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10 Biology Courses for High School Students

If you're a high school student who’s a biology enthusiast, be sure to check out the courses in this list! These courses provide an opportunity for you to deepen your understanding of biological principles, gain practical insights, and showcase your passion for the subject.


These biology courses can significantly boost your academic and professional profile by demonstrating your dedication to the subject and your willingness to explore the topic outside of your high school classroom. College admission committees and potential employers highly value candidates who exhibit a genuine enthusiasm for the subject, making these courses a valuable addition to your application and resume.


Courses from renowned institutions known for their biology curriculum can carry substantial weight. However, regardless of the course's prestige, emphasizing your coursework, achievements, and the skills you've honed through these courses is the key.


You can also read through some great research opportunities in biology, and prestigious biology competitions for high school students!


Location: Harvard University

Cost: $5550

Eligibility: High school students who have completed AP Biology or any other biology/cancer course

Application Deadline: January (Early Deadline) and February (Regular Deadline)

Course Dates: Two weeks in June, July, or August (multiple dates available)


This course explores the main molecular pathways and biomolecular techniques used in the lab through the prism of cancer research.


After a brief review of what cancer is as a disease, you will dive into the molecular pathways seen in oncology and specific molecular techniques. You will begin by looking at how the study of tissue formation during embryogenesis leads to the tumor classification that we now use, and then you will unveil how this was made possible by specific histological and biochemical tools.


Then, you will learn about how genes and protein deregulation control the fate of cancer cells. At the end of the course, you will solve a problem-based learning case designed to help you understand how biomolecular techniques influence cancer medicine.


This course will give you a fresh review on basic cell biology properties, such as cell division, DNA replication, and cell death, but also a solid introduction to oncogenesis with more intricate topics including proto-oncogenes and oncogenes, and the relationship between tumor and the environment, focusing on metastasis process, angiogenesis, and the role of the immune system on cancer. More importantly, the course covers the main laboratory molecular biology techniques used in labs worldwide. This course is a great option for you if you’re interested in pursuing biology related research in the future.


Location: Virtual

Cost: $1950

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors

Application Deadline: March

Course Dates: Two weeks in June, July, or August


If you are considering enrolling in the Johns Hopkins Pre College Neurobiology: Cellular and Systems program, you are in for an enriching experience. This program offers an exceptional opportunity for high school students with a passion for neuroscience to dive deep into the world of cellular and systems neurobiology.


With access to state-of-the-art facilities and an esteemed faculty, you will embark on a journey of exploration, delving into the intricacies of the nervous system, from the molecular and cellular level to the functioning of neural circuits.


Through a combination of engaging lectures, hands-on laboratory work, and interactive discussions, you will gain a solid foundation in the fundamental concepts of neurobiology and develop your research skills.


The program not only broadens your scientific horizons but also allows you to interact with like-minded peers who share your enthusiasm for this fascinating field.


Location: Brown University

Cost: $7038

Program dates: 3 weeks in June - July

Application Deadline: March

Eligibility: High School Students


This course is a unique opportunity for high school students to explore the fascinating and critical field of cancer biology. Taught by accomplished faculty, you'll delve into the intricacies of cancer at the molecular and cellular levels. Through a blend of informative lectures, hands-on laboratory experiments, and interactive discussions, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the underlying mechanisms of cancer development, its diagnosis, and potential treatments.


This course will employ traditional lectures with a focus on active learning, small group discussions, and laboratory exercises. You can expect to spend approximately 1.5 hours per class in the laboratory learning techniques used in the diagnosis, molecular characterization, and treatment of human cancer. The course will also feature guest speakers with various careers related to cancer research.


At the end of the course, you will be able to compare and contrast normal and cancer cell growth, critically read scientific literature, and perform common laboratory techniques used in cancer research. The course not only enriches your scientific knowledge but also fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, you'll have the chance to collaborate with like-minded peers who share your enthusiasm for biomedical research.


Location: Harvard University

Cost: $5550

Eligibility: High school students who have completed AP Biology or any other biology/cancer course

Application Deadline: January (Early Deadline) and February (Regular Deadline)

Course Dates: Two weeks in June or July (multiple dates available)


This course covers human physiology and pathophysiology of selected organs via lectures, readings, and focused group discussions.


The primary focus of the course is on cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, and gastrointestinal systems, as well as endocrinology, cancer, and immunology.


The goal of the course is to prepare you for a pre-medical track, research internships in pathophysiology, or advanced courses in physiology by providing a solid foundation in physiology and pathophysiology tailored according to their background, aptitude, and interests.


While human biology is of prime focus for this course, some examples are drawn from model organisms. In addition, the basics of recent therapeutic approaches, including gene therapy and genome editing, are covered. This course is a great option for you if you are looking to pursue medicine in the future and would like to broaden your knowledge of various pathologies and therapies.


Location: Online

Cost: $3050

Eligibility: 9-12th graders who have completed at least one high school biology course

Application Deadline: March

Course Dates: July 10 - July 21


Stanford Precollege’s Investigations in Neuroscience is designed to serve as a first dive into neuroscience. You will examine the physics and chemistry underlying ion channels, neurons, and how neurons create action potentials, which are the electrical pulses that send information down a neuron’s axon. This course will investigate these concepts through physical models of neurons and interactive online mathematical models of neurons and synapses.


