The Master of Science in Biodefense prepares students to become the next generation of biodefense and biosecurity professionals and scholars. This program provides students with a foundation in microbiology and biotechnology combined with a broader security and organizational context.


Admission Requirements

Please see Graduate Admissions for information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Specific information on application requirements and deadlines for the Biodefense master's program may be found on the Schar admissions website.

Completed applications for fall and spring semesters are reviewed on a rolling basis, with late applications considered on a space-available basis. Students may be admitted for nondegree study and apply a limited number of credits toward the master's degree should they choose to apply to the degree program later, in accordance AP.6.4.1 Change from Nondegree Status.


Academic Policies

Students admitted to a Schar program will be terminated from the Schar school upon receiving one grade of F and are no longer eligible to take courses in the school. Per university regulation, students are terminated from the university after accumulating grades of F in two courses or 9 credits of unsatisfactory grades in graduate courses. 

For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Banner Code: PP-MS-BIOD

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 36

The schedule of courses that students plan on taking should be approved in an education plan designed by the students and their advisor during the student’s first semester. Students must receive the permission of their advisor to take courses outside of the Biodefense Program.

Core Courses

Students are strongly encouraged to take the core courses as early as possible because they provide the foundation for the rest of the program.

BIOD 604Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Bacteria and Toxins3
BIOD 605Emerging Infectious Diseases II: Viral Agents3
BIOD 609Biodefense Strategy3
BIOD 620Global Health Security Policy3
BIOD 710Health Security Preparedness3
GOVT 500The Scientific Method and Research Design3
Total Credits18


Select 15 credits from the following: 115
Introductory Data Analysis for Policy and Government
Topics in Public Policy
Global Medical Systems Policy Analysis
Public Policy in Global Health and Medical Practice
Global Threats and Medical Policies
Human Smuggling and Trafficking
Ethics in Health Policy
Health Policy Analysis
Global Governance
International Relations
GOVT 641
International Negotiation
Foundations of Security Studies
International Security
Emergency Planning and Preparedness
Disaster Response Operations and Recovery
Emergency Preparedness: Interagency Communication and Coordination
Managing Homeland Security
ANTH 631
Global Health
Topics in Policy and Government
Total Credits15

Other courses must be approved by the program advisor. Up to six elective credits may be taken outside of Schar.


BIOD 790Global Health Security Capstone3
Total Credits3

Bachelor's Degree (any)/Biodefense, Accelerated MS


Highly qualified undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated Biodefense, MS. If accepted, students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen major and a Biodefense, MS with a reduced number of overall credits and within a reduced time frame, sometimes within five years.

For more detailed information, see AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.


Please see the Graduate Admissions for general information on graduate admission to George Mason University. Information specific to the accelerated MS program may be found on the Schar website.

To be considered for this accelerated master's program, applicants must have completed a minimum of 60 credits and have a minimum GPA of 3.50 in all coursework applied to the degree.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students may complete up to fifteen graduate credits of which twelve may be counted toward both the bachelor's and master's degrees. Remaining credits may be held as reserve graduate credit and count only toward the master's degree. The courses include BIOD 604 Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Bacteria and ToxinsGOVT 500 The Scientific Method and Research DesignBIOD 605 Emerging Infectious Diseases II: Viral AgentsBIOD 620 Global Health Security Policy and BIOD 609 Biodefense Strategy. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in these courses and in coursework applied to their major.

Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, students must submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form to apply credits to the master's degree. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree (excluding summer).