Global Health Master's Degree Programs

Jan 29, 2018

A master's degree program in global health equips graduates for a wide range of careers in the health field and explores many different topics in global health. Explore the program and common courses, as well as what it takes to apply.

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Students interested in studying various global health issues and the different factors affecting these issues--such as environmental, political and economic problems--may consider earning a master's degree in global health. These programs are becoming more widely available and prepare students for a wide range of careers, including epidemiologists, researchers and policy analysts. Learn more about the program, common coursework and common entrance requirements here.

Information for Master's Degree Programs in Global Health

Students interested in earning a master's degree in global health can typically pursue a 1- to 3-year degree program that is available on campus or online. Each program generally includes seminars, practicums and coursework that covers a wide array of global health topics and some of the most common course topics are discussed below.

Global Health Policy

Courses in global health policy often include lectures, discussions about readings, guest speakers and field experiences. Students in this course learn how health policies are developed around the world and then examine the different ways the policies are implemented, typically by looking at different case studies. They study the impact that government and other health-related organizations play in policy making and further develop their analysis skills using different frameworks, such as the Hall Model.

Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Students in the program often take at least one introductory course in biostatistics and epidemiology to learn the basic biostatistics necessary for the field, as well as the applications of epidemiology in global health. They study a wide range of concepts in biostatistics, including multivariable modeling theory, selection bias, probability and distributions and descriptive statistics, and then apply these concepts to aspects of epidemiology, such as disease frequency measures, cause and effect and survival analysis. Many of these courses include a laboratory section where students are able to use statistical software and solve practice problems and different scenarios to apply the concepts they are learning in lecture.


Most programs require a course in ethics, but may vary by name, that looks at different topics in bioethics and ethics for research in the field. In these courses students typically perform independent research, examine case studies and learn ethics terminology. They look at the various approaches to bioethics and discuss global human rights and access to healthcare.

Global Health Research

Since research is a very important part of healthcare, students in the program typically take a course related to research methods in global health. These courses focus on the different design and analysis techniques for developing surveys, interview questions, experiments and other methods for collecting data. Students also examine case studies and practice creating hypotheses and research questions. They also discuss field implementation and further develop their critical thinking skills.

Health Systems

Courses in health systems typically have an international focus, but may also examine the healthcare system in the United States. These courses look at the economic, political and social policy factors that affect healthcare systems and other issues related to these systems, like available resources and quality of care. Students in the course typically discuss readings that cover a wide array of topics, including how to finance healthcare and the organization of health systems.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students applying to a master's degree program in global health must hold a bachelor's degree, and although this degree can typically be from a variety of fields, some programs may require a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Many programs request that students submit current GRE scores and some programs may prefer students who have work or research experience in the field. The majority of programs require that students submit the appropriate applications, official transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and a resume. International applicants must submit the appropriate TOEFL or IELTS scores to demonstrate English proficiency.

Master's degree programs in global health are available on campus and online to teach students various topics in the field, including global health systems and global health policy. Students that hold a bachelor's degree in any field are eligible to apply and will graduate with the skills necessary to work in a variety of health-related careers.

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