Global Health Specialization | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Global Health Specialization

The Global Health specialization prepares students to confront complex issues primarily impacting resource-poor populations around the world.

Students learn the basic biology and epidemiology of major infectious and chronic diseases, as well as other health conditions contributing significantly to global health inequity. Underlying risk factors for these conditions, such as socio-economic determinants and environmental exposures, are explored.

The curriculum builds a context-specific understanding of the root causes that lead to health outcomes. Coursework emphasizes transdisciplinary problem solving approaches and students learn to integrate multiple sectors to build creative solutions. Students are prepared to create program and policy solutions that address pressing global health issues. Throughout the program, students are exposed to best strategies to support vulnerable groups such as infants, young children, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating women.

Graduates pursue careers in multi-lateral organizations (WHO, World Bank), the U.S. Federal Government (CDC, USAID), non-governmental organizations based in the U.S. and abroad (Save the Children, Helen Keller International), as well as academic research or policy centers.

Specialization Requirements: 15 Credits

  • Global Health
  • Transdisciplinary Problem Solving (TPS) course*
  • Policy, Politics and Power in Global Health
  • One elective course*
  • MPH practicum (global health-focused)

*Select from a list of pre-approved courses related to global health

TPS course options include:

  • TPS: Global Hunger & Undernutrition
  • TPS: Implementing Public Health Interventions in Developing Countries (taught abroad)
  • TPS: International Family Planning and Reproductive Health

Global Health-focused electives include:

  • International Social Development Theory
  • Global Anti-Poverty Interventions
  • Development Practice in International Settings
  • Global Burden of Disease
  • International Child Welfare


The MPH program requires 360 hours of practicum. Students in the Global Health specialization must complete their practicum experience in a low- or middle-income, international setting. (Note: Exceptions are being made for those selecting practicum sites in 2020/2021.)

Students who enter the specialization with at least 1 year of experience in a low- or middle-income, international setting may pursue their global health-focused practicum within a high-income setting (e.g., USAID in Washington, D.C.) that has been approved as a Core Affiliated Site.

Sample low- and middle-income, international practicum sites include:

  • Helen Keller International
  • Maji Safi Group
  • Ripples Foundation
  • World Health Organization

Jessica Levy

Specialization Chair

Associate Professor Jean-Francois Trani investigates the intersection of mental health, disability, vulnerability and poverty with a focus on conducting field research that informs policy and service design for individuals living in conflict-affected fragile states and low-income countries. Trani’s teaching is linked to his professional experience in global health and international development, and he involves students in all phases of his research projects.

Kate Chlitheroe

Featured Graduate

“For me, the most attractive part of the Global Health specialization is its innovative and flexible curriculum that allowed me to tailor my global health studies to what interests me. At the same time, the program approaches global health issues from a broad and dynamic perspective in order to develop valuable solutions.”

—Kate Clitheroe, MPH ’14, Administrative Director, Holy Family Surgery Center, Tegucigalpa, Honduras