The Undergraduate Certificate in Global Health is open to all undergraduates at the UW-Madison. To complete the certificate you will need at least 15 credits:

See the roadmap, below, for the ideal way to complete the Certificate. It is not required to complete the components of the Certificate in this order; in fact, most students do not. Download our Planning Sheet to help plan out your Certificate coursework.

Core Courses

All students are required to take Nutritional Sciences 203 and either Population Health Sciences 370 or Medical History and Bioethics 213. If you would like, you may take all three core courses and count one of the courses as an elective. Nutri Sci 203 must be taken at UW-Madison. We cannot accept a course equivalency for Nutri Sci 203 from study abroad programs or other universities.

NUTR SCI 203: Introduction to Global Health

This course is a broad survey of contemporary issues and controversies in global health. Agronomy Professor Kevin Pixley, Nutritional Sciences Professor Sherry Tanumihardjo, and Entomology Professor Susan Paskewitz cover basic definitions and concepts in public and global health and begin to tease apart both the factors responsible for causing global health problems and the steps needed to move toward possible solutions. The course also includes presentations by a series of speakers from highly varied professions, each of whom discusses how their work.

POP HLTH 370: Introduction To Public Health: Local To Global Perspectives

UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty member Dr. Patrick Remington and diverse guest speakers introduce students to the principles and practice of public health. Using leading global health problems as examples, students explore basic concepts of epidemiology and evidence-based public health with a focus on closing the gap between science and practice both in the US and abroad. If you have already taken Med Hist 213, Pop Hlth 370 can count as an elective.

MED HIST 213: Global Environmental Health

Taught alternately by Medical History and Bioethics Professor Richard Keller and Nelson Institute Professor Monica White, this course explores the relationships between major health problems and environmental crises around the world, including historical and cultural dimensions of each issue. Topics covered include disease ecology, the political economy of health and disease, global consumption, climate change, food and water security, and energy. If you have already taken Pop Hlth 370: Med Hist 213 can count as an elective.


You can use the electives to focus your Certificate on an area of particular interest or to explore the wide variety of topics in global health. The number of electives you take depends on the number of credits for each elective and the number of credits of your field experience. Most students take three electives and find that they often overlap with the classes for their major, counting for both.

As the courses at UW-Madison frequently change from one semester to the next, you may find a course relevant to global health that is not currently on our list of approved electives. Please submit the form if you would like a course to be considered as an elective.

Field Experience

Your field experience will offer you the chance to see global health challenges and solutions in person, further understanding the connections between human, animal, and environmental health you learned about in the classroom. A typical field experience may include a combination of an internship, site visits, service learning, and meetings with government agencies, nonprofits, community groups, and researchers. This is an educational program, not a volunteer opportunity. With the exception of senior nursing students in supervised clinical programs, students will not provide medical care to patients as part of their field experience.

Field experiences vary in their number of credits but typically range from one to three credits. You must receive at least one credit for your field experience for it to satisfy the requirement for the Certificate. Field experiences may take place internationally, elsewhere in the US, or right here in Wisconsin. They may range in length from one week to a semester, and can take place in fall, spring, or summer. Students choosing a pre-approved field experience do not need to take any other global health courses before participating. You must complete the field experience by your graduation. That is to say, you cannot stay on at UW just to finish the field experience, even just for the summer.

Though we encourage you to find a pre-approved field experience that works for your interests, timing, and budget, you do have the option to create your own field experience or participate in a program outside of our pre-approved list. Examples include a study abroad course with global health field component, a research opportunity with a professor, or an internship. To participate in an independent field experience you must have completed a core course.

All independent field experiences must be approved by the Certificate. Please see your global health advisor to discuss your ideas for completing an independent field experience, then submit the form.