Graduate Certificate Programs in Global Health – Campus and Online Programs
Updated: October 15, 2022
Graduate certificate programs in global health combine public health principles with an understanding of the sociopolitical and environmental factors that influence community health on an international scale. As an inherently interdisciplinary field, global health is concerned with advancing human rights; identifying and addressing challenges to health care access and quality; and connecting with cross-cultural communities and stakeholders to design, fund, oversee, and improve health-related programming and policies.
Students of graduate certificate programs in global health can expect to take courses in health leadership, health care systems and policy, epidemiology, public health ethics, program design and development, health outcomes assessments, international health care law and regulations, and patient and community advocacy, among other areas. These programs prepare students to work in the non-profit, private, and government sectors on programs and initiatives to promote human health and reduce health care inequalities in both developed and developing countries.
Global Health Explained
Global health is a sub-category within the larger field of public health. It encompasses professional practice, political advocacy, and scholarly research to investigate and address transnational health challenges. Individuals who work in global health merge fundamental principles of epidemiology and human biology with knowledge of international policy, community education and preventative care, health care economics, and technology’s role in improving health care outcomes.
Individuals who study global health are empowered to work, not only at international health and humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, but also at global health research institutes at universities, at hospitals, government agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), and even private companies. The diversity within this field means that there are a wide variety of potential jobs in global health, ranging from public health project managers to community health educators and administrators, clinical researchers, disaster relief specialists, health policy analysts, and global health consultants.
Identifying and Classifying Graduate Certificate Programs in Global Health
Graduate certificate programs in global health are typically offered through schools and departments of public health or global health at accredited colleges and universities, though some programs may be offered through a college or university’s school of professional studies or continuing education. Furthermore, due to the interdisciplinary nature of global health, some coursework for graduate certificate programs in global health may be offered through a partnership with two or more departments, such as a department of international relations, epidemiology, human biology, communication, and/or human geography.
Graduate certificate programs in global health, as academic programs that follow a traditional academic calendar and which confer graduate course credit, are distinct from professional certifications and/or training programs offered through public health and global health associations. For students who complete a graduate certificate in global health and who wish to earn a master’s or doctoral degree in global health, public health, international health policy, or a related field, the credits they complete as part of their graduate certificate program may be eligible to transfer towards their future graduate degree.
While some graduate certificate programs in global health may require students to hold a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in a related field, most allow applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited institution.
Global Health Graduate Certificate Coursework
Graduate certificate programs in global health are typically comprised of 15-18 course credits, or five to six graduate-level courses, which cover essential topics in the social determinants of health, the socioeconomic factors that contribute to disease, public health leadership in the global arena, bioethics and their implications, and global health management. While some graduate certificate programs may require students to complete a capstone project or an internship, others may only be comprised of coursework and course-based projects and exams. Furthermore, while some programs may consist of a set sequence of courses, others may allow students to choose one or more electives to tailor their program of study.
Examples of courses that a global health graduate certificate program may offer include, but are not limited to:
- Human Epidemiology and Biostatistics
- Global Bioethics
- International Health Systems
- Global Health and Public Policy
- Global Health Leadership
- International Health Care Issues and Barriers
- Grant Writing and Fundraising for Public Health
- Global Health Communication
Online Global Health Graduate Certificate Programs
Many graduate certificate programs in global health are designed for working professionals who may need substantial flexibility in the scheduling and completion of their required coursework. As a result, more universities have started offering graduate certificate programs that utilize online instruction. In addition to offering the benefit of flexibility, online graduate certificate programs in global health allow students who do not live near a university or college offering a global health program to earn a graduate credential in the field without having to relocate or commute to a college campus.
Online graduate certificate programs utilize learning management systems (LMSs) to deliver course content and enable students to interact with course instructors and peers. LMSs are online platforms that house course lectures and modules, assignments, examinations, and discussion boards, and they also typically have video conferencing capabilities for live lectures and discussion sessions. Through an LMS, online graduate certificate programs in global health can make use of both asynchronous and synchronous instruction.
