Master of Science

MS in Global Infectious Disease candidates will receive a unique combination of training that brings together science, health, technology, modeling, social sciences, economics, and governance to support their careers. Each student will learn about the multitude of ways to approach global infectious disease problems, such as through life science research, mathematical modeling of outbreaks, epidemiology of pandemics, and diplomacy to advance health outcomes. Faculty come from diverse backgrounds in the sciences, medicine, health, and policy.

January 15, 2022

Priority MS application deadline for merit aid; application fee waived

April 1, 2022

Final MS application deadline

Who Should Apply for the Master of Science in Global Infectious Disease?

Are you dedicated to interdisciplinary infectious disease solutions? Our program is dedicating to providing students with a broad-based understanding of infectious disease. This program will prepare students to join a growing workforce and find employment in federal, state, or local health departments, emergency management departments, pharmaceutical companies, advocacy organizations, or global health implementers, among others. Because infectious disease challenges are multifactorial, some of the best job applicants will demonstrate a breadth of knowledge about infectious diseases and an ability to problem solve across domains. Individuals dedicated to finding solutions to how the world approaches infectious diseases, from policy development to last-mile drug delivery, are perfect candidates.

Would you like to enhance your scientific knowledge of infectious disease by learning more about data modeling or policy? Upon application to the program, students will choose a concentration in Data Modeling or Science Policy depending upon their background and interests. These concentrations provide for three to four courses of additional study in the chosen area, allowing students to improve their understanding of these areas and their facility with policy or data discourse. Students who wish to pursue advanced study in these areas to really hone their expertise may wish to apply to the GLID PhD program.

Are you wondering how the GLID MS is different from MPH programs? An MS is a science and research degree, while an MPH is a practitioner’s degree. The GLID MS provides a foundation for all students in the science of infectious disease, plus additional advancement of skills and knowledge in policy or data modeling depending on concentration. It is targeted to infectious disease while also being interdisciplinary. Although graduates may choose to become public health practitioners (like those with MPHs), the degree opens up options in research, analysis, advocacy, and other areas in need of infectious disease specialists. The degree will support a research career or additional graduate research in the discipline; it will also support students who enter non-research jobs but who will benefit from the scientific background and analytical thinking skills that the degree provides. Some MPH programs offer policy tracks, but the GLID MPH’s policy focus on infectious disease is unique. Data modeling students will not find an analog in most MPH programs.

Are you interested in internships? Internships are not required, but students may wish to pursue an internship during their course of study. Georgetown’s location in the nation’s capital offers many opportunities. Georgetown faculty can help connect students with organizations such as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at HHS, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Talus Analytics, New York City Health and Hospitals Special Pathogens Unit, USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats program, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Due to the pressures of COVID-19, GLID is not requiring the GRE for students applying to matriculate in Fall 2021 or 2022.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants should have a background in basic science: admission requirements include one semester of undergraduate biology (not botany) and one semester of calculus or statistics.

MS students will apply directly to one of the two following concentrations which each have additional pre-requisites:

  • Data Modeling: Students applying to the modeling concentration are required to have at least two semesters of math or advanced statistics, as well as some experience in computer programming.
  • Science Policy: Students applying to the policy concentration need introductory economics and political science. 

Strong applicants missing a pre-requisite may be admitted with the requirement to take the pre-requisite course at Georgetown or another college or university prior to their matriculation or during the first semester of the program.

Concentration Descriptions

The data modeling concentration focuses on epidemiology and applied data analytics to predict outbreaks and disease spread, and to model the effects of different responses to disease outbreaks. Because it is built upon the GLID core courses, it has more of a focus on infectious disease science than other programs. This concentration emphasizes quantitative science behind disease threats and how they might be assessed and addressed using data modeling and other quantitative methods. Upon completion of the degree, students will be able to describe and analyze patterns of disease in human populations, and identify the determinants and public health impact of infectious disease. They will also understand mechanisms and interaction of factors involved in disease transmission and methods for disease prevention and control. Students will assess how study design elements impact the choice of statistical test, whether and how test assumptions are met, and how to interpret results of tests and models; and will also learn about the use of big data sources in either public health or clinical settings. The concentration strives to produce graduates who are smart consumers of modeling data and effective collaborators with professional modelers. Rather than setting up students for modeling jobs per se, this concentration affords graduates a better understanding of how to interpret and make use of findings from infectious disease models, which is becoming an important function for many governmental and private organizations involved in infectious disease preparedness and response.

