Global Health Curriculum

Students are required to complete 12 courses to earn the degree. The curriculum covers eight core courses, three elective courses, and a practicum course. Review curriculum details and elective choices while you consider applying to this program. All students in the MSGH program are required to engage in at least four weeks (excluding travel time) of non-clinical work in a health delivery setting, which may include rotations abroad, working remotely on projects abroad, or working in your own community on “glocal” projects. Practical fieldwork experience is considered a valuable complement to the program curriculum, earning students academic credit in the practicum course, which is overseen by MSGH faculty. Additional details about fieldwork experiences are found on the MSGH Practicum web page.

Please see the academic catalog for additional information regarding the curriculum. Current students should refer to curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program. 


Core Courses and Practicum

MSGH 405-DL Foundations of Global Health

This course introduces the student to global health epidemiology, international public health, and global medicine. Students will gain knowledge of some of the major global health problems, their socioeconomic determinants, and their impact on individuals, populations, and societies. This 10-week course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, short answer questions, and an interactive discussion forum. The course is designed to be taken by students of widely varying backgrounds who may be interested in pursuing further study and/or careers in global health.

View MSGH 405-DL Sections

MSGH 408-DL Biostatistics and Epidemiology

This an introductory course designed for individuals interested in evaluating, measuring, and studying global health. Topics include: descriptive statistics and measuring disease burden; probability and distributions; statistical inference; methods for studying and comparing populations; global health research; survival analysis; and cause and effect. Real-life applications are discussed for each topic as well as overall application of biostatistics and epidemiology to the field of global health.

View MSGH 408-DL Sections

MSGH 410-DL Research Methods

Research Methodology is an intermediate course in the design, methodology, performance, analysis, ethics, presentation and publication of global health research. Specific areas that will be addressed include: creating the research question and hypotheses; research ethics with human subjects; cross-sectional/ecological studies; case-control studies; cohort studies; clinical trials; meta-analysis; data analysis; abstracts and conference presentations; manuscript preparation and publication. The course will concentrate on broad foundational topics of research methodology using examples and discussions applicable to global health. Weekly practical assignments and reviews of iconic global health papers will be incorporated to assess your knowledge and stimulate discussion. The final assessment will be a completed hypothetical global health research proposal developed throughout the entire course.

Prerequisite: MSGH 408 Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Note: MSGH students who are planning a Practicum that requires extensive knowledge of qualitative research methods in order to complete their final project should consider taking MPPA 401 Research Methods as an elective.

View MSGH 410-DL Sections

MSGH 417-DL Global Health Systems

Overview of the structure of the U.S. health systems followed by a selective international comparison of other health delivery systems including their relationships to social policies and economic factors.

View MSGH 417-DL Sections

MSGH 419-DL Global Bioethics

This course explores major themes in contemporary bioethics and the role of cultural norms. Students examine the intersection of health and international human rights as it relates to health equity and access to health services.

Note: This course was previously titled Bioethics and Human Rights

View MSGH 419-DL Sections

MSGH 421-DL Globalization & Public Policy

During the last three decades, there has been a proliferation of new actors in the field of global health policy, which has transformed international health governance into what we will call global health governance. It is in recognition of this paradigmatic shift that this class will study this complex web of relationships between globalization, public health governance, and the art of policy-making. We will do this by exploring the diverse set of actors in the field, dissecting the different ways of framing and modeling public health policy, and highlighting the challenges faced by the global community. We will also visit the effects of intellectual property rights and humanitarian assistance in the context of global health crises.

Prerequisite: MSGH 405 Foundations of Global Health and Global Burden of Disease

View MSGH 421-DL Sections

MSGH 427-DL Grant Writing and Fundraising

Students will learn how to secure grants to fund global health initiatives. Every global health initiative requires resources. Although volunteer efforts are an important part of any global health program, every other aspect will require funding. Therefore, grant writing and fundraising are foundational skills for global health professionals. This course will expose you to the common practices in these important activities, which involves identifying methods for assuring health program sustainability, developing strategies that strengthen community capabilities for overcoming barriers to health and well-being, planning evidence-based interventions to meet internationally established health targets, and developing proposals to secure donor and stakeholder support.

View MSGH 427-DL Sections

MSGH 480-DL Global Health Leadership

Note: This course was formerly Leaders 481-DL.  Students may not take both Leaders 481-DL and MSGH 480-DL.

