Global Health students studying abroad in Africa

Paired with a related major, the global health certificate prepares students to work in changing environments and with more diverse populations. Students will be able to respond to the challenges presented by permeable geographic and cultural boundaries.

Why Global Health Matters: The world is economically, politically, culturally, and technologically connected and interdependent. Increasingly mobile populations seeking economic opportunity, security and safety. They are often displaced by civil unrest, regional conflicts, diminished natural resources, poverty and disease. Some health issues remain isolated and contained to locations or populations, but health matters increasingly transcend geographic boundaries. This means the approaches and solutions to such issues must involve a global approach, and graduates who can do so will be in high demand.

Program Type

Undergraduate Certificate

Program Format

On Campus

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Study Abroad with UWM School of Nursing

Immerse yourself in cultures and customs all over the world. UW-Milwaukee nursing students can practice their skills with life-changing study abroad trips in Malawi, Kenya, Thailand and Ecuador that expose students to a wide variety of health traditions.

Alumni Victoria Sheer & Julie Kantor in Malawi dancing in African dresses
UWM Alumni Victoria Scheer and Julie Kantor

An undergraduate certificate in global health provides students with knowledge of:

  • the global burden of disease
  • the social determinants of health in a global context
  • the principles, language and measurement tools used in global health
  • ethics and global health
  • the global cultural, religious and historical contexts of health, disease and health care

There are many complementary majors to the global health certificate, including nursing, biology or biochemistry on a pre-med track, conservation and environmental science, geography, global studies, political science, religious studies and many more.

The global health certificate is open to both undergraduates or graduate students and may be earned in conjunction with any UWM degree program. Nondegree seeking students are also welcome, including those who previously earned a bachelor’s degree and those who do not hold a bachelor’s degree but who have a strong interest in the subject matter.

Students must complete, with a minimum grade point average of 2.50, at least 21 credits in approved global health courses, of which 12 must be earned in residence at UWM.

Of these 12 residence credits, nine must be taken at the 300 level or above. A minimum of six credits must be taken in the College of Letters and Science. A minimum of six credits must be taken in the School of Nursing. No more than nine credits from any one department may count toward the certificate. A maximum of six credits of independent study may count toward program requirements, and courses for the certificate may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

CourseCourse NumberCredits
Introduction to Public HealthPH 1013
Introduction to Global HealthNURS 1103
Choose one of the following:
Lifeways in Different Cultures: A Survey of World Societies
The World: Peoples and Regions
World History since 1500
Politics of the World’s Nations
World Society

GEOG 110
HIST 132
SOC 103

Fieldwork (Students are required to do an internship,
self-designed research project, or study abroad in
the field of global health to gain practical experience)
Electives (six courses from the list below)23-24
Global Health: Ethics and Human Rights (Capstone)NURS 4753

At least six credits from the following:

CourseCourse NumberCredits
Economic Growth and Sustainable Development in AfricaAFRICOL 3293
Sex, Marriage, and Health Care in the AfroworldAFRICOL 3513
Introduction to Anthropology: Culture and SocietyANTHRO 1023
Culture and Global HealthANTHRO 4393
Medical AnthropologyANTHRO 4403
Medicine and Pharmaceuticals in the Golden AgeANTHRO/GLOBAL 4433
The Global Politics of Human RightsANTHRO 4473
Plagues, Pandemics, and EpidemicsBMS 2043
Introduction to Conservation and Environmental ScienceCES 2103
Economic DevelopmentECON 3533
Global Violence, Disease, and DeathETHNIC 3753
Perspectives on Healthcare SystemsNURS 1022
Global Maternal/Child Health: From Evidence to ActionNURS 2043
Honors Seminar NURS 3803
Global Patterns of DiseaseNURS 4013
Study Abroad NURS 4973
Global Food Security and SystemsNURS 6203
Climate Change, the Environment, and Human HealthPH 3033
Health, Wealth and DemocracyPOL SCI 3743
Population and SocietySOCIOL 4723
Health Issues in the Hispanic WorldSPANISH 3883

A global health certificate applies to careers not only in health care, but also government, nonprofits, education or international business.

Careers in global health require skills for working internationally as well as within globally focused organizations based in the United States.

Certificate students gain competence in identifying and analyzing the factors that generate disparities in health status, health resources and access to health information and health services. In particular, certificate holders have a thorough understanding of how global health issues impact ethnic minorities and other marginalized and vulnerable population groups.

Depending on their major, students with this skill set will find varied opportunities to act as agents of change for disease prevention and health initiatives domestically and abroad in developing nations. Students with a medical-oriented major may work for government or nonprofit agencies developing programs and providing on-the-ground access for areas dealing with infectious and tropical diseases.

Students with a major in the social sciences may find work with organizations dedicated to mental illness and the health consequences of war or instability. A strong background in different cultural and religious practices combined with this certificate can prepare students for work in preventive maternal and child health care programs, a high priority need in the developing world. Business-oriented majors might enjoy the essential financial and management work needed to establish a strong health care infrastructure where one currently does not exist.

The overall job outlook in global health is excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts high demand for skilled worker in the global health field through 2022.

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