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Graduate/Professional & Capstone Certificates in Global Health Online

The complex, existential problems challenging today’s world — emerging infectious diseases and pandemics, food insecurity and starvation, climate change impacts on health, antimicrobial resistance, fundamental inequities in access to nutrition and healthcare — transcend national boundaries and require expertise and perspectives from across the biomedical, social, and physical sciences to achieve creative solutions.  Thus, there is a need for global health knowledge and skills not only among traditional healthcare providers, but also for professionals throughout multiple disciplines. It is said that “global health takes all of us,” and the Graduate/Professional and Capstone Certificates in Global Health Online give traditional and non-traditional students the expertise to effectively work across cultures and disciplines to improve health for all.  The largely asynchronous, online format provides flexibility for students to complete the certificate effectively within the context of primary degree, work and/or family responsibilities.

Prospective Students

Overview of Certificates

The UW–Madison Graduate/Professional and Capstone Certificates in Global Health Online provide students with the knowledge and skills to address health challenges and disparities around the world.

  • Students who are currently enrolled in a graduate-level primary degree program at UW-Madison – a professional degree program (typically in the health sciences) or a master or doctoral graduate degree program – apply to the Graduate/Professional Global Health Certificate Online. Applications are accepted year-round; through July 15 for Fall semester and through December 1 for Spring semester.
  • Other interested learners who are not current UW-Madison students apply to the Capstone Certificate in Global Health Online. Those accepted to the Capstone certificate participate as Special Students through the Division of Continuing Studies. Capstone students must have a minimum of a Bachelor degree from an accredited institution and interests in global health. Applications are accepted year-round; through July 15 for Fall semester and through December 1 for Spring semester.

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Why pursue global health training now?

The complex, existential problems challenging today’s world – emerging infectious diseases and pandemics, food insecurity and starvation, climate change impacts on health, antimicrobial resistance, fundamental inequities in access to nutrition and healthcare – are all fundamental issues of global health.  Creative solutions require multidisciplinary approaches and expertise from across the biomedical, social, and physical sciences.

Why choose the global health certificate online programs at UW-Madison?

  • The largely asynchronous format provides flexibility for students to complete the certificate effectively within the context of primary degree, work and/or family responsibilities.
  • The UW-Madison Graduate/Professional and Capstone Global Health Certificate Online programs comprise a collection of five courses that provide up-to-date global health knowledge across a wide breadth of topics and potential areas of personal interest.  Students will learn about the historical and contemporary issues of global health, how global health activities are governed and financed, different health system models around the world, how to use global health statistics to profile the health of a country, the challenges and options for control of the major infectious and non-infectious disease threats in the world today, and how to effectively, ethically, and respectfully engage with communities in culturally appropriate ways.  The focus is on global health in the context of lower-middle income countries throughout the world.
  • The online course instructors are UW-Madison health professionals with decades of in-country global health experience and connections all around the world, from Central and South America, to multiple countries in Africa, to India and East Asia, and here in the U.S.
  • Students will be equipped with the ability to collaborate with partners to help lead advances in global health, from small local projects to multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral initiatives to enhance the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities around the world.
  • Students will work with mentors to complete a field experience (locally or globally) or to do an in-depth analysis of an important global health issue.
  • We seek to educate an ethnically and racially diverse population of students about global health issues. We’re committed to creating the most diverse learning community possible and believe whole-heartedly in this campus’s philosophy of inclusive excellence that “Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW–Madison.”

How are the certificate programs structured?

The Graduate/Professional and Capstone Global Health Certificates Online share the same overall curriculum, though are considered to be two separate programs administratively.  The 11 graduate credit curriculum includes five two-credit online courses that are largely asynchronous to optimize flexibility for students, plus a mentored field experience.  The five online courses are:

  • PUBLHLTH 710: Introduction to Global Health: History, Current Issues, and Health Statistics (2 cr)
  • PUBLHLTH 711: Global Public Health and Healthcare Systems: Organizations, Governance, Financing, and Workforce (2 cr)
  • PUBLHLTH 712: Global Health: Infectious Diseases, One Health, and Prevention Strategies (2 cr)
  • PUBLHLTH 713: Global Health: Non-communicable Diseases, Poverty, Environmental Health, and Food Security (2 cr)
  • PUBLHLTH 714: Global Health Field Work Fundamentals: Engagement, Ethics, Policy, and Methods (2 cr)

Additionally, students complete a one-credit field experience.