Next, you will apply this information to sensory and motor systems, supplemented by in-home experimentation. You will then analyze brain structure and function, focusing on learning, memory, language, communication, and other behavior.


Finally, you will examine brain development, the question of brain gender, and investigate a variety of brain diseases and disorders. Students will research and present on the neurological disorder of their choice, relating the disease to problems with the ion channels and neurons that we studied at the start of the class.


Location: Online

Cost: Free without certificate and $672.30 with certificate (financial aid available)

Eligibility: Everyone is eligible to enroll in this course.

Application Deadline: Rolling Basis

Course Dates: Self-Paced


HarvardX's "Fundamentals of Neuroscience" is an exceptional online course that offers a deep dive into the intricate world of neuroscience.


Designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to this complex field, the course covers essential topics, such as the structure and function of the nervous system, neural communication, sensory and motor systems, and higher-order cognitive functions. T


his course, offered by Harvard University through edX, is an excellent choice for you if you’re interested in understanding the biological underpinnings of the human brain and how they relate to behavior, cognition, and neurological disorders.


You will benefit from the expertise of Harvard's faculty and access to high-quality learning materials, including engaging video lectures, interactive quizzes, and assignments that reinforce their understanding of key concepts.


Location: Online

Cost: $3050

Eligibility: Grades 8-11 at the time of application

Application Deadline: March

Course Dates: 2 weeks in either June or July


Enrolling in the Stanford Pre College Topics in Bioscience program is an exciting opportunity for you to delve into the fascinating world of life sciences. This program is designed to provide high school students like you with a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of bioscience. Under the guidance of esteemed faculty and researchers, you will explore topics ranging from genetics and molecular biology to ecology and biodiversity.


Through a combination of engaging lectures, hands-on laboratory work, and interactive discussions, you will gain valuable insights into the fundamental principles that govern life on Earth.


You will explore how gas exchange occurs in the lungs, the response of our heart and blood vessels to changes in oxygenation, how genetic material turns into proteins, and the relationship between mRNA and vaccine development.


The program not only enhances your scientific knowledge but also cultivates critical thinking and research skills. Additionally, you will have the chance to collaborate with like-minded peers who share your passion for the life sciences.


Location: Online

Cost: $1950

Eligibility: Current high school juniors and seniors

Application Deadline: March

Course Dates: June 24-July 4


Johns Hopkins Online Precollege's "Anatomy, Physiology, and Disease" is an exceptional course designed to provide high school students with a comprehensive understanding of the human body's intricate systems, their functions, and the fundamental mechanisms of disease. This program offers an engaging and in-depth exploration of anatomy and physiology, laying the groundwork for students to grasp the complexities of health and wellness. Participants learn about the structure and function of various organs and systems, as well as the underlying principles of health and disease.


Through a combination of lectures, hands-on laboratory work (where applicable), and interactive discussions, you will gain insights into the factors influencing human health and the mechanisms of various diseases.


Location: Online

Cost: $3,700 (4-credits) or $7,400 (8-credits)

Eligibility: 16-18 year old high school sophomore or junior

Application Deadline: January (Early) and February (Regular)

Course Dates: July - August or June - August


Harvard Secondary School Online Programs "Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology" is an intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous course designed for high school students with a passion for the life sciences. This program offers an exceptional opportunity for students to explore the intricate world of molecular and cellular biology, providing them with a foundational understanding of the fundamental processes that underpin life.


Harvard's distinguished faculty and comprehensive resources ensure that participants receive top-tier instruction and a comprehensive curriculum. This course not only equips students with a solid knowledge of molecular and cellular biology but also fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for success in the field.


It's a valuable stepping stone for those considering careers in biology, medicine, or related disciplines.


Location: Online

Cost: $3050

Eligibility: Grades 10-11 at the time of application

Application Deadline: March

Course Dates: 2 weeks in either June or July


Enrolling in the Stanford Pre College Investigations in Genetics program is an exciting opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the captivating realm of genetics. This program is meticulously designed to offer high school students like you a comprehensive exploration of the fundamental principles and cutting-edge developments in the field of genetics. Guided by accomplished faculty and researchers, you will embark on a journey through the intricacies of genes, heredity, and genetic variations.


Through a blend of engaging lectures, hands-on laboratory experiments, and thought-provoking discussions, you will acquire a profound understanding of genetic processes, DNA structure, and the role of genetics in various aspects of life, from health to evolution.


You will be able to approach questions such as: What role does genetic mutation and regulation play in disease manifestation? How can we understand the composition of the microbiome, and what insight it can provide regarding disease states?


The program not only enhances your scientific knowledge but also cultivates critical thinking and research skills that are crucial for any aspiring geneticist. Furthermore, you'll have the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded peers who share your passion for genetics, fostering a dynamic and intellectually stimulating learning environment.


One other option - Lumiere Research Scholar Program

If you would like to dive further into research in biology, another way to stand out on applications and resumes, you should also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.


Jessica attends Harvard University where she studies Neuroscience and Computer Science as a Coca-Cola, Elks, and Albert Shankar Scholar. She is passionate about educational equity and hopes to one day combine this with her academic interests via social entrepreneurship. Outside of academics, she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, and running her jewelry business!


Image Source: Harvard University seal


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