CRISPR: Gene-editing Applications online short course

Course starts 11 March 2020

Course information

Registration Closes:
3 March 2020
Course Starts:
11 March 2020
8 weeks, excluding orientation
7 - 10 hours per week, entirely online
USD $3,000
Payment Options
Harvard's VPAL
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CRISPR shares the same space as Blockchain and IOT payments as one of the most disruptive innovations of recent years. Although still in its relative infancy, the global market of this gene-editing tool is expected to grow to approximately $10 billion by 2025.*

The CRISPR Gene-editing Applications online short course from Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), in association with HarvardX, provides decision makers and investors interested in the biotechnology industry with the opportunity to learn more about CRISPR in relation to various industries such as biotech, healthcare, and agriculture. You’ll also investigate the CRISPR gene-editing tool, sometimes referred to as CRISPR Cas9.

From combating cancer and optimizing agriculture, to treatment of genetic disease and ethical considerations, this genetic engineering course will give you an understanding of the CRISPR landscape and its future potential.


Course Trailer

Download course prospectus

What will set you apart

Earn a premier certificate from Harvard’s VPAL in this online course and be empowered to:

  • Understand CRISPR Cas9 technology and its potential application in various industries like biofuel, agriculture, and healthcare
  • Argue about the applications of CRISPR in the biotechnology industry and how this will assist the development of disease-resistant cultivars, improve food yields, and allow biofuels to become a viable alternative energy source
  • Explore the possibilities of curing inherited genetic disorders, treating infectious diseases, such as HIV, and advancing the fight against cancer, by using real-world case studies
  • Discover the significant ways in which CRISPR can be applied to different industries, and leave equipped with knowledge to further explore market opportunities as investors and venture capitalists
  • Consider the ethical implications CRISPR genetic manipulation raises as the technology is developed

Course curriculum

Understand the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and its potential to cure disease, and learn the vocabulary needed to better communicate your company’s biotechnology interventions to decision makers, as you follow your learning path through the weekly modules of this online 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 course is guided by Harvard University’s VPAL faculty and industry experts who will share their experience and in-depth subject 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

“Having certificates that accurately document how you have evolved over time, I feel, will be invaluable over the course of a career” — Prof. Robert A. Lue, Faculty Director of HarvardX

This premier certificate is awarded by Harvard University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning, in association with HarvardX. All certificate costs, including packaging and international delivery, are included in the course fee.

Disclaimer: The visual representation of the certificate here serves as an exemplar, and may be subject to change at the discretion of the University.


When do I start?

Our next available short course starts 11 March 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 a Course Consultant 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 Manager 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 Manager, you can use the Online Campus to get in touch.

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