Nanocourses

What is a Nanocourse?

Nanocourses are quick mini-courses lasting for two days.  They meet for a minimum of 6 hours over a period of those 2 days. The first session is lecture-based and is taught by 2 or more faculty members over 3-4 hours.  The lectures are contiguous and aim to provide an advanced level of knowledge on current research areas, specific experimental approaches and new technologies. The lecture-based session is open to the entire Harvard community. The second session is discussion-based and is intended only for students taking the nanocourse for credit. The format of this second session, which lasts for 3 hours, is flexible. It may include discussion of relevant papers, brainstorming about future research, or whatever is deemed appropriate by the course director to assess student progress.

The idea behind creating this teaching tool was to develop a curriculum that is responsive to the changing nature of any scientific field, takes maximum advantage of the expansive, scientific expertise of the faculty across the Harvard campus, and appeals to a wide-variety of students, post-docs, fellows and faculty who don’t traditionally participate in classes.

Since nanocourses are primarily offered by DMS, the nancourse process will be administered by DMS.  Please see below for the information we have adopted for the BPH Program.


Course Registration:

Nanocourse enrollment is required only for students who wish to accrue credit.  Students are required to enroll on the website (via DMS) in advance of the course (as specified per course on the web site). Students may drop a course using the website, up to one week prior to the first session of the course. Failure to attend or complete the course will result in an incomplete grade for students who do not drop the course one week before the course date.  An incomplete grade will also be given to students who do not attend both days of a nanocourse for which they have enrolled if they do not drop the course as specified above.

Enrollment vs. Registration

Enrollment = Putting your name on a class roster through this website.

Registration = Officially registering for academic credit on your Study card.

Enrolling in a nanocourse means that you clicked on the enrollment link below a course that you want to take, and that your name has been added to an unofficial roster.  It does NOT mean that you have registered for credit on your account.

Registration happens when you have taken enough nanos to receive credit.

Course Credit for BPH students:
Although students are encouraged to take as many nanocourses as they please, official credit will be granted for up to six nanocourses only, which is the equivalent of 4 credits at GSAS/FAS. Students can choose to receive:

  • 2 credits for 3 Nanocourses (3 nanocourses will be the equivalent to a quarter course credit) or
  • 4 credits for 6 Nanocourses

Each/both of which could count as your “Additional Coursework” requirement.

Students must participate in all sessions of a nanocourse and complete all the assignments in order to qualify for credit.

What to put on your Study Card in order to receive credit:
For 3 Completed Nanocourses: Once you have completed 3 nanocourses you can put the quarter course listing below on your study card to receive credit:

*Cell Biology 300qc. Advanced Topics in Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology
Catalog Number: 17665
David Lopes Cardozo (Medical School) 5995

For 6 Completed Nanocourses: Once you have completed 6 nanocourses (if you haven’t already received a quarter course credit for any of them) you can put the half course listing below on your study card to receive credit-

*Cell Biology 399. Nanocourses
Catalog Number: 0087
David Lopes Cardozo (Medical School) 5995


Add/drop forms can be found in the DMS offices locatedin TMEC bldg., room 435.

Note that each nanocourse has a specific add/drop date which occurs one week prior to the first session date


Important information to know:

If a class is full with a waitlist the instructor reserves the right to give the Division of Medical Sciences students priority over non-DMS students, Post-Docs and those auditing the course.

Click here to view the DMS policies for nanocourses,which the BPH program is adopting.

Click here for Nanocourse FAQ.

Check the Nanocourses offered website for updated courses throughout the year (Please note that new nanocourses may be developed during the year)

Questions? Concerns? Please contact DMS_Courses@hms.harvard.edu / (617) 432-0605