Master’s in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology (MPH)

The study of infectious diseases focuses on interactions between infectious agents, their hosts, and the environment that may lead to disease in humans. Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology is a multidisciplinary program with strong public health and global health emphasis. The curriculum is designed to emphasize the biology and molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions; host immune response to infection associated with protection or pathology; the ecology, evolution, and transmission of infectious agents, methods of laboratory-based surveillance and the epidemiology of infectious diseases.

Curriculum

The MPH Program in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology is a 2-year course of study. The curriculum is designed to emphasize the biology and molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions; host immune response to infection associated with protection or pathology; the ecology, evolution, and transmission of infectious agents; methods of laboratory-based surveillance; and the epidemiology of infectious diseases. A comprehensive exam and an analytical paper are required for graduation.

  • PH 200J, K, & L Public Health Core Breadth Course (2 units each)
  • PH 142 Probability and Statistics in Public Health and Biology (4 units) (F)
  • PH 250A Epidemiologic Methods (3 units) (Su) (F)
  • PH 297 Public Health Field Study (3 units) (Perform the Field Study in Summer of Year 1, Register the class PH 297 in the Fall of Year 2 to receive credits)

As part of general School of Public Health Breadth requirements, above MPH breadth courses or accepted substitutes must be taken, or an exemption examination passed. More advanced level substitutes are recommended when possible.

  • PH 260A Principles of Infectious Disease, Part I (4 units) (F)
  • PH 260B Principles of Infectious Disease, Part II (4 units) (Sp)
  • PH 264 Current Issues in Infectious Diseases (2 units) (F, 2nd yr IDV MPH students only)
  • PH 263 Public Health Immunology (3 units) (F)

PH 260A & PH 260B must be taken in the first year. PH 264 must be taken in the fall of the 2nd year.

At least two advanced courses are required for all MPH students for graduation. Courses
offered in alternate years are in bold.
PH 236 U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Drug Development, and Public Health (2 units)
PH 260E Molecular Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (2 units)
PH 260F Infectious Disease Research in Developing Countries (2 units)
PH 262 Molecular Basis of Bacterial Pathogenesis (3 units)
PH 265 Molecular Parasitology (3 units)
PH 266A Food-borne Diseases (2 units)
PH 266B Zoonotic Diseases (2 units)

PH 266C: Hospital Associated Infections is offered as IDV Division Seminar in Fall. Substitution by other School of Public Health seminars related to infectious diseases may be acceptable as IDV Division Seminar, please contact the IDV Division Manager for questions.

Admissions Statistics

We do not have a minimum GRE requirement as we review applications holistically; however, competitive applicants tend to score in the 50th percentile or above.

50% Admissions Ratio (45/89)
3.62 Average GPA of admitted applicants
70% Average Verbal GRE scores of admitted applicants
65% Average Quantitative GRE scores of admitted applicants

Qualifications

Competitive applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree with a strong science background and demonstrate an interest in public health.

Common undergraduate majors: any biological science or any other major with the required courses equivalent to those of a biological science major, e.g. basic chemistry or college algebra, 1 year of basic biology, and some other biology courses such as microbiology, genetics, molecular biology. The courses listed are examples of courses taken by successful applicants; however, they are not prerequisites and not having taken one or more of them does not preclude admission to our programs.

Common work experience for admitted applicants: Work experience is not required for admission, but relevant volunteer, service and/or work experience related to infectious diseases and public health (e.g., community service, laboratory or surveillance work, and Peace Corps) is a plus. Many of admitted applicants have some lab and research experience. Students in their senior year are welcome to apply. If admitted, they will need to submit their final official transcripts to the Graduate Division with the degree awarded and they met the minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 for admission.


Phoebe Lu

MPH ‘20

The flexibility in the IDV curriculum allows you to really choose your own path while still getting the breadth and knowledge of infectious diseases. You can take more epi/biostat classes if you're interested in applied public health, focus on advanced biology courses and work in research, and even be well-prepared for any doctoral programs you might be interested in. In addition, you get the opportunity to take classes in other departments such as the Haas School of Business and the Goldman School of Public Policy.


