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Leaders in Graduate Education

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Gregory Koblentz, Director, Biodefense Graduate Programs
George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government


“Today’s world is so interconnected that anywhere in the world is basically just a flight away from any outbreak or biological threat. To be prepared locally, we need to be prepared globally,” says Gregory Koblentz, associate professor and director of the graduate programs in Biodefense at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.

With a focus on global health security, the Schar School’s Biodefense programs train students to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the full range of biological threats, from naturally occurring pandemics to deliberate threats from biological weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The Biodefense graduate programs include the Master’s in Biodefense, PhD in Biodefense, and Graduate Certificate in Biodefense.

“We aim to produce graduates who can bridge the gap between science and policy,” says Koblentz, who also serves as an associate faculty member of the Schar School’s Center for Security Policy Studies and as a member of the Scientist Working Group on Biological and Chemical Security at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, D.C.

“We aim to produce graduates who can bridge the gap between science and policy.” –Gregory Koblentz, Director, Biodefense Graduate Programs, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

The Schar School’s Master’s in Biodefense program, offered on campus and online, provides students with a foundation in microbiology and biotechnology within a broader security and policy context. Through courses in global health security, disaster response, biosurveillance, nonproliferation, and other areas, the program prepares students for influential roles in public health, policy, and scientific endeavors across the public and private sectors.

The Schar School’s graduate programs meld theory with practice. They challenge students to apply rigorous analysis to complex issues and make a positive contribution to the world. The school’s largest program is the Master’s in International Security, which provides a strong background in theories of international relations and strategic thinking. It offers electives on a wide range of topics, from great power competition to terrorism and WMD, as well as nontraditional threats from crime and corruption, cyberspace, food and natural resource insecurities, and more.

Schar School faculty members are internationally recognized for their scholarship and advisory roles in the public and private sectors. Notable faculty members include:

The Schar School was ranked third in the country by U.S. News & World Report in 2018, thanks to its top-quality program concentrations in National/Homeland Security and Emergency Management. This speaks to the quality of the school’s curriculum in international affairs, national security, public health, and other areas.

The Schar School is located on George Mason’s Arlington, Virginia, campus, in close proximity to downtown Washington, D.C. Classes are offered in the evening, and most programs may be pursued on either a part-time or full-time basis.

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