Global Opportunities | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Global Opportunities

At the Brown School, students have unique opportunities to effect change all over the world. Students may gain experience in international settings in a variety of ways, primarily through global research, field-based courses, global speakers and events on-campus and/or international practica.

Global Research

Our faculty and doctoral students lead research projects all over the globe, often hiring students as research assistants to partner in their work. Areas of investigation for recent faculty and student international research projects include:

Field-Based Courses

Field-based courses integrate research from multiple disciplines in order to address real-world problems in a comprehensive way. Students and faculty have the chance to work in communities and examine social work, public health and social policy challenges specific to those countries and regions. Course offerings, which change each year, are based on individual faculty proposals. 

Upcoming courses include:  

International Practicum

An international practicum is a field placement that is completed in a Core Affiliated Practicum site outside of the United States. Through a guided process, eligible students will be able to select from a set of core affiliated international practicum sites—including opportunities with organizations such as the World Health Organization, USAID, Helen Keller International, Ripples Foundation, Maji Safi Group, Winrock International, INTERSOS and many local NGOs.

There will also be opportunities to complete practica with faculty in countries such as Haiti, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Kenya, and China and Afghanistan.

Students interested in completing an international practicum must:

  • Be enrolled in one of the following concentrations or specializations and demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career in an international field of social work and/or public health:

MPH: Global Health specialization

MSW: International Social and Economic Development concentration

MSW: Individualized concentration with international focus – approved by Global Programs Office

Or, petition for approval from the Global Programs Office

  • Receive joint approval from the Office of Field Education & Community Partnerships and the Global Programs Office. Approval involves a guided selection process with faculty and staff.
  • Successfully complete (B grade or better) at least one international course from a pre-selected list before commencing the international practicum.
  • Complete a pre-application with the Global Programs Office ranking their top three choices from the list of Core Affiliated Practicum sites.

For the International Practicum Guidelines and online application, please visit

“We are at the cutting edge of international research and practice for social work and public health. Students have exceptional international practicum opportunities, global research with faculty, and access to a wide array of speakers on global topics that prepare them to work with diverse stakeholders and bring positive change where it’s needed most.”

—Carolyn Lesorogol, Professor and Associate Dean for Global Programs

“Participating in an international practicum positions you outside of your comfort zone. It motivates you to fully engage, invest, and learn about the culture of the target community.”

—Melissa Forero, MSW ’17, International Social and Economic Development Concentration
Practicum at Maji Safi GROUP in Shirati, Tanzania