Asynchronous course content includes lectures, assignments, and discussions that students can access and complete on their own schedule, as long as they meet assignment or participation deadlines. Programs that use asynchronous instruction are ideal for students who need flexibility in terms of when they can access course materials and complete assignments. However, programs that use asynchronous instruction are not for every student, as they require increase responsibility on the part of the student to keep up with weekly course materials and assignments in the absence of regularly scheduled classes.
Synchronous instruction is defined as course components that take place in real-time, such as live lectures, group projects, and discussions in which students participate via video conferencing software. It also includes timed examinations and assignments that all students take together. Synchronous instruction more closely resembles traditional in-person instruction, relative to asynchronous instruction, and can benefit students who like direct communication with course instructors, mentors, and peers. However, it is inherently less flexible than asynchronous instruction, since students must be present online for weekly scheduled class meetings. (Note: online programs that utilize synchronous instruction often schedule live sessions in the evening to accommodate working professionals.)
Prospective students of graduate certificate programs should research different programs’ use of asynchronous vs. synchronous instruction in order to find a program that best fits their professional and personal obligations, as well as their preferred learning style.
Examples of Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Global Health
The online graduate certificate programs in global health described below are offered through accredited institutions of higher education. These program descriptions are for informational purposes only, and do not represent all graduate certificate programs in the field.
Drexel University offers an online Graduate Certificate in Global Health through its Dornsife School of Public Health. This program is comprised of 15 course credits divided across six courses that cover historical and contemporary issues in global public health, public and global health ethics and law, health systems and health policy analysis, global health program monitoring and evaluation, public health advocacy in the international arena, and community health outcomes assessments and preventative health care. This program’s courses are structured into four 10-week quarters, which enables students to take more classes per academic year. To learn more about this program, please visit Drexel University at online.drexel.edu.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) offers an online graduate certificate in Global Health through its Gillings School of Global Public Health. Students of this certificate program gain an international perspective on health disparities and learn how to use collaborative approaches and contemporary knowledge sharing methods within a larger global health network to achieve positive change. This program is comprised of nine credit hours, or three courses, that cover critical issues in global health, global health ethics, and global health program monitoring and evaluation. For more information about this program, please visit UNC at sph.unc.edu.
University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) offers an online Graduate Certificate in Global Health through its School of Public Health and Health Sciences. This program is designed for working public health professionals who want to expand their scope of work to the international arena. Students take two required courses in comparative health systems and the fundamentals of global health, after which they take three electives in areas such as disease epidemiology, program evaluation in health and human service organizations, population health, health program planning, international nutrition, globalization and its health implications, maternal and child health, and violence as a global public health issue. Students can also elect to complete a 200-hour international practicum for elective credit. For more information about this program, please visit UMass Amherst at www.umass.edu.
More Graduate Certificates in Global Health
|Clark University||Worcester, MA||Graduate Certificate in Community and Global Health|
|Drexel University||Online||Graduate Certificate in Global Health|
|East Tennessee State University||Online; Johnson City, TN||Global Health Graduate Certificate|
|Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA||Graduate Certificate in Global Health|
|New York University||Online||Applied Global Public Health Graduate Certificate|
|Northwestern University||Chicago, IL||Graduate Certificate in Global Health Leadership|
|Seton Hall University||Online; South Orange, NJ||Graduate Certificate in Global Health Management|
|Temple University||Online||Graduate Certificate in Global Health|
|The Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||Graduate Certificate in Global One Health|
|The University of Alabama at Birmingham||Online; Birmingham, AL||Global Health Studies Graduate Certificate|
|The University of Arizona||Online||Graduate Certificate in Global Health & Development|
|The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill||Online||Global Health Graduate Certificate|
|University of Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN||Global Health Graduate Certificate|
|University of Montana||Online; Missoula, MT||Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Global Health|
|University of Washington||Seattle, WA||Graduate Certificate in Global Health|