CRISPR: Gene-editing Applications online short course

Course starts 12 August 2020

Course information

Registration Closes:
4 August 2020
Course Starts:
12 August 2020
8 weeks, excluding orientation
7–10 hours per week, self-paced learning online
USD $2,400
Payment Options
Harvard's VPAL


CRISPR shares the same space as blockchain and IoT payments as one of the most disruptive innovations of recent years. This gene-editing tool has already impacted industries such as biofuel, agriculture, and healthcare, with its global market potential growing exponentially.

This online short course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the CRISPR Cas9 gene-editing technology, its vast applications and the market opportunities it presents. With a specific industry focus and through real-world case studies, you’ll explore the applications of CRISPR in biotechnology and how it will assist the development of disease-resistant cultivars, improve food yields, and allow biofuels to become a viable alternative energy source. You’ll analyze the possibilities of curing inherited genetic disorders, treating infectious diseases and advancing the fight against cancer. Equipped with industry insight into the ethical implications of gene-editing, this course will give you a holistic understanding of the CRISPR landscape and its future potential.

Download course prospectus

What will set you apart

On completion of this course, you’ll walk away with:

  • The ability to understand CRISPR technology and its potential application in the biofuel, agriculture, and healthcare industries.
  • The knowledge to identify market opportunities and consider the ethical implications of genetic manipulation.
  • The industry insight and technological understanding to better communicate your company’s potential biotech initiative to business decision makers.

Is this course for you?

This is not a technical course and no lab skills or prior knowledge is required to participate. This course gives a comprehensive overview of the CRISPR landscape for investors or entrepreneurs looking for the knowledge needed to make strategic business decisions about this disruptive technology. Those working in biotechnology or pharmaceutical product development, sales, or manufacturing will also find value as the content explores the future applications of CRISPR technology across the economy. Professionals involved in policy and law can also benefit from building a greater understanding of the ethical considerations regarding CRISPR technology.

Course curriculum

Explore the possibilities of CRISPR as you follow your learning path through the weekly modules of this online short course.

  • Orientation module Welcome to your Online Campus
  • Module 1 Basic principles of molecular biology
  • Module 2 CRISPR and genetic engineering
  • Module 3 Treating genetic diseases
  • Module 4 Promoting resistance to infectious diseases
  • Module 5 Combating cancer through research and treatment
  • Module 6 Optimizing and fighting microorganisms: the food, health, and energy industries
  • Module 7 Improving agriculture: optimizing crops
  • Module 8 The ethics of using CRISPR

Understand how CRISPR works

This Harvard VPAL online short course is delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter. Learn from industry thought leaders as you analyze various market segments and sub-segments, including healthcare, agriculture and biofuel, to determine the potential of CRISPR and gene modification in general. 

Your Course Convener

The design of this online short course is guided by faculty from Harvard's Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), as well as industry experts, who will share their experience and in-depth knowledge with you throughout the course.

Alain Viel

Alain Viel 

Senior Lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Director of the Northwest
Undergraduate Laboratories, Harvard University


Head Tutor


Soufiane Aboulhouda 

PhD candidate, Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program at Harvard University

Earn your premier certificate

Study CRISPR Cas9 gene-editing technology and earn an official premier certificate from Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), in association with HarvardX.

Your certificate will be issued in your legal name and couriered to you upon successful completion of the course, as per the stipulated requirements.


When do I start?

Our next available short course starts 12 August 2020.

Get More Information

Enter your information below to view the course prospectus from GetSmarter.

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Still have a question? These may help


    You can either pay your tuition fees in full before the course starts, or you may opt for a two-part payment plan for courses nine weeks and shorter. For courses ten weeks or longer, there is a three-part payment plan available. To find out more on payment options please visit our Payment and Financing page.

    If you want to find out more about any of these options or you want to know which you qualify for please get in contact with an Enrolment Advisor here.


    GetSmarter's learning model is designed to help you, as a working professional, improve your skills without compromising on work and family responsibilities. The course work is broken up into weekly, manageable bite-sized modules, with incremental deadlines, designed to help you pace yourself over the duration of the course and allow you the legroom to work when it suits you best.

    At the beginning of each week you'll be presented with all the lectures, notes and assignments necessary for completion. You also have access to your Success Advisor who will help you set goals and track key milestones, manage your time, and field any administrative requests you might have.


    By improving your skills and industry knowledge, you'll be having an influence on the success of your organisation.

    Why wouldn't you ask your boss to help you fund your studies if it's going to have an impact on the way you do business?

    37% of our past students receive financial assistance from their employers. You can ask for help, too. Here is a guide to show you how to receive financial assistance from your employer.


    The Online Campus will be your virtual classroom for the duration of your course. Through its easy-to-use interface you'll have access to a diverse variety of course content formats, including: interactive video lectures, module notes, practice quizzes, Prezis, assignment briefs, and additional web resources.

    On the Online Campus, you'll also be able to ask questions and interact with your fellow students and Head Tutor through the Online Campus discussion forums. If you're experiencing tech issues or need advice from your personal Success Advisor, you can use the Online Campus to get in touch.