clinicians who have extensive biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience. They will give students distilled, focused exposure to a wide range of modern science and show them potential ways to deploy their learnings strategically for the discovery of novel therapeutics.

The MBA component is directed by business school faculty members who are experts in biotechnology leadership, financing, and social ramifications. The seamless integration of all these elements will prepare students for leadership in the biotechnology-related arena in a manner that is not currently available through traditional programs.

MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences students will complete their degree requirements 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 1 and Year 2 to pursue an internship in the life sciences or biotech space.

The program aims to attract a diverse group of outstanding students who have an undergraduate degree in life sciences or medicine or significant workplace experience in biotechnology or life sciences. Admissions officers will consider students applying with non-STEM undergraduate degrees provided they have substantial background preparation in the life sciences. This may include advanced coursework in the biological sciences or independent laboratory experience. These admission requirements will be in addition to those of the HBS MBA 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. “They seek to drive impact at the interface of biological science and society to effect the greatest health outcomes.”

This is the second joint MS/MBA degree program Harvard 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.

Key facts about the program:

In its first year, the program will be highly selective, with a cohort of 7-10 students.

The first MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences cohort will matriculate in August 2020.

Applicants must meet HBS MBA Program admission requirements.

Applicants with non-STEM undergraduate degrees must have substantial background preparation in the life sciences (i.e. advanced coursework or independent laboratory experience).

Candidates can apply in either Round 1 (September 4, 2019) or Round 2 (January 6, 2020).

HBS and GSAS will release admissions decisions in mid-December (Round 1) and March (Round 2).

Interested students can receive updates on the program by indicating their interest through the HBS admissions website.

If you have questions, please email: msmba@hbs.edu.


Mark Cautela

Mary Todd Bergman


Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 200 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and doctoral degrees, as well as more than 70 open enrollment Executive Education programs and 55 custom programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, HBS faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, shaping the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.


Since it was first established in 1872, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) has grown into a leading institution of graduate study. GSAS offering PhD and select master’s degrees in 58 departments and programs that connect students with all parts of Harvard University. Each year, GSAS identifies and attracts the most promising students to form a dynamic and diverse global community, shaping them into visionary scholars, innovative educators, and creative leaders while encouraging them to cross disciplinary boundaries. Graduate students are at the heart of Harvard’s excellence in research and education, studying with distinguished faculty and accessing world-renowned research centers, laboratories, scholarly collections, and museums.


Harvard Medical School has more than 11,000 faculty working in the 11 basic and social science departments comprising the Blavatnik Institute and at the 15 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children’s Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and VA Boston Healthcare System. https://hms.harvard.edu/.


HSCRB has a mission to illuminate the workings of human health and disease, in both basic discovery and clinical settings. As a joint department between Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School, we are committed to transforming medicine by cultivating a deeper knowledge of stem cell and regenerative biology, and to training the next generation to explore new frontiers in biomedical science. HSCRB research bridges academic inquiry and biomedical R&D, with technology and entrepreneurship integrated into many elements of our teaching and research.