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View of the lobby of the Ryals building from the second floor balcony, flags of many nations on display. The Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies is an interdisciplinary program designed for students who seek a broad and flexible set of skills for understanding contemporary health challenges and thinking about how they might best be solved to improve health and health equity worldwide. The curriculum emphasizes the development of core skills in critical thinking, problem-solving and the importance of direct experience (research, study abroad, service learning and advocacy).

This 15-hour certificate program is offered to any UAB graduate student who wishes to gain knowledge and skills in the field of global health. Students may choose from several online or classroom-based courses to meet the requirements for this program. Upon successful completion of program requirements, students will receive a certificate of completion awarded by UAB. This certificate can be used as part of UAB’s new interdisciplinary master’s degree program. Application deadlines for this certificate follow the UAB Graduate School’s application deadlines for Degree-Seeking Students.

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Currently enrolled UAB graduate students should apply by submitting the change of program form.

Applicants not currently enrolled at UAB should apply by completing an application through the UAB Graduate School.

Admissions requirements include:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Statement of Purpose

Certificate students may apply for the MPH or other degree programs within the UAB School of Public Health and if admitted, the courses taken may be counted towards the completion of the degree program (per department discretion).

Undergraduate students currently enrolled in any major are eligible to apply to the GHS Certificate. An application must be submitted to the UAB Graduate School. Select “Global Health (CERT)” as the intended program of study.

To be considered for the certificate, students must have:

  • At least a 3.5 GPA in undergraduate courses.
  • Completed 60 undergraduate credit hours, and at least 36 hours at UAB.

Once admitted to the certificate, students must meet the following:

  • Maintain a 3.5 GPA in undergraduate courses.
  • Receive a B or better in graduate courses taken while still an undergraduate student.
  • Maintain full-time student status at UAB.

For students in the certificate program who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree, this certificate can be awarded once all requirements are completed and the bachelor’s degree has been conferred.

Course Descriptions

Current course names and descriptions are available below; please note they are subject to change. You can also search for current and past course offerings on UAB's Class Schedule Listing site. Choose "GHS" in the Department drop-down to find Global Health Studies courses.

A comprehensive list of all Global Health Studies courses is included in the UAB Graduate Catalog; however, that listing does not reflect what is being offered this year.

  • GHS 600: Fundamentals of Global Health

    This course is designed to introduce students to the foundations of global health programs, policies and practices. Students will explore the history of the field of global health, including its roots in colonial exploration, tropical medicine, and imperialism, and the current paradigms shifting the field to a collaborative and transnational effort to improve health equity for all and reduce the global burden of diseases. The course will emphasize the main concepts necessary to examine the critical links between health outcomes and social, environmental, and economic determinants at multiple levels of scale and across low, middle, and high -income countries. The course will be global in coverage but will focus on the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries and on the health of the poor in low-resource or resource-scarce settings. 3 Hours.

  • GHS 601: Global Health Partnerships & Development

    Global health is an emerging and evolving field of health research and practice. Working in global health means that researchers, practitioners, and advocates work alongside and within a complex system of governance that has emerged over time and in response to very significant global health events. This course offers a critical analysis of global health programs and partnership initiatives over time and their impact on health and development. Using a historical lens to examine the growth of global health as a field of research and practice, this course examines the very significant paradigm shift from the field of international health to global health. By exploring key historical events and interventions, this course also explores why global health diplomacy is so important to cooperation among countries as well as global health security and how global health programs are funded, and programs and initiatives are implemented in various bilateral, multilateral, and private-public partnerships. 3 hours.

  • GHS 603: Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Health

    This course will introduce students to the inter-relationships between migration and health, focusing on the myriad of health issues experienced by migrant populations. The course will focus on both communicable and non-communicable health issues among migrating populations. The course will examine health issues among all types of migrant populations with a particular focus on the categories of ‘displaced peoples’, and the resultant state and humanitarian responses surrounding health and social (public health) services. This course frames global health in broad terms to include the underlying social and economic conditions, including climate change, economic underdevelopment, and political instability, which displace people, or motivates them to migrate, and which present barriers to achieving health, mental health, and wellbeing in immigrant, migrant, and refugee communities. We explore how violence, social suffering, health, disease, and mental health are intertwined with displacement and migration. 3 hours.

