The CUGH Subcommittee on Master’s and Undergraduate Degrees in Global Health analyzes curricular trends for undergraduate minors, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s and doctoral degrees; identifies emerging innovations in curriculum design, teaching, and experiential learning for global health at the undergraduate and master’s levels; and seeks to make the Consortium of Universities for Global Health useful to colleges and universities with diverse institutional missions.

SMUDGH Members 2019-2020

Kathryn H. Jacobsen, George Mason University (Co-Chair)
Caryl Waggett, Allegheny College (Co-Chair)
Deborah Bender, UNC Chapel Hill
Jo Ivey Boufford, New York University
Bronwyn Cross-Denny, Sacred Heart University
Deborah DiLiberto, McMaster University
René English, Stellenbosch University
Mabel Ezeonwu, University Washington at Bothell
Meredith Gartin, University of Alabama Birmingham
Rachel Locke, University of Winchester (UK)
Suzanne Maman, UNC Chapel Hill
Marie Martin, Vanderbilt University
Emma McKim Mitchell, University of Virginia
Jeanne Moseley, Cornell University
Asher Santos, California State University San Marcos
Shailendra Sawleshwarkar, University of Sydney
Neil Sircar, University of California San Francisco
Lilian Nantume Wampande, Uganda Martyrs University
Heather Lynn Wipfli, University of Southern California
Phil Landrigan, Boston College (ex officio, CUGH Board)
Tarek Eshak, (TAC, Penn State University)
Julius Nyanda, (TAC, Kabale University)
Yoseph Taye Worku, (TAC, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College)

CUGH Recommended Undergraduate Global Health Student Learning Objectives

Jacobsen KH, Hay MC, Manske J, Waggett CE. Curricular Models and Learning Objectives for Undergraduate Minors in Global Health. Annals of Global Health. 2020;86(1):102. doi:10.5334/aogh.2963

A growing number of institutions of higher education offer undergraduate educational programs in global health. To identify all undergraduate minors in global health being offered in the United States during the 2019–20 academic year, categorize the curricula being used by secondary programs of study, evaluate the content of required foundational courses, and examine the types of experiential learning opportunities that are offered. A working group of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) conducted a systematic review of the websites of all accredited 4-year colleges and universities, identifying 84 institutions offering general global health minors. A typical global health minor consists of one introduction to global health course, one epidemiology or health research methods course, several additional required or selective courses, and one applied learning experience. Within this general structure, five curricular models are currently being used for global health minors: (1) intensive minors composed of specialty global health courses, (2) global public health minors built on a core set of public health courses, (3) multidisciplinary minors requiring courses in the sciences and social sciences, (4) anthropology centric minors, and (5) flexible minors. CUGH recommends ten undergraduate student learning objectives in global health that encompass the history and functions of global health; globalization and health; social determinants of health; environmental health; health and human rights; comparative health systems; global health agencies and organizations; the global burden of disease; global health interventions; and interdisciplinary and interprofessional perspectives.


Waggett CE, Jacobsen KH. Global Health and Public Health Majors and Minors at 411 Universities, 2019-2020. Ann Glob Health. 2020;86(1):65. Published 2020 Jun 19. doi:10.5334/aogh.2837

There has been rapid growth in the popularity of undergraduate degrees in global and public health, but that growth has not been evenly distributed across different types of institutions of higher education. To examine the prevalence of undergraduate global and public health majors and minors and related degrees at a diversity of higher education institutions in the United States during the 2019–20 academic year. We examined curricular offerings at the top 100 national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities, and regional colleges included in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report rankings. With ties, the dataset included 411 of the 1600 ranked U.S. colleges and universities. In total, 101 (25%) of the 411 schools offer a general public health, community health, or global health major, 105 (26%) a minor, and 144 (35%) a major and/or minor. When subdisciplines and other population health related programs are included, 160 (39%) offer a major, 183 (45%) a minor, and 227 (55%) a major and/or minor, including 83% of national universities, 57% of regional universities, 45% of national liberal arts colleges, and 35% of regional colleges. Global health programs, usually minors, are offered by 32% of national universities and 8% of national liberal arts colleges. Global and public health have become common areas of primary and secondary study at the bachelor’s level at diverse schools in the United States. Although these degree pathways are especially prevalent at large urban universities, schools of all sizes, types, and locations have invested in offering educational programs in population health areas.


