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Global Health

The Department of Global Health was established in 2007, bridging the schools of Medicine and Public Health, with a mandate to harness the expertise and interdisciplinary power of all 16 UW schools and colleges. The department is the second largest at the UW in terms of funding for research and training programs. Departmental efforts include 31 centers, programs, initiatives, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The mission is to close the gap between the world’s one billion people who experience relatively good health and the five billion who experience much lower levels of health, through teaching (education, training, and mentoring), research, and service programs.

The department offers an undergraduate minor, a Master of Public Health, and two PhD options: global health, and pathobiology. Four graduate certificate offerings are available for graduate students, as well as a global health pathway for UW medical students. Current and emerging focus areas include health metrics and evaluation, infectious diseases, workforce development, health system strengthening and implementation science, climate change, global trauma and violence, global medicines safety, and a strong cross-cutting focus on social justice and equity.

Undergraduate Program

The Department of Global Health offers the following program:

  • A minor in global health


Minor Requirements (30 credits):

  1. Required courses (8 credits): G H 101/GEOG 180/JSIS B 180; and G H 210 or G H 410
  2. Perspectives in global health series (3 credits): G H 401; G H 402; G H 403
  3. Electives (to bring total to 30 credits): Minimum of one elective course from each of the four content areas selected from a list of approved courses available from the Department of Global Health website,
  4. Minimum 15 credits outside the student's major
  5. Minimum 15 credits completed through the UW
  6. Minimum 15 upper-division credits
  7. Minimum 2.0 grade in courses applied to the minor

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
S432 Foege Building, Box 355065
(206) 897-1804

Master of Public Health

The Global Health MPH program emphasizes a social justice approach to global health with a focus on the social, economic, and political determinants of health, and the history and context of global responses to health problems. The core curriculum develops competencies in the basic tools of public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, global health systems, environmental health, and social behavioral sciences. Courses in research methods and management are also required. A practicum provides hand-on experience with local or international agencies engaged in global health activities, and academic coursework culminates with independent scholarship leading to a research or practice thesis. The curriculum is highly interdisciplinary, with faculty and courses from across campus including natural and social sciences and the humanities. Case studies and applied learning are common approaches, and contributions by students provide a major component of the learning environment.

For current listings of MPH program options and their requirements, visit the program website.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed at least a baccalaureate degree by the time of matriculation, and some tracks require at least two years of relevant post-college work or volunteer experience prior to matriculation as well. Each MPH track has its own admission requirements.

  1. Completed Graduate School online application. Deadline midnight, December 1
  2. Official scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE), required for applicants who have not already earned a doctoral-level degree (e.g., MD, PhD, JD) from a U.S. institution of higher learning
  3. Unofficial transcripts: Applicants upload unofficial transcripts from each college and/or university attended into the online application.
  4. Three recent letters of recommendation, preferably from former supervisors and professors
  5. Personal statement, including background, goals, and research interests
  6. Resume - maximum three pages

Degree Requirements

63 credits, for all MPH tracks

At least 30 credits must be from graduate-level, in-classroom courses, and at least 18 of these must be from global health in-classroom courses.

All tracks require a foundation course, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, social and behavioral sciences, research methods, a practicum, and a thesis. Beyond these shared requirements, each track also has its own set of requirements. See program website for track-specific requirements.

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Manager
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
2301 5th Avenue, Suite 600, Box 358210
Seattle, WA
(206) 897-2870

The Department of Global Health, in collaboration with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Health Alliance International, has developed a unique PhD program, building on faculty expertise in the areas of metrics and implementation science. The program provides students the most innovative tools to advance global health solutions, and includes two emphasis areas:

Metrics: Students translate evidence into useful knowledge by learning and applying advanced quantitative methods, impact evaluation techniques, and analytic tools. Students design and develop new, innovative ways to tackle critical global health measurement challenges.

Implementation Science: Students identify and address barriers to effective implementation and scale-up of evidence-based interventions by developing and applying cutting-edge methodologies and analytical approaches.

For comprehensive information, see the PhD program website.

Admission Requirements

The department recruits students who wish to pursue a long-term career in global health, whether in academic institutions, ministries of health, non-governmental organizations, or the private sector. All indicators of future success, including past work, service, and research experience; level of enthusiasm and detail in letters of recommendation; previous academic records and performance on standardized tests; applicant’s written statement of purpose; and an ability to discuss research or practice work and future goals are considered. The department reviews all variables without a preset formula.

Minimum Qualifications

  1. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the United States, or its equivalent from a foreign institution. Strong candidates have prior master-level training or significant experience working in the global health field, ideally in a low-resource setting.
  2. Demonstrated passion and commitment to the field of global health
  3. High academic standing: Minimum 3.30 cumulative GPA in previous undergraduate- and graduate-degree work, though the department expects applicants to have a minimum 3.70 GPA.
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores greater than or equal to 120 (700) on the quantitative section
  5. English proficiency: For students who have not completed a degree in an institution where English is the primary language of instruction, results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 96 credits

  1. Coursework: Minimum 27 dissertation credits, 37 credits in core requirements, 16 credits in area of emphasis, and remaining credits in electives. See details about curriculum and course paths on program website.
  2. Preliminary written examination
  3. General examination
  4. Research and dissertation
  5. Final examination