March 21, 2019

New Master’s in Global Infectious Disease Bridges Science and Policy

The new Master of Science in Global Infectious Disease (GLID), housed in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, is unique in that it offers specific, in-depth training in infectious disease modeling and science policy.

Globe with surgical mask.
Globe with surgical mask.

Set to launch in fall 2019, this 18-month program offers a unique opportunity for recent graduates as well as early and mid-career professionals to study infectious disease science and policy under the guidance of experienced scholars and practitioners. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to tackle the challenges posed by pathogens and disease outbreaks in our increasingly connected, fast-paced world. 

“The direct and indirect consequences of infectious diseases remain among the top problems facing populations around the world,” said GLID Director Felice Apter, adjunct professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine. “The program in global infectious disease recognizes the reality that combating these diseases requires effective engagement of decision makers from multiple disciplines.”

A Multidisciplinary, Two-Track Curriculum 

Students will enroll directly into one of two concentrations: the infectious disease modeling track or the science policy track. The infectious disease modeling track is a unique master’s level program focused on building an integrated set of skills that are in high demand among the many organizations engaged in fighting infectious disease. The policy track will prepare students to become effective and informed policy makers in Washington, D.C., and beyond. 

“Students in the new M.S. program will understand how models can be used to forecast the impact of a new drug or vaccine on disease spread, before it's ever actually deployed,” said Steven Singer, co-director of the GLID program and professor in the Department of Biology. “They'll also learn about the large number of steps that exist between developing something that works in a lab, to actually having it used in a public health setting.” 

“This is master’s level training that will provide a discrete set of skills that can be taken into the work world,” added Rebecca Katz, GLID co-director, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security. 

Both tracks include a year-long core course consisting of a series of modules, each led by faculty with diverse specialties. The modules will explore the intersection of drugs, vaccines, policy, and health systems, highlighting the innate multidisciplinary quality of the field.

Building a “Close-Knit Student Community” 

Whether enrolled in the disease modeling track or the policy track, students will have the opportunity to intern with government agencies, NGOs, and think tanks during their time at Georgetown.

“We’re in the nation’s capital,” said Katz.

“There’s the ability to not only have a real-life lab in your backyard, but to also engage current decision makers in the training and mentoring of our students.”

As members of the Georgetown community, students can build strong relationships with accomplished faculty in fields such as drug development and policy-making, as well as with their peers.

“As the director of the program, I very much look forward to welcoming our inaugural students with a great set of orientation activities to introduce them to Georgetown and to encourage a close-knit student community; a community that will grow through their training here and provide a strong network for their professional journeys,” said Apter. 

The GLID program is now accepting applications for the fall 2019 semester.

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