Jacobsen KH, Zeraye HA, Bisesi MS, Gartin M, Malouin R, Waggett CE. Master of Public Health concentrations in global health in 2020: Preparing culturally competent professionals to address health disparities in the context of globalization. Health Promotion Practice. 2020. doi:10.1177/1524839920913546 

During the 2019-2020 academic year, 37 (17%) of 223 Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited or applicant schools and programs of public health offered Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees with concentrations in general global health. Concentration-specific competencies build on the foundational competencies required for all MPH students enrolled in CEPH-accredited programs. The most popular global health competencies focus on agencies and organizations, ethics and human rights, program management, social and environmental determinants of health, the global burden of disease, collaboration and partnerships, and cultural competency. There is significant overlap between the current concentration competencies and the ones recommended by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health in 2018. The online program descriptions for MPH concentrations in global health feature four key themes: globalization, low-income countries, social justice and equity, and culture and diversity. (1) Most programs emphasize transnational health issues and the effects of globalization on health in countries of all income levels. (2) Some programs have a special focus on preparation for serving low-income countries and other disadvantaged populations, such as refugees. (3) Most programs emphasize the social justice and equity issues underlying local and global health disparities. (4) Most programs promote development of the cultural knowledge, awareness, and skills required for serving diverse populations effectively as rising leaders in the international, national, or local public health workforce. Global health MPH programs prepare students for public health practice in resource-limited settings in their home communities as well as internationally.


Jacobsen KH, Li X, Bisesi M, Gartin M, Malouin R, Waggett CE. Master of Science (MS) and Master of Arts (MA) degrees in global health: Applying interdisciplinary research skills to the study of globalization-related health disparities. Pedagogy in Health Promotion. 2020;6(1):14-22.  doi:10.1177/2373379919895032

Graduate global health education has grown in popularity over the past decade. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health has defined global public health competencies for Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees, but there are no similarly established lists of learning outcomes for other types of master’s degrees in global health. The objective of this study was to examine the program goals, curricula, and applied learning requirements for non-MPH master’s degrees in order to understand how global health is being defined and operationalized by these programs. We identified the 14 universities in the United States and Canada offering Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) degrees in global health in 2019. Their program descriptions typically emphasize applied research skills, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches, health disparities, and globalization. Both MS and MA degree pathways use a similar research-oriented core curriculum in which (1) foundational courses introduce the social and environmental determinants of health and global burden of disease trends in the context of globalization, global health ethics, and health systems and policy; (2) a research core develops competencies in biostatistics, epidemiology, and quantitative and qualitative research methods; and (3) a thesis or other written capstone project synthesizes and applies knowledge. Only 4 of the 14 programs require an international field experience, but most encourage applied experiential learning activities. Global health appears to be maturing as an academic discipline, with non-MPH graduate degrees in global health emphasizing similar knowledge areas, research skills, and competencies.


Jacobsen KH, Zeraye HA, Bisesi MS, Gartin M, Malouin RA, Waggett CE. Master of Public Health Global Health Concentration Competencies: Preparing Culturally Skilled Practitioners to Serve Internationally, Nationally, and Locally. Am J Public Health. 2019;109(9):1189-1190. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305208

Global health is not just about health in low-income countries, even though the field has a special emphasis on the health of disadvantaged communities. Global health is about understanding and responding to shared transnational human health and environmental quality concerns that affect interconnected people and populations in countries across the income spectrum. Although all Master of Public Health (MPH) students are expected to demonstrate cultural awareness, global health students are expected to develop and apply cultural knowledge and skills at a higher level. MPH concentrations in global health prepare students with foundational global health knowledge and the ethical and cultural skills required for effective public health practice and service not only at intergovernmental agencies, multinational organizations, and multilateral partnerships but also at local health departments, nonprofit social service groups, and health care providers.


Drain PK, Mock C, Toole D, et al. The Emergence of Undergraduate Majors in Global Health: Systematic Review of Programs and Recommendations for Future Directions. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2017;96(1):16-23. doi:10.4269/ajtmh.16-0687

Global health education has been expanding rapidly and several universities have created an undergraduate major degree (bachelor’s degree) in global heath or global health studies. Because there are currently no national guidelines for undergraduate degrees in global health, each of these programs was developed along individual lines. To guide the development of future global health majors, we conducted a systematic review of undergraduate majors in global health. We identified eight programs and invited program directors or representatives to a symposium at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health 2016 conference to review their existing undergraduate major in global health and to discuss lessons learned and recommendations for other colleges and universities seeking to develop undergraduate degrees in global health. We noted significant diversity among the existing programs in terms of required courses, international field experiences, and thesis research projects. In this review, we describe these global health programs, their student characteristics, as well as the key educational competencies, program requirements, and core global health courses. Based on program reviews and discussions, we identify seven recommendations for the development and expansion of an undergraduate major in global health and discuss issues that have arisen in the curricular development of these programs that warrant further exploration. As the field of global health education continues to expand, following these students after graduation will be essential to ensure that the degree programs in global health both meet student needs and launch students on viable career pathways.

These are the various professional development workshops to which SMUDGH has contributed, including several multi-day workshops and webinars.