Program Description

This master’s degree in biodefense prepares students to become the next generation of biodefense and biosecurity professionals and scholars. Coursework in this program provides students with a foundation in microbiology and biotechnology combined with a broader security and organizational context. Students who have a background in fields such as science, international affairs, political science, law, public policy, and conflict resolution are encouraged to apply to this program.

What it costs

The cost is $689.00 per credit hour for VA state residents or $1,446.75 per credit hour for out-of-state students, plus a $35 per credit hour Distance Learning fee. New Student and other mandatory university and course fees may apply.

Application Deadline

This program has an application deadline of May 1 for Fall and December 1 for Spring.

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Program Summary

100 Percent Online

Program: Biodefense

Degree: MS

College/School: Schar School of Policy and Government

Credits: 36 total

Who should apply?

This program is designed for those who desire to become a professional in biodefense or biosecurity. In this program, students gain a foundation in microbiology and biotechnology, providing you with the skills necessary to work on the frontline of national security and policy.

Why choose George Mason?

  • One of few programs in biodefense nationwide, graduates of this program are in constant demand. Most recently, graduates have held positions with the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Energy, as well as numerous defense contracting companies and research institutions.
  • You can easily transfer courses from some Schar School of Policy and Government certificate programs to complete this MS in Biodefense.
  • Online coursework allows local students to reduce their DC-beltway commute and to complete the program on a part-time or full-time basis to fit your schedule.
  • Students may receive credit for participating in a qualifying internship.
  • This program’s faculty includes high-level professionals from diverse sectors, ranging from the intelligence community and prestigious think tanks to experts in molecular and microbiology, CBRN weapons, and terrorism.

Program requirements may change; please refer to the Mason Course Catalog for the most up-to-date requirements.

Requirements: 36 credits total

  • 18 credits core courses
  • 15 credits elective courses
  • 3 credits capstone course

All coursework for this program can be completed online. Most courses are delivered asynchronously and offerings vary by semester.

Core Courses (18 credits)

  • GOVT 500 The Scientific Method and Research Design | 3 credits
  • BIOD 604 Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Bacteria and Toxins | 3 credits
  • BIOD 605 Emerging Infectious Diseases II: Viral Agents | 3 credits
  • BIOD 609 Biodefense Strategy and Policy | 3 credits
  • BIOD 620 Global Health Security Policy | 3 credits
  • BIOD 710 Health Security Preparedness | 3 credits

Elective Courses (15 credits)

Students will consult with an advisor to select elective courses. Please contact Nicholas Stroup ( for more information.

Capstone Course (3 credits)

  • BIOD 790 Biodefense Capstone | 3 credits

Tuition (2018-2019)

Virginia Resident$689.00 plus fees
Non-Virginia Resident$1,446.75 plus fees
Distance Learning Fee$35
Graduate New Student Fee$60 (non-refundable, one-time fee)

Please refer to the Students Accounts Office website for more information on tuition and fees.

Financial Aid

For information on loans and scholarships, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid. For information regarding grants, tuition waivers and other merit aid, please inquire with your graduate department. Additionally, visit the Office of Military Services for information about Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA), a benefit for eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Career Descriptions

This degree will improve your earning potential in in a variety of government agencies and private sector organizations concerned with biodefense. A small sample of employers of program graduates includes:

  • American Type Culture Collection
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Science Foundation
  • Tauri Group
  • US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy
  • US Department of Defense
  • US Food and Drug Administration

As a Mason student, you may also contact Mason Career Services for more career information and counseling.

Further Studies

You may consider pursing the face-to-face PhD in Biodefense at George Mason University upon completion of the Biodefense, MS.

Program ContactSchar School Admissions
Phone: (703) 993-8099
School ContactSchar School of Policy and Government
Phone: (703) 993-2280
Program Website
Program Blog
Follow Mason Biodefense on Twitter@PandoraReport
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All applicants should review Schar School of Policy and Government Application Requirements. Those with international credentials should follow Schar’s International Applicant Requirements.


  • Hold a bachelors degree from an accredited university
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00 in an undergraduate program and an acceptable GPA in any graduate courses

Application Materials

  • Graduate application
  • Application fee
  • In-state tuition form (if applicable)
  • One official transcript from all colleges and universities attended
  • Goals statement that specifies research interests and professional goals
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official scores from GRE taken within five years prior to date of application
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact or (703) 993-2280.