Master of Public Health in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis, Eradication, and Laboratory Practice

The MPH with a concentration in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis, Eradication, and Laboratory Practice (PEL) enables students a unique educational experience, which brings together pathogen biology, immunology, and epidemiology within the broader framework of public health. Students then have the opportunity to apply what they learn in a laboratory setting. Students graduate from the MPH PEL program with the expertise necessary for occupations in public health education, analysis, and research in the non-profit, government, or private sectors. The program also prepares students for further education in medical or graduate programs.

Accelerated Schedule Option

The MPH-PEL program is compatible with an accelerated schedule where full-time students have the opportunity to finish in three (3) semesters (fall, spring, fall), which saves up to $20,000! For more information on the accelerated schedule, please email Please note this is exclusive to the degree program, and any additional certificate interests may require the full two years to graduation.

Financial Aid Opportunities

For information, please visit our financial aid page.

Exciting Practicum Opportunities

As an IDM MPH-PEL student, you will have the opportunity to gain public health experience through a practicum that matches your interests within infectious diseases, and exposes you to a variety of real-world settings. This experience could be in Pittsburgh, your hometown, or any other site you and your advisor can identify to match your professional and career goals. Interested in global health? Gaining public health experience in a developing nation is also possible with the help of your faculty advisor and the resources available at Pitt Public Health. Students conduct research/practice at hospitals, research centers, state and local health departments, or non-profit organizations, and gain new perspectives, explore new areas of interest, and have the opportunity to apply the skills and expertise their coursework has provided to a variety of public health challenges.

Practicum Examples

  • Allegheny County Health Department, Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • UPMC, Infection Control
  • India, Project on virulence of TB infection in association with HIV infection
  • Allegheny County Health Department, STD/HIV

Research Experience Opportunities

MPH-PEL students often combine a clear interest in public health with a strong background in biological sciences. Within our program, you do not have to sacrifice one for the other. In addition to your practicum work, you will have the opportunity to participate in many of our faculty’s research projects, gaining valuable lab experience, course credits, and contributing to cutting-edge research in the biology of infectious diseases! You can also write and defend a Masters thesis, showing future employers, medical schools, or doctoral programs your ability to conduct focused research at a high level.

Positions held by recent graduates

  • Data manager, EMMES Corporation
  • Quality control associate, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Physician’s assistant student, Yale University
  • Genetic counselor, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Public health specialist, Arizona State Health Department
  • Epidemiology assistant, University of Maryland

Recent Essay and Thesis Titles

  • Clinical Symptoms and Risk Factors to Refine Performance Characteristics of Laboratory Assays for Clostridium difficile Infections (thesis)
  • Modeling Staffing Dynamics for POD Operations in an Infectious Disease Emergency (thesis)
  • An Analysis of Influenza Antibody Testing in Allegheny County Pennsylvania (essay)
  • HIV and Cardiovascular Disease – A Review of Current Literature, and Proposal for Research and Public Health Intervention (essay)
  • Analysis of Staphylococcus Aureus Trends in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Allegheny County, PA 2008-2010 (essay)

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


Graduates will be able to:

  • Discuss the general approaches used by successful microbial pathogens to establish disease
  • Suggest novel approaches to the prevention and control of infectious pathogens
  • Distinguish between the different types of host response mechanism and explain their relevance to various domestic and global infectious diseases 
  • Differentiate between the various models of infectious disease spread in human populations
  • Analyze the unique molecular mechanisms used by infectious viruses to cause infection and evade immune response
  • Analyze and critique the current research literature on infectious disease pathogenesis

All graduates also achieve the core and cross-cutting competencies for Pitt Public Health MPH students.


  • 42 credits, including coursework, practicum experience, and a written thesis or essay. This concentration also has the option for laboratory research.
  • Foundational public health courses
  • Advanced courses in infectious disease epidemiology and microbiology
  • On-site public health practicum experience
  • Advanced thesis or essay research in an area of specialization

Full program information: