Skip to main content
SPS Logo

Program Overview

Global Health

Master's in Global Health Online

The Master’s in Global Health, offered in partnership with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Center for Global Health, aims to prepare the next generation of leaders for emerging global issues. The MSGH program’s expert global health faculty come not only from Feinberg Medical School, but also from McCormick School of Engineering, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and Kellogg School of Management to offer a truly interprofessional degree. Students benefit from access to a top-ranked academic medical center and dedicated center of expertise. Because the degree can be completed part time and entirely online, students anywhere can access a program of this caliber while maintaining their personal and professional commitments.

The program is designed for clinicians, researchers, epidemiologists, nonprofit administrators, policy analysts, social entrepreneurs, and others who make a meaningful difference in healthcare access and outcomes in the places where it’s needed most. Through multidisciplinary online courses that emphasize both theory and practical application, you'll learn how to improve healthcare outcomes and systems, work effectively in challenging healthcare settings, navigate global regulatory issues, evaluate results, and more.

Global Health addresses some of the most important and novel issues in 21st-century health. Government agencies and major foundations are investing billions to combat largely treatable chronic diseases that claim far too many lives in low- and middle-income countries. Combined with continued strong job growth in the broader healthcare industry — and dynamic changes in population growth and the global economy — there could not be a better time to consider graduate study in global healthFind out more about online learning at SPS.



Stephanie Kang

I’ve never felt more connected with my professors. Even though I’ve never physically met my faculty, I’ve had the strongest relationships in my academic career.”

-Stephanie Kang, MS in Global Health ('16)

About the MS in Global Health

Master's in Global Health Program Goals

An interdisciplinary professional program, MSGH graduates will possess the knowledge, skills and aptitude to:

  • Work effectively in a health-related industry within highly resource-limited settings
  • Navigate the business and legal / regulatory aspects of health-related industries around the world
  • Contribute to the improvement of health outcomes and systems within low and middle-income countries
  • Evaluate and measure health outcomes
  • Secure grants to fund global health initiatives
  • Evaluate and navigate the cultural and ethical considerations inherent in global health contexts

Essential Fieldwork: The MSGH Practicum

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. The practicum is constructed so that students are not simply observers but are able to add value to our global partners work via the skills gained through the MSGH program. Northwestern partners with Child Family Health International (CFHI), offering global health education programs throughout the world, in nations such as Argentina, Bolivia, Ghana, Ecuador, India, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Additional details about fieldwork experiences are found on the MSGH Practicum web page.

Dr. Ashti Doobay-Persaud

The program provides students with concrete competencies they will need when approaching employers, as well as an industry perspective that is crucial in understanding how healthcare is delivered across the globe.”

-Dr. Ashti Doobay-Persaud, Faculty Director 

We're looking to change the way we view disease and how it's treated. We have the potential to affect policy making at regional and national levels.”

-Evan Lord, MS in Global Health ('16)

Evan Lord

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. Current student should refer to the Global Health Curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.

MS in Global Health Online Courses

Explore MS Global Health Online Courses. You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Master's in Global Health Admission

A variety of factors are considered when your application is reviewed. Background and experience vary from student to student. For a complete list of requirements, see the Master's in Global Health Admission page.

Tuition and Financial Aid for Global Health

Tuition for the Master's in Global Health program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Financial aid opportunities exist for students at Northwestern. Complete details can be found on the Global Health Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Registration Information for Global Health

Already accepted into the Master's in Global Health program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible to ensure maximum efficiency in your trajectory.


Careers in Global Health

Global Health is one of the 21st century faces of medicine addressing the most important and novel issues in health. Those with appropriately rigorous education in the field will likely find significant professional opportunity.  For details visit the Global Health Career Options page.

Global Health Faculty

Instructors in the Master's in Global Health program at Northwestern are leaders in the field. They bring practical real-world experiences to the online classroom and engage with students on an interpersonal level. Get to know the instructors on our Global Health Program Faculty page. 

Looking for a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Global Health? Consider Northwestern's full-time and part-time options. Please visit the Program in Public Health website for more information.

Find out more about Northwestern's M.S. in Global Health

Core Courses:Course Detail
Leadership <> LEADERS 481-DL

The purpose of this course is to identify the fundamental leadership behaviors that enable people to excel in their careers, and to help students apply these behaviors to personal and professional success. The course builds from the basic premise that leadership is learned and looks at the theory and practice of leadership at the individual and organizational level. The course will explore definitions of leadership, the importance of leadership, leadership styles, the role of vision and integrity, the importance of giving and receiving feedback, how to lead change and solve problems, effective teamwork, and communication strategies. The culmination of the class will be a personal leadership development plan formulated by each student.

View LEADERS 481-DL Sections
Foundations of Global Health <> MSGH 405-DL

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
Biostatistics and Epidemiology <> MSGH 408-DL

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
Research Methods <> MSGH 410-DL

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
Global Health Systems <> MSGH 417-DL

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
Global Bioethics <> MSGH 419-DL

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
Globalization & Public Policy <> MSGH 421-DL

This class introduces and unpacks the concept of global health governance to familiarize students with questions and problems that revolve around it. This is done with the intention to enable students to relate their already existing knowledge of public health to the field of policy-making and apply this new knowledge to their own areas of expertise. The class aims to develop an awareness of actual cases, which will enable the students to understand the way successful policies work. Since academic research is never a solitary activity, students will be expected to discuss the readings and lectures with their peers along the way. The instructor will prompt the debate by positing particular questions.

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

View MSGH 421-DL Sections
Grant Writing and Fundraising <> MSGH 427-DL

This course is designed to introduce students to grant writing and fundraising in global health. Topics include assessing and communicating community needs, planning a grant-fundable program, researching funders, writing a successful application, and strategies for fundraising. Students will apply course material to the development of a proposal for a global health grant maker.

View MSGH 427-DL Sections
Practicum Course <> MSGH 580-DL

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 4 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: Any four of the following courses; MSGH 405, MSGH 408, MSGH 410, MSGH 417, MSGH 419, LEADERS 481. All six courses must be completed by the end of the second term of the Practicum course and all can be taken concurrently with the practicum.

View MSGH 580-DL Sections
Elective Courses:Course Detail
Research Methods <> MPPA 401-DL

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

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 health care systems/access/disparities with respect to the U.S. and developing countries.

Counts toward the Public Policy, Global Policy, and Global Health specializations.

View MPPA 490-DL Sections
Global Health Initiatives <> MSGH 450-DL

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
Global Nutrition <> MSGH 452-DL

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
Global Health Management & Strategy <> MSGH 454-DL

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
Access to Health and Medicines <> MSGH 456-DL

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
Global Health and Technology MSGH 458-DL

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
Back to top