Infectious Disease

Major: Infectious Disease
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS)
Calendar Type: Semester
Minimum Required Credits: 36.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 26.0508
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 19-1022; 19-1029

About the Program

Mission Statement

The Master of Science in Infectious Disease program, offered by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Disease (IMMID), provides graduate-level training in the area of infectious disease. Classroom activities, online learning, and research experiences cover fundamentals of molecular biology, cell biology, and immunology, as well as basic science, translational, and clinical aspects of diseases caused by important infectious pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, HIV, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), malarial parasites, and influenza virus. Elective courses offer highly focused studies of topics relevant to infectious disease, including: vaccines and vaccine development; viral, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal pathogens; emerging pathogens; principles of biocontainment; and emerging biomedical interventions for infectious diseases.

The program is designed to prepare students for careers in infectious disease in government, industry, and academic settings. The program is ideally suited for enhancing the scientific credentials of recent college graduates, early career scientists, premedical students, employees in industry, and clinical laboratory technicians.


This non-thesis degree program comprises numerous required and elective graduate courses, as well as an elective research internship that can be completed during the course of the training program. Although most learners will complete the program in two years (four semesters) as full-time students, many opt to enroll on a part-time basis, taking three or more years to complete the degree program. Elective courses available to students in the program provide additional knowledge and expertise in areas relevant to infectious disease research, such as emerging infectious diseases, vaccines effective against infectious pathogens, biotechniques and laboratory research, and principles of biocontainment. Graduate courses in the curriculum will involve completion of examinations and other assessments, participation in seminars and journal clubs, and (if applicable) performance in the experiential learning component. The degree is conferred upon successful completion of a minimum of 36.0 credits of course work.

Learning Options

The Master of Science in Infectious Disease Program is available in two learning formats. Students can enroll in the face-to-face/hybrid program and attend classes on the Center City and Queen Lane campuses of the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Most classes are held in the late afternoon/early evening to facilitate participation of working professionals. Required and elective courses are offered both live (face-to-face) and online, providing the student the flexibility to formulate a hybrid plan of study that includes a mix of traditional, face-to-face courses and online courses.

The online degree program, which is offered through Drexel University Online, features the same curriculum as the face-to-face/hybrid program, including the experiential research internship. Online courses are designed with activities that maximize interactions among students and faculty, including live web sessions with faculty and guest speakers.

These different program formats provide students with maximum flexibility to meet their schedule demands and accommodate their learning preferences.

Experiential Learning

A signature element of the Program is the Research Internship in Infectious Disease. The internship encompasses one of three specific areas of research in the field of infectious disease:

  • basic science discovery involving infectious bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic pathogens that cause human disease;
  • translational research focused on the development of new approaches to diagnose, prevent, or treat infectious diseases; and
  • clinical infectious disease research focused on infectious diseases in humans.

Many students choose to engage in a hands-on research internship consisting of a 16-week research project in a laboratory at an academic institution or at a biotechnology or biopharmaceutical company. Students in the face-to-face program can choose to work in a laboratory at Drexel University or at other locations in the Greater Philadelphia area. Students in the online program can make arrangements with academic institutions or biotechnology companies at their own locations. Alternatively, traditional and online students may choose to engage in independent research projects with the approval and supervision of the Program Director.

Because the Research Internship in Infectious Disease is an elective course, students can instead choose to earn all 12 elective credits by completing lecture-based elective courses offered as part of the curriculum.

Additional Information

For more detailed information about the curriculum and program goals, please contact:

Fred Krebs, Ph.D. (Director)

Visit the websites for the face-to-face/hybrid and online Master of Science in Infectious Disease programs for more information. For detailed information regarding application deadlines, the online application process, and specific requirements for applying to the College of Medicine, start by visiting Drexel University's Infectious Disease page.

