Global Health

Scott Carlson (program director)

Global health is an interdisciplinary field that draws on public health, clinical medicine, anthropology, political economy, sociology, history and more. Thus, the global health curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature and provides students with both a common core curriculum and the opportunity to pursue depth in a related area of interest. Global health focuses on understanding how political, socio-economic, and environmental factors affect health domestically and internationally. While life expectancy and health outcomes in many populations have dramatically improved as a result of advances in public health measures and technological innovations, these gains have not been distributed evenly around the world. Global health focuses on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide.

Required for a major: The Global Health major requires a minimum of 32 credits in core courses, including GH 101, GH 201, GH 301, GH 401, ANTH 110, ANTH 208, BIO 151, HIST 292, HP 255, POLS 330, and BIO 256, or SOC 350, or PSYC 350. In addition, students are required to take at least 16 credits from one of the following tracks. At least 8 of those track credits must be at or above the 200 level.

Plan 1: The Science of Disease and Wellness
ANTH 102: Biological Anthropology
BIO 152: Principles of Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology
BIO 190: Clinical Microbiology or BIO 243: Microbiology
BIO 201: Genetics
BIO 255: Human Physiology
ENVS 175: Intro to Geographic Information Systems
ENVS 250: Sustainability, Systems and Solutions
HES 126: Human Performance Nutrition
PSYC 241: Psychology of Health and Illness
SCI 240: Pathophysiology
(7 of the 12 courses in this concentration have prerequisites, although BIO 152 serves as the final prerequisite for BIO 201, BIO 243 and BIO 255)


Plan 2: Global Health Policy and Systems
ANTH 303: Consumerism and Sustainability: An Anthropological Perspective
DS 120: Introduction to Data Science
ECON 262: Development Economics
ECON 362: International Trade
ENG 130: Literary Ventures: Superpowers and Disabilities
ENVS 175: Intro to Geographic Information Systems
INTL 230: Introduction to International Studies
POLS 132: Global Politics
POLS 247: Social Policy
SW 304: Social Welfare Policies, Programs, and Issues
(6 of the 11 courses in this concentration have prerequisites)

Plan 3: Society, Culture, and Human Health
IDS 345: Constructs of Race and Racialization
ANTH 205: Religion and Culture
IDS 333: Rhetoric of Identity and Difference
HIST 351 or HIST 485: Topics in European History: The Black Death
REL 232: God, Self, and the Afterlife
SOC 261: Social Conflict
SOC/IDS 468: Gender, Globalization and Development
SPAN 341: Spanish for Medical Professionals or SPAN 350: Practical and Professional Uses of Spanish 
SW 204: Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
SW 185: Crisis Intervention and Interpersonal Violence
IDS 331: Gender, Health and Medicine
(8 of the 11 courses in this concentration have prerequisites)


No more than 3 courses may count toward 2 majors if a student is double majoring. Since double dipping between majors cannot be tracked by the advising software, students must familiarize themselves with the double-dipping rule and consult regularly with the Global Health program director and their advisor in order to track their major attainment goals. The senior project, if completed in Global Health, will be in addition to the 32 credits required for the major. Writing requirement fulfilled by taking both GH 201 and GH 401 and completing the global health e-portfolio (tracked in courses with GH designation and via advising). 

Global health majors are encouraged to identify electives that will advance the development of skills relevant to their particular career goals. Recommended areas include modern languages, writing, oral communication, geographic information systems, graphic design, and web programming.

View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Global Health.

Global Health Courses

GH 101 Introduction to Global Health

  • 2 hours

Global Health is an emerging interdisciplinary field of inquiry that draws primarily on the discipline of public health, clinical medicine, anthropology, and political economy, as well as sociology and history. The course will introduce students to major health concerns on a global level and trends in distribution of disease worldwide. It will investigate major factors contributing to health and mortality disparities. Students will learn about global health stakeholders that set global health priorities. After taking this course, the students will be able to answer the following questions: What is global health? How is global health studied and practiced? What are global health priorities? Who works in global health, and what are the possible career pathways?

GH 201 Case Studies in Global Health

  • 2 hours
  • Prerequisites: GH 101

This course builds upon Global Health 101 and focuses on applications and critical understanding of health concerns and health determinants using case examples. Students will draw on their coursework to develop research projects pertinent to the region and health concern of their choice, with strong preference that they focus on the country of their immersion experience. After taking this course, the students will be able to answer the following questions: What are the social health determinants of health? What are the main health determinants of the student's selected focus area/population for the immersion course? What are the possible interactions between various determinants of health and how have they been addressed by scholars and practitioners?

GH 301 Global Health Field Experience

  • 2, 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: GH 101 GH 201 BIO 151

All Global Health majors will be required to undertake a 2- or 4-credit field experience, typically during the junior or senior year. The purpose of the field experience is to provide both a global context and a hands-on global health experience to deepen classroom learning. Majors will determine the actual field experience in consultation with their advisor and will approval by the Global Health program board. Students will have some flexibility in terms of the duration (semester, J-Term, summer) and nature of the experience. In order to ensure quality and to establish mutuality and reciprocity in off-campus relationships, students will select from among four to six approved partner sites around the world. These sites will be selected by the Global Health board in consultation with the Center for Global Learning. The sites are designed to allow students to encounter a range of global health experiences in a variety of locations. Students will be encouraged to connect the field experience to their own senior project research and to their potential future global health career path.

GH 380 Internship

  • 1, 8 hours

GH 401 Biosocial Approach to Global Health

  • 2 hours
  • Prerequisites: GH 101 GH 201 GH 380

This course will build on previous global health courses to grapple with theoretical and practical approaches in global health. Students will learn to apply theories from relevant social sciences to help them integrate their understanding of clinical insights, public health approaches, ethical perspectives, and health care governance models to create solutions that work on both national and international levels. After taking this course, students will be able to answer the following questions: Why is a good command of social theory around global health interventions important? What does a biosocial approach to analysis of global health problems and interventions require? What does it make possible? What kind of ethical considerations guide the motivations and designs in global health today?

GH 490 Senior Project

  • 1, 2, or 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: GH 101 GH 201 GH 380 GH 401

The senior project Global Health is the culminating experience in the major. Through this process students will put into practice the perspectives, knowledge, and skills that they gained through coursework and experiential learning experiences. For those with double majors, senior project may be completed within a different major.