Persistent and continued global health inequities and inadequate responses to emerging global health crises highlight major gaps in global health leadership and the need for effective global health leaders at all levels. This course is an introduction to global health leadership and presents leadership theories and practices at individual and organizational levels. 

In this course, students will be introduced to Culturally Endorsed Leadership Theory (CLT).  The course will examine principles of leadership and practical global health leadership skills for leading change and addressing problems in global health settings, including stakeholder engagement at all levels; developing strong partnerships, teamwork, and collaborations; sociocultural awareness and effective communication. This course also explores individual leadership characteristics including adaptability, patience, and humility.   

At an organizational level, this course will examine how major Global Health organizations such as the Wworld Health Organization (WHO), Presidents Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Ppartners In Health (PHI) among others provide leadership and their effectiveness at leading change, addressing health inequities and improving global health.    

This 10-week course is structured around a series of pre-recorded lectures, readings, case studies, guest lectures, and an interactive discussion forum. The purpose of this course is to prepare students to effectively lead diverse, multi-sectoral teams to develop and implement effective global health solutions.   

View MSGH 480-DL Sections

MSGH 580-DL Practicum Course

The MSGH Practicum is the culminating experience for the MSGH program. Students should apply the competencies acquired throughout their MSGH training into a real world setting. This can include partner rotations abroad, collaborating with global projects virtually, or working on “glocal” (global/local) projects in a local community. Fieldwork is constructed so that students are not simply observers, but able to add value to our global partners work via the skills gained through the MSGH. All fieldwork experiences must be at least four weeks in duration excluding travel time.

Students determined to complete the program as quickly as possible (regardless of financial aid status) are encouraged to register for their MSGH 580 practicum course at the earliest opportunity upon meeting prerequisite requirements, these can be taken concurrently with other courses in the program. Students relying on financial aid are encouraged to register after completion of ten of their curriculum courses. Delay of registration for the practicum course until all other coursework is completed may extend the length of time needed to complete the degree. While students may want to fast track through the program, it is not recommended that coursework be taken at the same time as their field experience due to both time and wireless connectivity constraints.

The MSGH practicum course spans four academic terms. Students may choose one of the two MSGH practicum courses offered within the academic year. If you enroll in the practicum course that begins in summer term, all travel and assignments must be completed two weeks before the end of the following spring term. If you enroll in the practicum course that begins in winter term, all travel and assignments must be completed two weeks before the end of the following fall term. Total effort from each term listed below is divided into week designations to model a standard ten-week course. These week designations may not reflect actual time commitment for completion of each part of the course. Please be mindful of the four-term timeframe of the MSGH practicum course. You will need to complete all course work and fieldwork within the four-term timeframe as described above.

1st quarter - Prerequisites for Practicum (2 weeks)
• Introductory didactic lectures-best practices in partnership.
• Introduction of Sites and Projects and literature review.
• Student chooses partner site.

 2nd quarter - Partnering with the Host (4 weeks)
• Host partner identified, student must engage partner to determine where the“gaps” are and what will be addressed.
• Student submits a letter of intent, describing site and the knowledge or implementation gap they will address during the practicum. Letter must include statement of support from collaborating partner.

 3rd quarter - Proposal Development (2 weeks)
• After approval of letter of intent, student works with the partner to develop proposal.
• Final proposal is due and field experience begins.

  4th quarter - Field Experience (2 weeks)
• Practicum Experience in the field with regular webconference meetings is completed.
• Develop and deliver Professional Presentation and Final Practicum Report.

Prerequisites: Completion of any four of the following courses: MSGH 405, MSGH 408, MSGH 410, MSGH 417, MSGH 419, MSGH 480. All six courses must be completed by the end of the second term of the Practicum course.
Note: Registration for this course will close one week prior to the start of the term.

View MSGH 580-DL Sections

Elective Courses

Choose three elective courses.

MSGH 450-DL Global Health Initiatives

This course addresses how to address and maximize sustainability of global health initiatives, including burdens on infrastructure, environment, and human systems.

Prerequisite: MSGH 405 Foundations of Global Health and Global Burden of Disease

View MSGH 450-DL Sections

MSGH 452-DL Global Nutrition

Explores the intersection between nutrition science and policy from a variety of community-level, national, and global perspectives. Topics include the role of nutrition in health and development across the lifespan; nutritional assessment and surveillance; types of nutrition interventions; and the nutrition transition.

