Biodefense, MS (Online)

Master the analytical skills and knowledge needed to assess national and international security risks posed by natural and man-made biological threats.

The Master’s in Biodefense program at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government can be pursued entirely online, as well as on-campus or through a combination of both. Online biodefense courses are offered in an asynchronous format – instructors make the class instruction available on Blackboard for students to access at any time from any location. This format provides students with maximum flexibility and allows them to complete the degree from anywhere in the world. These courses use the same instructors and syllabi as our on-campus courses and students must generally adhere to an established schedule of due dates for completing assignments.

Understanding biological threats is more important in today’s world than ever before. The Master's in Biodefense program prepares you to join the next generation of biodefense and global health security professionals and scholars. The multidisciplinary curriculum provides students with a foundation in the science and policy needed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to large-scale threats to health security, such as pandemics, weapons of mass destruction (including biological weapons), terrorism, and natural disasters. Students in the Biodefense Program acquire the knowledge and skills to bridge the gap between scientists and policy-makers in each of these domains. This cutting-edge master’s program is for anyone interested in working on critical issues at the nexus of health, science, and security at the local, national, or international level. The program prepares students for influential roles in the fields of public health, homeland security, national security, and science and technology across the public, non-profit, and private sectors.

Given the multidisciplinary and multidimensional nature of biodefense and global health security, we welcome students with backgrounds and experience in public health, medicine and nursing, the life sciences, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, international affairs, law enforcement, emergency management, biosafety and biosecurity, and national security.

Degree Requirements

The online MS in Biodefense requires the completion of 12 courses (36 total credits of coursework):

Core Courses – 7 courses (21 credits)

BIOD 604 – Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Bacteria and Toxins
BIOD 605 – Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Viral Agents
BIOD 609 – Biodefense Strategy
GOVT 500 – The Scientific Method & Research Design
BIOD 620 – Global Health Security Policy
BIOD 710 – Health Security Preparedness
BIOD 790 – Global Health Security Capstone 

Elective Courses – 5 courses (15 credits) selected from the following:

BIOD 610 – Advanced Topics in Global Health Security
BIOD 621 – Ethics and International Security
BIOD 622 – Negotiating in the International Arena
BIOD 705 – Intelligence: Theory and Practice
BIOD 706 – Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons Policy and Security
BIOD 709 – Nonproliferation and Arms Control
BIOD 722 – Examining Terrorist Groups
BIOD 725 – Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction
BIOD 726: Threat to Global Food Security
BIOD 751 – Biosurveillance
BIOD 760 – National Security Technology and Policy
BIOD 762 – Biotechnology and Society
BIOD 766 – Development of Vaccines and Therapeutics
GOVT 540 – International Relations
GOVT 640 – Strategic Responses to Terrorism: Coordinated Decision Making
GOVT 641 – Global Governance
GOVT 741 – Advanced Seminar in International Politics
GOVT 742 – International Negotiation
GOVT 744 – Foundations of Security Studies
GOVT 745 – International Security
PUAD 630 – Emergency Planning and Preparedness
PUAD 631 – Disaster Response Operations and Recovery
PUAD 635 – Emergency Preparedness: Interagency Communication and Coordination
PUAD 637 – Managing Homeland Security
PUBP 710 – Civil Conflict
PUBP 756 – Global Medical Systems Policy Analysis
PUBP 757 – Public Policy in Global Health and Medical Practice
PUBP 758 – Global Threats and Medical Policy
PUBP 765 – Human Smuggling and Trafficking
PUBP 766 – Modern Counterinsurgency: Theory and Practice
PUBP 767 – Global Comparative Medical Practices, Ethics, and Law
PUBP 770 – Global Health and Medical Policy Analysis
PUBP 783 – Global Governance



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