PhD in Biodefense
Gain a background in the science and technology of biodefense and specialized areas of threat assessment, non-proliferation, and medical and public health preparedness, preparing you to serve as a scholar and professional in this rapidly evolving field.
Mason developed the biodefense doctoral program in response to biological threats: biological warfare, bioterrorism, and infectious diseases. The PhD program in biodefense is designed to prepare you to serve as a scholar and a professional in the fields of biodefense and biosecurity. Other areas of biodefense including nonproliferation, intelligence and threat assessment, and medical and public health preparedness are integral parts of the program. Because of the breadth of the program, students with backgrounds in science and other areas, such as international affairs, political science, law, public policy, and conflict resolution, are encouraged to apply. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Schar School No. 2 best in the U.S. for security studies programs.
KEY RESEARCH AREAS
Biodefense doctoral students take on a broad range of topics and biodefense challenges, bridging the gap between scientists and policy-makers. As a part of the program, students can select one of three fields for their specialization:
- International Security
- Technology and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
- Terrorism and Homeland Security
The biodefense doctoral program requires 72 credits of coursework. This is divided among core courses, a field of specialization, supporting courses that can be taken outside the department, and dissertation guidance. The program may be completed on either a part-time or full-time basis. Learn more about the course schedule and details in the current PhD Student Handbook.
- Six required courses in core biodefense, international security, and public policy fields
- One additional Advanced Research Course focused on qualitative or quantitative research
- Two required field seminars and 2 elective courses in one of the three fields of specialization (International Security; Terrorism & Homeland Security; Technology & WMD)
- Two elective courses from fields other than your chosen field of specialization
- Additional Electives (typically 3 to 7 courses, chosen in consultation with an advisor) to complete the remaining 72 credits required for degree completion
- Dissertation focused on biodefense topic to be presented to PhD committee
Browse course descriptions and learn more about the biodefense doctoral program's degree requirements.