About Our M.S. Program


The M.S. Program in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy (BSPA) was established in 2006. Full-time students are required to complete 30 credit hours in two semesters. Part-time students complete the same 30 credit hour program in an extended number of semesters up to three years.  The program curriculum consists of 19 credit hours in required core courses and 11 credit hours in elective courses.  Most full-time students may choose to complete an internship with mentors from non-government organizations (NGOs) or with university faculty.

Our graduates tend to obtain policy or related jobs, or may continue their training as health care professionals (Medical Schools, Residents, practicing physicians). Some of our graduates are currently in J.D. or PhD programs as well. We have twenty faculty teaching in our program, including full-time-GU faculty (from the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and other GU departments) and Adjunct faculty. The M.S. Program Adjunct faculty and GU faculty are listed here along with their roles in the BSPA Program. Our Adjunct faculty are experts that work within either the government or NGOs. 

Washington D.C. is home to policy makers, advocates, think tank personnel, lobbyists, and contractors. Thus, the location of this program is perfectly suited for students to learn about policy and regulation and the drivers who participate in this process. In addition to learning the processes of policy and regulation, an equally important focus for students is to develop familiarity with new technological advances and the integration of policy and regulation.

Core Competencies

Below, we describe the five core competencies (knowledge and skills) students will develop during their full-time two-semester program.

The five core competencies are:

  1. To develop an understanding of the major drivers that influence science policy, advocacy, and regulatory science and how scientific and technical information get into the policy and regulatory processes.
  2. To learn new technical competencies in science and medicine, such as, Precision medicine, Synthetic biology, Genetic modification (CRISPR-Cas9), Metagenomics & the Microbiome, and the role of policy and regulation in the promulgation of these scientific advances.
  3. To develop an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving.
  4. To develop communication skills (written and oral) in the biomedical sciences for technical and lay audiences.
  5. To understand the conflicts that develop when policy confronts politics as well as the outcome of these conflicts.

Alignment of competencies and BSPA MS degree courses:

Core CompetenciesBSPA Courses
Drivers of policy and regulationMICB 589, 603, 606, 701, 703, 705; BIOL 562
Technological advances, policy and regulationMICB 603, 708, 709, 800, 801, 603; PPOL 661; SYSM 570
Interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solvingMICB 623, 800, 801; SYSM 585, 590, 591
Communication skillsMICB 623, 703, 800, 801; BCHB 710
Roadblocks of policy and politicsMICB 606, 624, 800, 801, 906, 907