Graduate Certificate Course Requirements

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

Graduate • Professional • Capstone Core and Elective Courses 2020-2021


Core Course Requirements

POP HLTH718, section 1: Fundamentals of International Health Care Systems (2 credits)

This course introduces students to issues in global health, and addresses and analyzes differences in health status and methods of organizing and providing health services in countries with varying levels of development and types of sociopolitical systems.  Students develop an understanding of the various avenues of international cooperation in health.  This course is currently offered the first 7-8 weeks of the fall semester.  (For optimal preparation, POP HLTH 718 should be taken prior to field experience prerequisite courses POP HLTH 640 or POP HLTH 644 if possible.)

POP HLTH 810 (formerly 904): Global Health Epidemiology (2 credits)

This course explores the relationship between globalization and health and provides students with an understanding of: (a) indicators and determinants of health and health disparities across populations, from less to more developed countries; (b) the application of epidemiology to evaluate population health, identify global public health priorities, monitor progress toward public health goals, and develop and evaluate interventions to improve global health and reduce health disparities; and (c) some practical and ethical considerations in global health research.  The course also exposes students to the “One Health” perspective and to research and clinical work of University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty members working in the field of global health epidemiology, and is designed to help students identify ways that epidemiology can contribute to improvements in global health. It is currently offered the last 7-8 weeks of the fall semester.

Global Health Field Courses/Experiences

A global health field course/experience (1 credit) is an academic credit-based learning experience in a setting relevant to global health.  Field courses/experiences are generally carried out during the summer (less commonly within the normal academic calendar if they do not interfere with class attendance or completion of requirements for registered coursework); 1 week of on-site learning is equivalent to 1 credit(Please note that only one field course/experience credit counts toward Certificate requirements; additional field credits earned cannot be applied to elective course requirements.)

Students must be in good academic standing to participate in a global health field course/experience.

Global Health Field Preparatory Courses (1 credit)

Students must complete an on-campus preparatory course prior to undertaking a field course/experience.  The preparatory course taken is determined by the nature of the field course/experience a student undertakes.

Students should follow one of the two sequences below to complete their chosen field experience and corresponding prerequisite course


Option #1:  POP HLTH 644 (1 credit in spring semester) followed by POP HLTH 645 FACULTY-LED FIELD COURSE (in following summer)

POP HLTH 644 is for students planning to participate in one of the global health faculty-led field courses (currently offered in Uganda, Thailand, and Ecuador) and includes site-specific course work.  Eligibility for enrollment in POP HLTH 644 is contingent upon acceptance into one of the POP HLTH 645 field courses administered by the UW-Madison Office of International Academic Programs (IAP).  Please see the IAP website for more information on the three global health field courses, The deadline for applying for these courses is typically the first Friday in December each year.


Tentative* List of Faculty-led Global Health Field Courses for the

2019/2020 Academic Year

Updated July 19, 2019

(* Students should confirm these course offerings after the campus timetables are published by the university and IAP posts its summer field course offerings.)


Dept/Number Course Title Participating Faculty (may vary) Credits Prerequisite

Section 003


Global Health Field Study: Uganda Evensen, Ntambi 3 POP HLTH 644
Section 003

Section 004


Health and Disease in Thailand: A Field Course in Public Health and Infectious Disease Conway, Koning


2 POP HLTH 644
Section 004

Section 005


Global Health Field Study:  Culture and Community Health in Ecuador Hutchins, Kiefer,


3 POP HLTH 644
Section 005



Option #2:  POP HLTH 640 Foundations for Global Health Practice (1 credit in the spring semester) followed by an INDEPENDENT FIELD EXPERIENCE (usually in the following summer)

POP HLTH 640includes researching and creating a country profile, developing a project proposal that is of mutual benefit to the student and the counterpart organization, understanding the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and global health ethics, and preparation for travel (health and safety).  Students design an independent field experienceat the site of their choice and write a proposal that describes project goals and objectives and outlines a tentative schedule of activities to be reviewed and approved by their advisor and the Certificate Director.  (This is prepared as an assignment in POP HLTH 640, but students should have already identified a project topic, mentor, and site prior to beginning the course.) Independent field experiences usually take place in a countryoutside the U.S.,but may also be carried out within the U.S. working with international/underserved populations and addressing health issues that have global implications. Students may also work with international agencies, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or non-governmental organizations. When choosing a site, health and safety risks in a potential location should be carefully considered – see the following for more information: Appendix C, page 40.

Students must register for independent study credit for the field experience in the department of their UW-Madison faculty mentor (a 699 course number in most health sciences and graduate departments).  MPH students who are also global health certificate students and doing an independent field experience to count for both programs may register for POP HLTH 788, Public Health Field Experience, in place of a 699.  Please note that POP HLTH 640, Foundations for Global Health Practice, is still a prerequisite for POP HLTH 788 for dual MPH/global health certificate students.

The execution of an affiliation agreement between the SMPH/UW-Madison and the field site organization is required for independent study field experiences.  Please contact Betsy Teigland,, to begin this process as soon as a site is selected.

Note:  Only field experiences conducted after acceptance into the Certificate Program and following completion of the appropriate preparation course will be considered for credit toward the certificate.  (With Director’s approval, POP HLTH 644/645 taken in the spring/summer prior to matriculation in the certificate program may count toward the certificate.  However, independent field experiences undertaken prior to matriculation and without completion of POP HLTH 640 do not count toward the certificate.)  Purely clinical global health experiences (including medicine, physical therapy, veterinary medicine or pharmacy) 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.


Upon completion of field courses/experiences, all students must submit to the Certificate program office:

  1. Summary of reflections on the field course/experience – This may take the form of a self-reflection journal kept throughout the field course/experience, or if a journal was not kept, students should use the template provided in Appendix C, Attachment A.
  2. Evaluation of the student by the on-site preceptor or faculty-led field course instructor (see Appendix C, Attachment B)
  3. Reference-cited, academic paper/project report (see Appendix C for details)
  4. Site evaluation (for independent field experiences only; Appendix C, Attachment C)

Elective Course Requirements

Criteria for Global Health Electives 

  • Course objectives are aligned with some or all of the learning objectives of the Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health (see page 4).
  • A substantial portion of the course content pertains to health in an international setting or deals with international/underserved populations in the U.S.
  • The class is a graduate level course.  (Note:  upper level undergraduate courses that have content highly relevant to global health may be included as electives with the approval of the Certificate Director.)
  • Students are encouraged to use the elective requirements to develop breadth or depth in their interest areas that will take them beyond their major course of study.


Note: certificate elective courses may not be part of the student’s required core curriculum for their primary degree program, but may be degree program electives/selectives.­)


Special Requests to Count Other Courses as Electives toward the Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health

In addition to the list of approved electives (see Appendix B), students may petition to be granted permission to include other courses as electives toward their certificate.  These petitions should be made in writing to the Certificate Director and should include:

  • a brief explanation of how the course is relevant to the student’s particular global health goals and course of study;
  • a copy of the syllabus of the course in question;
  • an assessment by the course instructor of how much of the content is global health related; and,
  • a summary of global health courses taken to date.

These requests will be reviewed by the Certificate Director/Faculty Advisor in light of the following criteria:

  • The class is 400 level or higher. (If 300 level or lower, additional review and approval is required.)
  • The course topic is relevant for global health as it pertains to the student’s particular career path.
  • A substantial proportion of the course content pertains to health in an international setting or deals with health-related issues in international/underserved populations in the U.S.
  • In the case of area studies courses that do not emphasize health as a major theme, the student’s major paper should be written on a health topic and submitted to the certificate program director.