Where Science Meets Security
Gain the analytical skills and knowledge needed to assess national and international security risks posed by natural and man-made biological threats with the Master of Biodefense.
Understanding biological threats is more important in today’s world than ever before. The Master of Biodefense at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government bridges the gap between science and policy, providing you with a foundation in microbiology and biotechnology combined with a broader security and organizational context.
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Skills You'll Gain
We prepare the next generation of biodefense professionals and academics through four key program pillars:
- Assessing risk
- Analyzing policy
- Developing strategy
- Bridging the gap
A Degree That Works With Your Schedule
You can earn this degree:
- Entirely online in an asynchronous format
- Through a combination of on-campus and online classes
- Part-time or full-time
Classes are offered in the evening to accommodate working students.
D.C. and Maryland Pricing Discount
Master's or certificate students who reside in Washington, D.C., and Maryland can qualify for a tuition rate is equivalent to the in-state rate! This new policy applies to Schar School students who begin their degree in fall 2023 or later.
Where Our Recent Graduates Work
Data gathered from recent graduates from 2017-21
Top Employers of Recent Graduates
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Food and Drug Administration
- General Services Administration
- The Geneva Foundation
- MIT Lincoln Laboratory
- U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Geological Survey/Department of the Interior
The median salary of program graduates from 2017-21 was $87,000.
The Master of Science in Biodefense program requires 12 courses (36 total credits), including seven core courses:
- Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Bacteria and Toxins
- Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Viral Agents
- Biodefense Strategy
- The Scientific Method & Research Design
- Global Health Security Policy
- Health Security Preparedness
- Global Health Security Capstone
Interested in a graduate certificate instead?
Our graduate certificates require just five courses (15 credits) that can be applied to a master's if you choose to continue on.
With the Schar School's prime location in the Washington, D.C. area, students gain access to leading practitioners who are internationally recognized for their scholarship and advisory roles in the public and private sectors. These faculty bring real-world experience to the classroom, providing you with the mentorship and skillsets needed to advance in your career.
Notable faculty members in the biodefense program include program director Gregory Koblentz, Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, Trevor Thrall, and Bonnie Stabile.