Master of Science in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

The Master of Science in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology  program provides students with a unique basic science education within the Graduate School of Public Health. Graduates of our MS program develop skills and experience to become more competitive applicants for medical school and doctoral programs, as well as qualified researchers in academia, government and industry. This two year program emphasizes coursework in immunology, cell biology, and virology, and enables students to apply their coursework to their thesis research projects completed under a faculty advisor.

Accelerated Progress Option

MS students have the opportunity to complete nearly all credit and course requirements by the end of the fall semester in their second year. This allows students to register part-time in their final term, resulting in significant cost savings. The final term’s emphasis will be on thesis research in the laboratory and thesis writing. Please note that accelerated progress is exclusive to the degree program. Any additional certificate interests may require the full 2 years to graduation. For more information on accelerated progress, please email

Part-time MS Degree

Many of our MS students are part-time students working as full-time research specialists in laboratories on campus, including the Medical School, School of Arts and Sciences, and Children’s Hospital. They are able to use the education benefit provided by Pitt or UPMC (typically up to 6 credits per term), and perform their thesis research as part of their job responsibilities. This is a great way to further your education while working full-time within the discipline. Please contact the MS program Director if you are interested in exploring this opportunity.

Financial Aid Opportunities

IDM will provide $1,000 - $3,000 in first semester financial aid to the first 50% of accepted applicants that accept our offer and matriculate. For additional information, please visit our Financial Aid page.


Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • R&D scientist, PPD
  • Clinical Research Specialist, Novum Pharmaceutical Research Services
  • Veterinarian Student, University of Illinois
  • Research Associate, Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • PhD Student, University of Washington
  • Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh

MS employment 2016635919368851557152

Recent Thesis Titles:

  • Analysis of the Regulation of the S. Cerevisiae Gene PIR3 by Non-coding Intergenic Transcription.
  • Development of a high throughput cell-based assay to screen for inhibitors of HIV-1 Vpr oligomerization.
  • HIV-1 infection induced microRNA expression profile and its downstream effects on cellular transcriptome.
  • Defining Dendritic Cells and Macrophages in Lymph Nodes and Gut Mucosa During Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Browse further titles in D-Scholarship, the institutional repository for research output at the University of Pittsburgh.


Graduates will be able to...

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the molecular biology of hosts and pathogens and the pathogenesis of host/pathogen interactions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the mechanisms of innate and acquired immunity and their roles in health and disease.
  • Demonstrate an ability to analyze and interpret data from scientific publications covering molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, and infectious diseases.
  • Show an ability to think independently and demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in a specific area related to the student’s thesis research.
  • Demonstrate an ability to conduct relatively independent laboratory-based research.


  • 36 credits, including coursework and research (NOTE: Often times most of these credits can be earned in three terms of full-time study)
  • Coursework in immunology, virology, and infectious diseases
  • Coursework in public health principles and research ethics
  • Advanced coursework molecular biology and virology
  • Advanced thesis research in an area of specialization

Full program information:
Student handbook


Robbie Mailliard
assistant professor, and director of the MS program
2129 Public Health