Prerequisites: MSGH 408 Biostatistics and Epidemiology and MSGH 410 Research Methods

View MSGH 452-DL Sections

MSGH 454-DL Global Health Management & Strategy

Every year billions of USD are spent on global health programs with the ultimate goal of improving global health. However, how do the managers of these programs decide where and how to invest the money available to them? This course will look at the foundations of management, including how managers use quantitative and qualitative data to make decisions and manage resources. The course will also use the case study methodology, asking students to play the role of a global health managers faced with a real-life management decision. After students play the role of global health manager, the decisions made by the actual manager will be discussed. Students will reflect on their own experiences with managers or as managers. This is an opportunity for students interested in learning more about the various fields of global health management — program, product, supply chain and human resource — and the day-to-day activities of global health managers.

View MSGH 454-DL Sections

MSGH 456-DL Access to Health and Medicines

An estimated one-third of the world’s population lacks access to essential medicines; in the poorest parts of African and Asia, this estimate rises to over half of the population. Understanding the multifaceted barriers to medicine access is invaluable to the multidisciplinary team of global health advocates, including clinicians, policy makers, program administrators, donors, and leaders in the public and private sectors alike. This course will exemplify global health teamwork from policy to patient as students explore critical issues in rational selection and use of medicines, pharmaceutical regulation and financing, supply chain management, and health systems strengthening. Tackling the three most devastating global health threat of our time, this course will focus on access to medicines for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.

View MSGH 456-DL Sections

MSGH 458-DL Global Health and Technology

This is an introductory course positioning technology in the global health landscape. Health systems of the future will increasingly be dependent on technology; how the technology value-proposition is leveraged will be a critical determinant of health outcomes, nowhere more so than in developing countries and resource-scarce settings (DC&RSS). Topics will include: health technology - what’s in a name (unpacking the term); why health technologies matter (linking technologies to burden of disease, healthcare services, quality of care and health outcomes); health technology innovation, introduction/adoption and utilization challenges in DC&RSS; the complementary roles of health technology assessment, regulation and management; health-related technologies and infrastructure as the new frontier for achievement of improved health status in DC&RSS.

View MSGH 458-DL Sections

MSGH 460-DL Planetary Health: Health in the Anthropocene

(Launching Winter 2023) As an emerging scientific field within and beyond global health, planetary health seeks to unravel the interlinkages between environmental health, human health, and the societal aspects on which these two depend. Beyond just a scientific discipline, planetary health is also a movement that seeks to leverage these new understandings to find solutions that integrate the wellbeing of our biosphere. It does so by taking a transdisciplinary and multisectoral approach to understanding the indivisible bidirectional relationship between the environment and wellbeing.    

As an introductory level course to planetary health, the course will focus on the major elements of current planetary health research, policy-action, and practice.  A central theme of the course will be the use of a social justice and equity lens to the planetary health challenges we are facing and how this lens can inform more comprehensive solutions. Complexity, movement building, governance, and interconnection within Nature and their relation to planetary health will also be critical themes explored during this course.

Prerequisite: MSGH 405 Foundations of Global Health and Global Burden of Disease


MPPA 401-DL Research Methods

This class is being offered for MSGH students who are planning a Practicum that requires extensive knowledge of qualitative research methods in order to complete their final project.

This course provides students with a basic understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methodology frequently used in social science and policy research. The course content includes research question formation, observation and interview based research methods, analysis of qualitative data, survey development, and weighting and sampling techniques. Students will have the opportunity to apply methods to pursue a research topic of their own design. An overview of publicly available quantitative data will be provided, and comparative policy research will be discussed.

View MPPA 401-DL Sections

MPPA 490-DL Special Topic: Demography, Global Health and Policy

Demography is the formal study of population size/structure and factors associated with its change (i.e., fertility, migration, and mortality). Developing a theoretical and technical understanding of demographic tools can provide a better understanding of population dynamics and how this influences national and global health, as well as regional and national policy. This course provides such a framework by drawing upon seminal readings from demography, economics, public health, and sociology. We will examine issues relating to global aging, old-age dependency ratios, and social policy with respect to Italy, Japan, and the U.S. We will explore fertility and family planning polices with respect to Finland and Sweden. We will also discuss fertility by focusing on China and India. The course will also introduce health policy concepts relating to healthcare systems/access/disparities with respect to the U.S. and developing countries.

View MPPA 490-DL Sections

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