Ecuador children are learning to brush their teeth while sitting in a row, with a UW woman student in front of them showing them how.

Graduate • Professional • Capstone Certificate in Global Health

The Graduate • Professional • Capstone Certificate in Global Health is designed to advance the knowledge and capabilities of traditional and non-traditional learners with interests in global health. The certificate is available to graduate students, students in a professional degree program (typically in the health sciences) and to capstone students with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree who have interests in global health. Though the Graduate • Professional • Capstone Certificates are viewed as separate programs by campus administration, but here they will be referred to as a single program. And regardless of student designation, the overall curriculum, educational benchmarks and learning objectives are the same.

The certificate curriculum focuses on global health topics and health issues that transcend national boundaries. Through this nine-credit program, which includes academic course work and a global health field experience emphasizing two-way learning, students will be prepared to better address health challenges and disparities in a context of cultural diversity, both at home and abroad. Certificate candidates often work with partners and sites internationally, but may also apply a global lens to issues of health and wellbeing in Wisconsin and other parts of the United States. This global-to-local philosophy is important to the program. Through choices of elective/selective courses, students may focus their studies on health promotion, detection and treatment of disease, prevention and management of outbreaks, health policy, environmental health, or other current and important global health topics.  The certificate emphasizes multidisciplinary learning and approaches to global health challenges.

Core requirements

A minimum of  nine credits are required for the certificate, including six for core courses, one of which is a credit-based global health field experience, and three for electives.

For all students: A number of required and elective courses require permission of the instructor. Students should e-mail Betsy Teigland at explaining that they are Graduate • Professional • Capstone Certificate in Global Health Program candidates. She will make arrangements for certificate students to be able to register for classes. Please note that courses fill quickly, so please register early.

For capstone students: Capstone students are considered Special Students by UW-Madison. Please refer to the website of the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS), and contact DCS Adult Career and Special Student Services (, 608-263-6960) for assistance regarding issues pertaining to Special Student status.

An Ecuadoran boy wearing a short sleeve shirt and light pants leads a team of oxen as a UW male student follows behind to work the plow.

Completing the Certificate

Student and woman working with stethoscope

The Graduate/Professional and Capstone Certificate in Global Health program was approved by UW-Madison in December 2005. As of spring 2018, 202 students from a wide range of disciplines have completed the program. Each year the program receives 25 to 45 applications; the number of accepted applicants varies depending on the strength of the applicant pool and the number of available program openings.

Though it is technically possible to complete the certificate’s course of study in one year, certificate students should generally allow two years to complete the program. This time frame provides sufficient flexibility for students to access core 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.