Combating infectious diseases requires a multi-prong approach that includes implementation of effective policies. The policy concentration emphasizes the importance of identifying and developing policy tools to deal with the infectious disease threat. Coursework will develop skills for policy analysis through a variety of methods and topics, such as review of domestic and international decision-making bodies, political theory, critical tools for analyses, case studies of policy-level interventions, and related areas like diplomacy, economics, and financing. Upon completion of the degree, students will be able to utilize key methodologies for policy analysis, develop policy options, and assess evidence for utility in supporting policy decisions. They will also recognize and address ethical issues in all areas of global infectious disease, including conduct of research, population interventions, and policy decisions. This concentration will support graduates’ advancement to jobs that require, or would benefit from, employees who are literate in the role of policy in infectious disease preparedness and response, and who can analyze and develop valuable policy approaches.

Photo of students discussing coursework at a table

Course Schedule

All students are required to successfully complete 30 credits for the Master of Science in Global Infectious Disease. Among these, 18 credits are core courses taken by all students regardless of concentration (Policy or Data Modeling). In addition, each concentration has its own required courses that will deepen students’ understanding of their chosen concentration. For Data Modeling students, the core requirements total 30 credits, meeting the required credit allotment. Students wishing to add electives beyond the 30-credit requirement can do so at an additional per-credit fee. For Science Policy students, these courses comprise 8 additional required credits, amounting to a total of 26 required credits and leaving 4 credits to electives of their choice.

Required Courses for all M.S. in Global Infectious Disease students (18 credits)

GLID 501 and GLID 502: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Infectious Disease I & IIFall I & Spring I6
GLID 562: Infection & ImmunityFall I3
EPID 501: Epidemiology IFall I or Fall II3
EPID 503: Biostatistics IFall I or Fall II3
EPID 510 or 511: Research Ethics and Professional Development SeminarFall I or Spring I1
GLID 801: GLID CapstoneFall II2

Required courses for the Policy Concentration (9 credits)

GLID 511: Policy Analysis Spring I3
GLOH 517: Health Economics & Financing Fall II3
STIA 394: Global Health Security & DiplomacyFall II3

Required Courses for the Data Modeling Concentration (12 credits)

MATH 510: Mathematical and Statistical ComputingSpring I3
GLID 522: Modeling of Biological SystemsSpring I3
GLID 521: Informatics of Biological SystemsFall II3
GLID 525: Quantitative Evidence in Infectious Disease ResearchFall II3

Possible Electives

Most Science Policy concentration students will have room for one elective; Data Modeling students are not likely to have room. The following potential list of electives (and others as approved by the program director) could be taken students who have room for an elective, have been waived from certain classes, have transferred in credits, or are willing to take more than 30 credits.

EPID 509: Introduction to Infectious Disease Epidemiology1.5
MICB 515: Biohazardous Threat Agents3
MICB 524: Emerging Infectious Disease2
MICB 619: Virology3
MICB 702: Regulatory Science & Public Health2
STIA 421: Global Health Foundations3
Research/Internship (requires faculty approval).5

Degree Requirements

Completion of the Master of Science in Global Infectious Disease degree requires 30 credits of coursework over 18 months. Completion of a 2-credit capstone project in the final semester of the program serves as a comprehensive examination for the program.

Still unsure?

The Global Infectious Disease curriculum is ideal for individuals who are dedicated to finding interdisciplinary approaches to global infectious disease problems. It offers both fundamental and advanced teaching on topics that include microbiology, epidemiology, data science, and domestic and global policy and governance. This program will prepare successful students to join a growing workforce and find employment in federal, state or local health departments, emergency management departments, pharmaceutical companies, advocacy organizations, or global health implementers. While internships are not required, some students may wish to pursue an internship during their course of study. Georgetown faculty can help connect students with contacts at organizations such as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency at the Department of Health and Human Services, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Talus Analytics, New York City Health and Hospitals Special Pathogens Unit, USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats program, and the National Academies of Science. Check out the webinar below to learn more.

Georgetown University offers potential students an array of options related to infectious disease, health security, and global health career paths. Learn more about many of Georgetown’s global health-related degree programs on the Global Health Initiative web page.

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