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MSHS in Clinical Microbiology

Essential Microbiology Skills

The George Washington University’s (GW) online Master of Science in Health Sciences in Clinical Microbiology prepares you to identify and investigate human infectious diseases. This flexible online program combines clinical microbiology and laboratory science coursework with a hands-on microbiology practicum. In addition to infectious disease diagnosis, you will develop the knowledge and practical skills to conduct research that helps prevent the spread of infections to create healthier communities.

Quick Facts


Credits required

100% online

2 years

average duration

Accreditation and Rankings

  • Fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • #66 Best National University*
  • #19 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs*

U.S. News & World Report‘s 2021 Best Colleges Rankings

Program Highlights


The online Master of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Clinical Microbiology is a 36-credit-hour program that provides students with clinical microbiology and laboratory science coursework as well as a hands-on microbiology practicum.

Three credit hours of elective courses are selected in consultation with the program director, from existing online graduate courses in Medical Laboratory Sciences or Health Sciences.

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Program Outcomes

The online Master’s in Clinical Microbiology program leverages distinguished faculty, innovative curriculum, and real-world experience. Upon completion, you’ll gain the comprehensive skills needed to succeed as a clinical microbiologist and be able to:

Who Is the Ideal Student for This Program?

The MSHS in Clinical Microbiology program is ideal for individuals who are interested in becoming board certified in Microbiology and is one of a few graduate degrees in the country that provides clinical microbiology and laboratory science coursework with a hands-on microbiology practicum. The program curriculum provides eligibility for the ASCP Board of Certification Technologist in Microbiology (M) Exam, a gold standard in global certification for medical laboratory professionals. Applicants with clinical laboratory experience may be eligible to waive individual practictum requirements.

Career Outlook

There is a growing need for professionals in clinical microbiology. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting the number of available jobs expected to increase 13% (approximately 42,700 jobs) by 2026, students can build their career in a variety of settings, including diagnostic microbiology laboratories, research institutions, public health laboratories, biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical companies, or governmental agencies. Careers in clinical microbiology include:

  • Clinical Laboratory Supervisor
  • Clinical Research Manager
  • Microbiology Technologist
  • MLT/MLS Instructor
  • Public Health Microbiologist

New York Residents – We advise applicants who are considering New York state licensure to review license requirements before accepting admission to the program.

Admission Requirements

To be accepted to this program, you must have:

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Tuition Details

The BSHS in Clinical Microbiology program at GW consists of 36 credit hours. Please find the cost per credit hour and total estimated program costs here.

Note: Tuition rates are subject to change and additional fees may vary by program. Please call at (844) 386-7323 for more information.

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Meet the Program Director

Marcia Firmani

Chair, Biomedical Laboratory Sciences Department
Director, Clinical Microbiology Graduate Program
Director, Molecular Diagnostic Programs

Dr. Marcia Firmani has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and research. In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Firmani both directs and teaches several courses within the BLS department, including Clinical Bacteriology, Molecular Diagnostic Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology, and Plagues, Pandemics & Epidemics. She also mentors undergraduate and graduate research projects and has published peer-reviewed articles with students

Prior to her arrival at The George Washington University, Dr. Firmani was a principal investigator at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC), where she conducted and managed several research projects involving biothreat agent characterization. Dr. Firmani also held two previous faculty appointments.

From 2002–2007 she was an assistant professor in the CLS department at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) in New Orleans. She taught lecture and laboratory courses and directed a research lab where she performed basic and applied research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and MRSA and mentored master’s student thesis projects.

From 2007–2010, Dr. Firmani was an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) where she taught various undergraduate CLS courses and graduate-level Biomedical Sciences courses. She also directed a research laboratory where she conducted NIH-funded research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and mentored both undergraduate and graduate student research projects.

Dr. Firmani has taught numerous continuing education courses in the laboratory science field, including a DVD for the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) on emerging infections. She has authored several chapters focusing on infectious diseases in textbooks and has also published her research in peer-reviewed journals, such as Infection and Immunity, and the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Frequently Asked Questions

As you explore an online program at the George Washington University, our dedicated staff is here to support you. If you have a question we don’t cover here, request more information or call 844-386-7323.

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*While the completion of this program will make graduates eligible to register for an ASCP Board of Certification Exam, this does not automatically guarantee a graduate will also meet their states requirements for state licensure (if applicable). Since each state may have different requirements for licensure, each student is encouraged to contact their states regulating agency and review these requirements prior to beginning any degree program.

**National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018-5119