  • For students with relatively little international experience, this can take the form of a faculty-led, group field course.
  • More advanced students with substantial prior experience living/working in a lower-middle income setting also have the option of independently developing their own field experience. Independent field experiences are focused on an issue/topic of particular interest to a student and usually take place in a country outside the U.S., but may also be carried out among an international/underserved population in the United States.  Students may also undertake work with international agencies as an independent field experience, e.g., the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or non-governmental organizations.
    • Purely clinical global health experiences (across all health science programs) do not satisfy the expectations of a global health certificate independent field experience. Certificate field experiences must focus substantially on an issue of community/public health.
  • Certificate students also have the option of completing a structured independent study in-depth analysis of a contemporary global health issue in place of an actual field experience if fieldwork is not possible (due, for instance, to family/childcare commitments, work commitments, impediments to travel in their home country, financial constraints, etc.).

What are the program’s learning objectives?

Upon completion of the certificate, students should be able to:

  1. Exhibit the ability to describe and compare the health care systems in different areas of the world (such as: an understanding of pros and cons of systems, comparison to the U.S. system, and trends in the evolution of health care systems over time).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the epidemiology of common global health concerns, both communicable and non-communicable (such as: differences between high/middle/low income countries and programs to mitigate the impacts of these health issues such as the millennium and sustainable development goals).
  3. Demonstrate the ability to integrate information from multiple perspectives into an assessment of a country/location’s health status (such as: history, politics, culture, societal structure, economics, environmental sciences, health care system(s), health databases, disease epidemiology, human rights, human subjects protections).
  4. Model ethical behavior in global health engagement (such as: appreciation of the bidirectional nature of learning and mutual benefits between stakeholders and learners, cultural humility and flexibility, recognition of the importance of program sustainability over time, openness to new information/ideas).
  5. Demonstrate professionalism, effective communication, leadership, problem-solving, and collaboration across multiple health education disciplines and stakeholders in addressing a global health issue (including an understanding of One Health approaches).
  6. Exhibit the ability for growth in one’s approach to global health work through self-assessment and structured reflection (such as: personal biases and perspectives, views on equity and disparities, personal limitations).

How long does the certificate take to complete?

Though it is technically possible to complete the certificate’s course of study in one year, certificate students should generally allow two years to finish the program.  This time frame provides sufficient flexibility for students to complete required courses and for graduate and professional students to simultaneously complete curriculum requirements in their primary areas of study.  Capstone candidates, who are often meeting the demands of full- or part-time work while simultaneously pursuing the certificate, follow a similar course of study as the professional/graduate students, with most also taking 2-3 years of part-time study to complete the program.  It is expected that all students will complete the certificate in no more than 4 years and, in the case of students simultaneously pursuing a graduate or professional degree, at or before the time of completion of their primary degree program.

What is the cost for the Global Health Certificate Online?

For students enrolled full-time in a graduate or professional degree program at UW-Madison, the cost for the courses in the certificate is included in their primary degree tuition (additional costs will be incurred for the field experience, which will vary depending upon the field option chosen). For Capstone certificate students, the cost is $800 per credit, plus costs for the field experience.

Have specific questions?

Questions should be directed to the certificate programs coordinator, Betsy Teigland at smphglobalhealth@hslc.wisc.edu.  We welcome questions and are here to help you with your global health education.

Watch this presentation from November 2022 to learn more about the Graduate/Professional and Capstone Certificates in Global Health Online by Dr. Ann Evensen, Faculty Director of the Certificate Programs

Link to Presentation

“Throughout the [Global Health Capstone Certificate program], I had the opportunity to explore new topics of interest, engage in global health practice, learn from my peers, and network with my instructors and other UW faculty working in the field… I applied for a position to join the global health team at the largest children’s hospital in the U.S., overseeing the development of global pediatric and maternal health initiatives. The Certificate set me apart from other candidates … My interview team was impressed with the skills and strong foundation in global health that this Certificate program gave me. I confidently accepted the position and am grateful to continue my career in global health practice!”

-Natasha Irish, (MSW, ’09)

COVID-19 Notice

As circumstances surrounding the global SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, our first priority remains the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students. The SMPH Office of Global Health will follow guidelines and policies established by UW-Madison and the University of Wisconsin System Authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Updated 07/30/22