Frequently Asked Questions

Information on our program and admission process is posted in the School of Public Health website and in the following frequently asked questions:

The best start to gather information is to visit the websites listed on the School of Public Health home page  under Divisions. Read about all the School of Public Health programs and degrees offered, curriculum, faculty research interests and decide which is the best fit with your academic and career goals. Attending one of the School of Public Health’s three pre-application advising sessions or our all-day SPH conference in the Fall is also very helpful. Not only you can have your questions about admissions process, financial aid or the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology (IDV) program answered, you will also have a chance to interact with IDV Division Faculty. If you apply to the IDV program, please state clearly in your “Statement of Purpose” your reasons for applying to our program, your academic preparation, relevant public health experience and career goals.

There is considerable overlap in the two programs and, using the time for electives, you can essentially fulfill the course requirements for both programs while enrolled in one. If you are more interested in the in-depth study of the biology of infectious agents, it may be better to apply to the Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology (IDV) program. The IDV program provides a solid fundation for people who are interested in the study of infectious diseases epidemiology as well as the laboratory based study of infectious diseases.
However, if you are interested in analytical study design issues, disease surveillance, and biostatistics, you can apply to the Epidemiology/Biostatistics program. Students can still take the epidemiology/biostatistics courses while staying in the IDV program. The important thing to do is to identify faculty advisors early in both IDV and Epidemiology programs to guide you through the courses and help you with ideas for your MPH paper and possible field studies. You can list two areas of concentrations you want to apply in order of preference in your SOPHAS application. But your statement of purpose should be tailored to your first choice of area of concentration.

The MPH is a professional degree administered by the School of Public Health. There are no absolute prerequisites required for MPH admission, although to be competitive for consideration Baccalaureate degree holders should have:

  • satisfactory record of scholarship (minimum GPA of 3.0),
  • evidence of significant intellectual potential (GRE scores),
  • demonstrated competence in English

Biology (1 year general), Microbiology, Immunology, Mathematics (college algebra, calculus), Chemistry, normally required as undergraduate preparation for all candidates. Some upper division biology, microbiology courses are highly recommended. Final selection for admission will depend upon the faculty’s ranking of all applicants on the basis of academic record, intellectual potential, preparation, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, research interests, and overall promise and fitting into what the program offers, as well as availability of admission slots in the program. The MPH in Infectious Diseases is a professional degree administered by the School of Public Health. Each year the Division accepts 17-20 students from 60-75 applicants. No interviews are required for the MPH admission.

Work experience is not required for admission, but relevant work experience related to Infectious Diseases e.g. laboratory or surveillance work would be considered a plus.

We do not have a minimum GRE score as we review applications holistically; however, competitive applicants tend to score in the 50th percentile and above.

Please visit the Grad Division website and the Berkeley Public Health fees and financial aid page.

Employment

Students matriculating through this degree program, complemented with electives and Field Study, will acquire expertise and knowledge in infectious disease, immunology, database management, health program management, and public health applications for which there is a great demand from health agencies, academic institutions, health research organizations, county, state, and national (CDC) public health laboratories and agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Some MPH graduates go on to earn higher-level degrees such as MD, DrPH, PhD, or DVM.

Student Awards

Each year, the Division of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology acknowledges our students’ academic excellence and achievements. Recipients of IDV awards from the past five years are listed below:

Sanford Elberg Award

Outstanding MPH comprehensive paper recipients

  • 2015 – Emily Stoops
  • 2016 – Jonathan Liu
  • 2017 – Justine Maher
  • 2018 – Jessica Hernandez; Emily Schneider
  • 2019-Huong Nguyen and Aster Workineh

Beattie Memorial Award

Excellence in research in the laboratory sciences by a doctoral student

  • 2014 – Danica Helb
  • 2015 – Zoe Davis
  • 2017 – Jonathan Portman
  • 2018 – Matthew Gardner

Ridpath Memorial Award

Excellence in the seminar presentation of doctoral dissertation research

  • 2016 – Aaron Whiteley
  • 2017 – Meghan Zuck
  • 2018 – Dustin Glasner

Student Groups

  • Infectious Disease and Immunity PhD Student Group
  • Association of Public Health Infectious Diseases Students (APHIDS)

Faculty

Affiliate Faculty