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

Program Co-Directors A. Castel, J. Jordan


The mission of the master of science (M.S.) 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 M.S. program will 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 will include: the design and analysis of epidemiologic data; emerging infections; tropical diseases; and applications of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. M.S. graduates will be 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 will be extremely useful. Students earning this degree will 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 M.S. program in the field of public health microbiology and emerging infectious diseases are to ensure that graduates:

  • Understand the biological complexities of microbial pathogens and the diseases they cause;
  • Recognize the major epidemiologic and clinical features of microbial disease;
  • Understand 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 practices;
  • Apply the principles of epidemiology, microbiology, and public health practice toward the detection, surveillance, investigation, and control of microbial diseases.

Prerequisite requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in the life sciences or at least 12 credits in the biological sciences other than botany
  • Chemistry  ≥ 3 credits
  • 1 semester of calculus

Course requirements

 Most students will be able to complete the 45 credit degree in approximately two to three years, depending on the course load taken each semester. 

Foundation courses (10 credits)
PUBH 6002Biostatistical Applic for PubH
PUBH 6003Prin & Practice/Epidemiology
PUBH 6004Environmental and Occupational Health in a Sustainable World
PUBH 6275Essential PH Lab Skills
Required program specific courses (22 credits)
PUBH 6245InfectiousDisease Epidemiology
PUBH 6247Design of Health Studies
PUBH 6249StatPackages/DataMgt&DataAnlys
PUBH 6259Epid Surveillance/PublicHealth
PUBH 6262Intro-Geog Information Systems
PUBH 6276Health Microbiology
PUBH 6277Public Health Genomics
PUBH 6278Public Health Virology
MICR 8210Infection and Immunity
Program-specific elective courses
9 credits from the following:
PUBH 6127Germs: An Introduction to Environmental Health Microbiology
PUBH 6132Design, Implementation and Evaluation of Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programs
PUBH 6239Epidemiology of Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6243Topics:ClinicalEpi&DecAnalysis
PUBH 6250Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS
PUBH 6252Advanced Epidemiology Methods
PUBH 6253Issues in HIV Care & Treatment
PUBH 6261Epi-Bio Skills Bldg Seminar
PUBH 6263Advanced GIS
PUBH 6270HIV/AIDS Surveillance
PUBH 6271Disaster Epidemiology
PUBH 6299Topics in Epi/Bio
PUBH 6358Vaccine Policy
PUBH 6399Topics in Health Policy (i.e.- Homeland Security and Public Health)
PUBH 6484Prevention and Control of Vector Borne Diseases
PUBH 6487Emerging Zoonotic Diseases & Global Food Production
MICR 6292Tropical Infectious Diseases
Field/laboratory experience and final project (4 credits)
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 four 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 will also be expected to participate in a poster presentation at GW Research Day.