Master of Science in the Field of Public Health Microbiology and Emerging Infectious Diseases

Program Co-Directors M. Ghosh and I. Kuo


The mission of the master of science (MS) in the field of public health microbiology and emerging infectious diseases degree program is to provide training to a new generation of public health professionals to expand knowledge and expertise in the areas of disease mechanisms, with an emphasis on microbial pathogens, the use and application of modern biotechnologies, and in epidemiologic skills relevant to the prevention and control of problems in the community arising from infectious diseases.

Graduates of the MS program have an in-depth understanding of the major laboratory, clinical, and public health aspects of humankind’s microbial pathogens, and acquire epidemiologic skills relevant to the prevention and control of problems arising from infectious diseases and modern biotechnologies. Areas of emphasis include the design and analysis of epidemiologic data; emerging infections; tropical diseases; and applications of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. MS graduates are employed in academic and industrial research laboratories, international health agencies, NGOs, and private consulting groups. In addition, they may work in federal, state, and local public health agencies or state and local public health laboratories where their technical expertise and population-based perspective are extremely useful. Students earning this degree help meet a national demand that has reached critical proportions for a trained workforce in biodefense and emerging infections, and an international demand for training in diseases that affect the developing countries.


The goals of the MS program in the field of public health microbiology and emerging infectious diseases are to ensure that graduates:

  • Identify the biological complexities of microbial pathogens and the diseases they cause
  • • Recognize the major epidemiologic and clinical features of microbial disease
  • • Identify how new biotechnologies (including genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics) can be applied to the study and control of microbial pathogens
  • • Develop an in-depth understanding of epidemiologic principles and practice
  • • Apply the principles of epidemiology, microbiology, and public health practice toward the detection, surveillance, investigation, and control of microbial diseases

Visit the program website for additional program information.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 45 credits, including 10 credits in foundational core courses, 23 credits in program-specific courses, 8 credits in elective courses, and 4 credits in field/laboratory experience and final project. 

Foundation courses
PUBH 6002Biostatistical Applications for Public Health
PUBH 6003Principles and Practices of Epidemiology
PUBH 6007Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health
PUBH 6275Essential Public Health Laboratory Skills
PUBH 6080Pathways to Public Health
Program-specific courses
PUBH 6245Infectious Disease Epidemiology
PUBH 6247Design of Health Studies
PUBH 6249Use of Statistical Packages: Data Management and Data Analysis
PUBH 6259Epidemiology Surveillance in Public Health
PUBH 6262Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
PUBH 6276Public Health Microbiology
PUBH 6277Public Health Genomics
PUBH 6278Public Health Virology
MICR 8210Infection and Immunity
8 credits in program-specific elective courses from list below or others with the advance approval of the advisor:
PUBH 6011Environmental and Biological Foundations of Public Health
PUBH 6127Introduction to Environmental Health Microbiology
PUBH 6132Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Low-Income Countries
PUBH 6239Epidemiology of Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases
PUBH 6242Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health: Reading the Research
PUBH 6243Topics in Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health: Reading the Research
PUBH 6250Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS
PUBH 6252Advanced Epidemiology Methods
PUBH 6253Issues in HIV Care and Treatment
PUBH 6263Advanced GIS
PUBH 6271Disaster Epidemiology
PUBH 6299Topics in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
PUBH 6358Vaccine Policy
PUBH 6399Topics in Health Policy (i.e.- Homeland Security and Public Health)
PUBH 6455Global Vaccinology
PUBH 6484Prevention and Control of Vector Borne Diseases
PUBH 6486Global Health Programs and Approaches to the Control of Infectious Diseases
PUBH 6487Emerging Zoonotic Diseases and Global Food Production
MICR 6292Tropical Infectious Diseases
MICR 8230Molecular and Cellular Immunology
Field/laboratory experience and final project
PUBH 6016Field/Laboratory Experience
PUBH 6280MEID Final Project

Graduation requirements 

  1. Graduate Credit Requirement: 45 graduate credits required.
  2. Course Requirements: Successful completion of the required courses.
  3. Grade-Point Requirements: An overall GPA of 3.0 (B average).
  4. Time Limit Requirement: The degree must be completed within five years.
  5. Transfer Credit Policy: Up to 12 credits that have not been applied to a previous graduate degree may qualify to be transferred to the MS program. Credits must have been earned from an accredited institution in the last 3 years with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better.

Students are also expected to participate in a poster presentation at GW Research Day.