Admission Requirements

For acceptance into the Master of Science in Infectious Disease program, the applicant must have completed a four-year biology or chemistry-related BA or BS degree program with undergraduate coursework in biology, microbiology, immunology, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, and/or other related subjects. Although a minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is strongly desired, an applicant with a lower cumulative GPA will be considered if other strengths are apparent in the application.

To be considered for acceptance, an applicant must provide the following as part of a complete online application for admission:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • A personal statement that describes your career goals and reasons for pursuing an MS in Infectious Disease
  • A current curriculum vitae (cv) or resume
  • Letters of recommendation from at least three instructors or professionals

Although standardized test scores are not required for admission, official copies of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) will be considered if submitted as part of the application.

International applicants (non-United States citizens) must meet the same requirements for admission as students from the United States. In addition, applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate the ability to speak, write, and understand the English language by submitting an acceptable score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Acceptance into the program will be decided by considering the sum of the applicant’s undergraduate curriculum, cumulative GPA, GRE/MCAT scores (if provided), recommendation letters, and relevant research or professional experiences.

Additional Information

Visit the websites for the face-to-face/hybrid and online Master of Science in Infectious Disease programs for more information. For detailed information regarding application deadlines, the online application process, and specific requirements for applying to the College of Medicine, start by visiting Drexel University's Infectious Disease page.

Degree Requirements

Courses with an MIIM or IDPT designation are offered by the Drexel University College of Medicine and are taught on a semester schedule (fall and spring). Courses are available in traditional (face-to-face), hybrid, and/or online formats. Some of these traditional courses and hybrid courses are offered as evening classes at locations on either the Center City Campus or the Queen Lane Campus. While many activities in online courses can be completed asynchronously (i.e., at times that you choose), some courses include synchronous activities for which students join the class at specified days and times (as indicated in the course syllabus).

At least 36.0 credits are required to complete the program and earn a Master of Science in Infectious Disease.

Required Courses
IDPT 500SResponsible Conduct of Research2.0
or MIIM 503S Biomedical Ethics
IDPT 501SBiostatistics I2.0
or MIIM 517S Applied Statistics for Biomedical Sciences
MIIM 527SImmunology, Immunopathology and Infectious Diseases3.0
MIIM 530SFundamentals of Molecular Medicine I3.0
MIIM 531SFundamentals of Molecular Medicine II2.0
MIIM 533SMolecular Medicine Journal Club II1.0
MIIM 534SMolecular Medicine Journal Club I1.0
MIIM 545SIntroduction to Infectious Diseases4.0
MIIM 606SMicrobiology and Immunology Seminar1.0
MIIM 653SClinical Correlations in Infectious Disease3.0
Science Communication and Outreach
Biotechniques I: Molecular and Genomic Methods
Biotechniques II: Immunological Methods
Vaccines and Vaccine Development
Principles of Biocontainment
Fundamentals of Molecular Medicine III
Viruses and Viral Infections
Bacteria and Bacterial Infections
Mycology and Fungal Infections
Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases
Molecular Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis
Emerging Infectious Diseases
Biomedical Research I
Biomedical Research II
Advanced Molecular Virology
Research Internship in Infectious Disease
Emerging Biomedical Interventions for Human Disease
Current Concepts in Molecular Medicine I
Molecular Genetics
Total Credits36.0

Sample Plans of Study

The following plans of study illustrate two possible paths to degree completion and graduation. Plans can also be composed for students starting the program in the spring semester and for students who want to complete the degree over more than three years. Individualized plans of study are constructed cooperatively between accepted students and the academic advisor prior to the start of the first semester. Plans of study can also be modified during a student's progress through the program to accommodate changes in a student's preferences or extracurricular circumstances.