  • GHS 604: Infectious Diseases of Global Health Significance

    The purpose of this course is to equip participants with up-to-date knowledge of global pandemic preparedness and control measures necessary to protect present and future generations. This course will expose students to Global Health agreements such as the pandemic treaty and International Health regulations. The course also challenges students to find new innovative strategies for the prevention of the big 3 (HIV, TB & Malaria) infectious diseases and familiarize students with global health priorities. To achieve this, the course will introduce concepts of disease infectious disease transmission and disease transmission dynamics and introduce the principles of global health security. The course adopts multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary perspectives in studying the factors that contribute to the impact of pandemics and major outbreaks using Smallpox, malaria, and COVID-19 as an important historical lens. Students will explore some of the WTO policies that facilitate or preclude the discovery of vaccines and distribution of vaccines and medical commodities during pandemics. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on equity, one health, and universal health coverage. 3 Hours.

  • GHS 606: Critical Issues in Global Maternal Child Health

    This course is an elective module for students enrolled in UAB Certificate in Global Health program. Mothers and children in developing countries are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors of the world's population. This course defines the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) discipline, describes the current practices and challenges, and compares global strategies and potential solutions. 3 hours.

  • GHS/HPO 645: Comparative Health Systems and Policy

    This course provides a comprehensive survey of a number of healthcare systems from low-, middle-, and high-income countries, situating the U.S. and other national experiences in a comparative cross-national frame. The course provides frameworks for students to analyze in diverse settings the different ways that health policy is developed and implemented, given the resources, capacities, and systems of each country. The course will also examine the ways in which health care is organized and delivered, along with underlying global public health principles and impacts. By comparing health systems and policies, globally, students will reflect on how a country’s social-historical context and values, geography, polity and economy influence the way that health care is provided and its relationship with population health, as well as how health policies influence the quality of life. 3 hours.

  • GHS 649: Interprofessional Global Health Service Learning
    This course provides students with an opportunity to work in small teams to address a global health problem in collaboration with a community partner. The global health problem to be addressed can be at a local site (with a local agency or partner), a site within the US, or an international site (with a US or non-domestic agency or partner). Interprofessional teams of 4-6 graduate and professional students will apply concepts and theories related to global health, interprofessional collaboration, team building, leadership, community partnerships, business models, and appropriate framework for developing and implementing a plan to address a specific global health problem with a community partner. 3 hours.

  • GHS 690: Special Topics in Global Health

    This special topic course will be used in the graduate global health certificate program to cover emerging issues or specialized content not represented in the main curriculum. 1-6 hours.

  • IDGH 620: Global Health Ethics

    This course intends to prepare global health practitioners and researchers with the tools they need to work most effectively and meaningfully with communities from a broad ethical point of view. Global Health is never neutral, and is perhaps most potentially complicated, fraught, and difficult when it comes to issues surrounding individual and community health. A sophisticated and nuanced grasp not only of the ‘rules’ but also of the broader intellectual, practical, historical, and moral issues is an essential basis in this day and age for a successful – and less stressful - career as a health professional.

    This course uses a seminar-style format, which asks each student to take leadership in understanding and guiding in relation to our planned topics. The heart of the course focuses on the systematic exploration of the history, contexts, issues and outcomes related to specific case studies that are currently shaping how we understand the moral, ethical, and social justice implications of global health. Conversations around these cases, especially the ones that are currently ongoing, can be very difficult, even fraught. Developing skills for engaging in those conversations is an essential part of the course.


For questions about the Global Health Studies Certificate please contact Meredith Gartin, Program Director, at gartin@uab.edu, or Misty Altiparmak, Graduate Student Coordinator, at maltima@uab.edu.

Please contact the Sparkman Center at sparkmancenter@uab.edu for additional information on experiential learning opportunities, internships, fellowships, and ways to become involved in global health activities.

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