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Posted on: October 5, 2020

Explore Kansas State University Programs for a Career in Biosecurity

What is biosecurity? This field encompasses all aspects of protecting people, plants and animals from diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites and other organisms.

There are lots of job opportunities and many career paths in the field of biosecurity. If you want to make a difference in the world by protecting public health and welfare, a career in biosecurity could be a fulfilling and rewarding option. Here are some things to consider as you explore this field.

Interests: Explore related subjects and passions

Many people start down an academic or career path because they’re interested in or gifted at a particular subject. People who like math might become engineers. People who like working with children often think of becoming teachers. But what if you’re interested in a variety of subjects? A career in biosecurity can encompass many different interests like agriculture, food, natural resources, science, math, health and various combinations of those topics. Each one of these interests plays a role in the complex mission of biosecurity. Even students interested in political science, leadership or communications can find success in a career in biosecurity.

Explore your interests

Academic majors and programs: What to study

Biosecurity specialists come from a variety of fields like public health and food safety. At the graduate level, Kansas State University’s Master of Public Health Program offers an emphasis in food safety and biosecurity and the plant pathology department’s doctoral program ranks No. 1 in the country.

K-State offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs that can shape your trajectory in biosecurity, including:

In addition to offering numerous degree and certification programs, K-State houses state-of-the-art facilities dedicated to plant and animal health, sciences and biomedicine. Its award-winning faculty are renowned experts in the field and exceptional teachers. K-State also provides a variety of student support services and guidance for both undergraduate and graduate students, including fellowships, grants, awards, training, research and career resources and opportunities.

Selecting a school

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in biosecurity, where you study is just as important as what you study. K-State is a leader in addressing biodefense, especially in threats to the global food system. 

With renowned programs and faculty, convenient access to numerous companies and a great atmosphere — ranked No. 2 in best quality of life and No. 3 for happiest students —  K-State is an outstanding choice for studying biosecurity.

Research and training: Access, resources and opportunities

K-State’s location in Manhattan, Kansas, is near numerous organizations and companies specializing in biosecurity. The newly developed Edge Collaboration District creates an intersection of research and industry where talented students can find many opportunities. Additionally, K-State houses many facilities and centers devoted to biosecurity and related studies. 

K-State is home to the Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI. This facility is dedicated to comprehensive infectious disease research on threats to human, animal and plant health in biosafety level-3 labs. BRI is also committed to education and training. It includes training labs, lecture halls and even conference spaces where outside industry leaders can collaborate.

Learn more about BRI

K-State’s departments of plant pathology and grain science and industry are focused on educating tomorrow’s leaders in the field of plant and grain research. The plant pathology department features a Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab, which provides numerous states with important information on disease identification and management. The grain science and industry department features an International Grain Science and Industry Complex, which includes five teaching, research and industry facilities, including state-of-the-art feed and flour mills.

Learn more about plant pathology

Learn more about grain science.

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, is also located in Manhattan. Built by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and managed and run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this world-leading laboratory will help protect the nation’s agriculture, farmers and citizens against the threat and impact of serious zoonotic diseases. USDA NBAF will be the first U.S. facility to offer biosafety level 4, or BSL-4, laboratories. A Scientist Training Program Fellowship at NBAF is open to K-State master’s and doctoral students. The program supports the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and is made possible through the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. 

Learn more about NBAF

With these exceptional facilities centrally located in Manhattan, businesses focused on biosecurity are moving to the area and many of them are looking for interns and future employees. K-State students are seen as a valuable talent pipeline and many students are finding great training, internship and employment opportunities here.

For more information on academics at K-State and to apply, visit

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