First Year
Required Course(s):Required Course(s):
IDPT 500S or MIIM 503S2.0IDPT 501S or MIIM 517S2.0
MIIM 527S3.0MIIM 531S2.0
MIIM 530S3.0MIIM 533S1.0
MIIM 534S1.0MIIM 545S4.0
 9 9
Second Year
Required Course(s):Elective(s):
MIIM 532S2.0MIIM 524S3.0
MIIM 606S1.0MIIM 652S6.0
MIIM 653S3.0 
MIIM 525S1.0 
MIIM 540S2.0 
 9 9
Total Credits 36


First Year (Part-Time)
Required Course(s):Required Course(s):
IDPT 500S or MIIM 503S2.0MIIM 531S2.0
MIIM 530S3.0MIIM 533S1.0
MIIM 534S1.0MIIM 545S4.0
 6 7
Second Year (Part-Time)
Required Course(s):Required Course(s):
MIIM 527S3.0IDPT 501S or MIIM 517S2.0
MIIM 532S2.0Elective(s):
MIIM 606S1.0MIIM 524S3.0
 MIIM 540S2.0
 6 7
Third Year (Part-Time)
Required Course(s):Elective(s):
MIIM 653S3.0MIIM 652S6.0
MIIM 525S1.0 
 4 6
Total Credits 36

Note: Third Year Fall (Part-Time) is less than the 4.5-credit minimum required (considered half-time status) of graduate programs to be considered financial aid eligible. As a result, aid will not be disbursed to students this term. 

Program Goals

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Infectious Disease Program, students will have achieved the following program-level goals:

  1. Develop broad core knowledge in the biological sciences.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in fundamental concepts in molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in these areas as they are described and applied in the primary scientific literature.
  2. Develop a working knowledge of infectious disease pathogens and the diseases that they cause.
    • Demonstrate basic science knowledge of pathogens that cause human disease in the fields of virology, parasitology, bacteriology, mycology, and others.
    • Identify diseases caused by these pathogens and the mechanisms of pathogenesis.
    • Be able to critically analyze and evaluate publications in the primary literature that describe basic, translational, and clinical infectious disease research.
  3. Develop skills in analytical and critical thinking.
    • Develop proficiency in critical analyses of ideas and concepts related to infectious disease research documented in the primary literature.
    • Use critical thinking skills in collegial presentations and discussions of research focused on infectious diseases and the pathogens that cause them.
  4. Develop skills in basic, translational, and/or clinical research.
    • Develop new laboratory skills or enhance pre-existing skills.
    • Be proficient in collecting information and data from electronic source material and databases.
    • Apply analytical skills and critical thinking to data analyses.
  5. Develop professional ethics necessary for the responsible conduct of research.
    • Be able to identify and evaluate professional ethical dilemmas, and discuss appropriate resolutions.
    • Apply professional ethical standards such as appropriate attribution of ideas, good recordkeeping, and truthful presentation of data/facts and conclusions.
  6. Develop communication and leadership skills.
    • Be proficient at developing oral and/or written comprehensive reports, presenting facts, conducting analyses, and reaching conclusions.
    • Be proficient at using appropriate technologies for communication.
    • Be able to interact and work effectively with others in work settings involving cultural and demographic diversity.
  7. Develop other soft skills (e.g. collaboration, problem solving, career planning, networking) that facilitate career advancement and promotion.
    • Develop a working knowledge of career opportunities in the desired field.
    • Effectively present a professional profile of oneself.
    • Be proficient at time and task management.
    • Be able to work effectively in collaborative and team-driven settings.
    • Begin the development of problem-solving skills to be used in the workplace.
    • Begin to establish a professional network.

Drexel Student Learning Priorities (DSLPs)

In the course of meeting these program-level goals, students will have also made progress in all of the Drexel Student Learning Priorities (DSLPs) to help them build their futures:

Core Intellectual and Practical Skills

  • Communication
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical reasoning
  • Information literacy
  • Self-directed learning
  • Technology use

Experiential and Applied Learning

  • Global competence
  • Leadership
  • Professional practice
  • Research, scholarship, and creative expression
  • Responsible citizenship
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  • All Course Descriptions
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