Global Health

The School of Public Health offers a Specialty Area of study in Global Health for graduate students enrolled in any of the School's discipline-based programs. The objectives of the Global Health Specialty Area (GHSA) are to support and cultivate students' interests in global health, and to help develop competencies and skills in global public health that can be applied to students' careers. The GHSA provides an opportunity for students to explore multidisciplinary issues in global health through coursework, mentorship, and global health engagement.

The GHSA is administered through the Center for Global Public Health (CGPH).

GHSA core advisors include:


Graduate students enrolled in a discipline-based program at the School of Public Health and Master of Development Practice (MDP) program.


1. Advising/Mentorship

  • Initial advising session: Email and meet with Robert Snyder to schedule a meeting to:
    • Discuss your interests and goals in global health
    • Go through your advising and tracking form (found in the GHSA handbook)
    • Choose three potential faculty mentors from the mentor list (found in the GHSA handbook)
    • Address other matters of concern (i.e., internships, course selection, GHSA requirements, etc.) 
  • Global Health faculty mentor: More than 30 faculty members at UC Berkeley are designated mentors in the GHSA (see GHSA handbook). Each mentor brings a different set of skills, geographic expertise, and research areas. You will be assigned a mentor after your initial advising session. We will try our best to match you with one of your top choices. These mentors do not need to be your only global health mentors. GHSA core advisors are always available, and we encourage students to connect with other faculty who are not their mentors.

2. Global Health Coursework (9 units total)

  • Complete at least one global health core course (2 units).
    • Fall: Foundations of Global Public Health: PH C253/DEVP C232 (Reingold/Fong) – 2 units
    • Spring: The Future of Global Public Health: PH 212D (Hemmerling/Le) – 2 units 
    • We encourage students to take both courses, and most take the course during Year 1. Those without previous global health experience are highly recommended to take the fall course.
  • Complete a minimum of 5 additional units of global health coursework (7, if only one core course).
    • Coursework should enable students to gain a transdisciplinary global health perspective.
    • Eligible courses are chosen from a list of those approved by GHSA staff at the School of Public Health, and in other UC Berkeley departments. A list of approved courses is included in the GHSA handbook. Other courses can qualify if approved in consultation with GHSA advisors and/or your faculty mentor.
    • These additional courses cannot be core requirements for your degree program. A GHSA core advisor can assess these on a case-by-case basis.
    • Courses must be taken for a letter grade.
  • In addition, you must meet all course requirements and electives for your degree program.

3. Global Health Engagement

  • Internships: (Note: Global health internships are recommended, but not required. It is a desired outcome of the specialty, but is not mandatory.)
    • For students in 2-year programs, we encourage you to work with your mentor to develop a global health-related internship in the summer, either at home or abroad. While the responsibility for securing an acceptable international placement lies with the student, the Center for Public Health Practice & Leadership (CPHPL) and the Center for Global Public Health (CGPH) offer a number of resources for global health internships. MPH internship placements must be approved by the CPHPL and should provide the student with a relevant and rigorous off-campus learning experience.
    • Students in 1-year programs are encouraged to seek practical and/or research experiences in global health during their studies. Your mentor can help you brainstorm, and you are welcome to contact CPHPL and CGPH to explore opportunities.
  • Graduate Global Health Connection: Starting in the fall semester 2016, the CGPH-SPH will be sponsoring monthly semi-structured meetups on the last Monday or Tuesday of each month. These events are organized in an effort to develop a global health community at Berkeley and also to facilitate networking and global health career development activities among our graduate students. The meetings are mandatory (minimum requirement: 2 of 4 per semester) for all those interested in (or already pursuing/in) the GHSA and the CGPH Fellows programs.


Each student who successfully completes the requirements of the GHSA will receive a document signed by the Chair of the Global Health Specialty Area (Professor Art Reingold) certifying the student's completion of the requirements for the specialty area.