Graduate Certificate in Biodefense

Graduate Certificate in Biodefense


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The Graduate Certificate in Biodefense at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government provides an interdisciplinary introduction to man-made and natural biological threats, including a background in the science and technology of biodefense and the specialized areas of threat assessment, non-proliferation, and medical and public health preparedness.




  • Completion Requirements: 5 courses (15 credits) listed below
  • Duration: 1 to 1.5 years on average
  • Semester of Entry: fall and spring

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Notice:
Mason has moved to virtual instruction for its on-campus programs for the spring 2020 semester. Faculty and staff who normally work on-campus are teleworking and are fully available to support students. Visit Mason's Coronavirus Information page for more information, including affected dates and frequently asked questions. For questions as a prospective student, please don't hesitate to contact the Schar School Office of Graduate Admissions at

Certificate Program Requirements

REQUIRED COURSES (2 courses | 6 credits)

Students are required to take the following two courses:

BIOD 604 – Emerging Infectious Diseases I: Bacteria and Toxins
Covers the microbiology, pathogenesis, clinical effects, and epidemiology of bacteria and toxins that pose threats to global health or can be utilized as biological weapons.

BIOD 609 – Biodefense Strategy
Introduces students to the biodefense and biosecurity strategies and policies of the United States, other nations, and international organizations. Evaluates the effectiveness of these policies in strengthening defenses, improving intelligence, increasing oversight, enhancing nonproliferation, and reinforcing norms. Examines the interaction of biodefense and biosecurity with homeland, national, and international security.

ELECTIVE COURSES (3 courses | 9 credits)

Select three elective courses of your choosing. Courses vary semester to semester, but past elective courses available to students have included:

Students may also take other Schar School courses with prior written approval of program director


Earn your master's degree faster by starting with a certificate program. Students can apply up to 12 credits from a certificate program toward a Schar School master's degree upon acceptance into a master's program. Upon completion of this certificate, many students go on to pursue the Schar School's Master's in Biodefense and Master's in International Security degree programs, among others.


Have questions about this certificate program? Contact the Admissions Office.