The complex, existential problems challenging today’s world — emerging infectious diseases and pandemics, food insecurity and starvation, climate change impacts on health, antimicrobial resistance, fundamental inequities in access to nutrition and healthcare — transcend national boundaries and require expertise and perspectives from across the biomedical, social, and physical sciences to achieve creative solutions.  The UW-Madison Certificate in Global Health Online provides students with the knowledge and skills to address health challenges and disparities around the world.  The largely asynchronous, online format provides maximum flexibility for students to complete the certificate effectively within the context of primary degree, work and/or family responsibilities.


As a graduate/professional certificate program, this certificate is intended for degree-seeking graduate and professional students who would like to add the certificate to their primary course of study.

The Certificate in Global Health Online accepts applications year-round.

  • Applications are accepted through July 15 for fall.
  • Applications are accepted through December 1 for spring.

In addition to the Certificate in Global Health Online application form, program applicants are required to submit a current resume and original transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended. Applicants who are currently enrolled in or have been accepted to a UW–Madison health sciences or graduate studies program may request to have copies of their transcripts sent from their program administrator to the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Office of Global Health.

All Graduate School students must utilize the Graduate Student Portal in MyUW to add, change, or discontinue any graduate/professional certificate. To apply to this certificate, log in to MyUW, click on Graduate Student Portal, and then click on Add/Change Programs. Select the information for the certificate for which you are applying.

All Professional students (primarily health sciences students) will receive a declaration form upon admission to the program which will need to be signed by their dean/advisor and returned to the SMPH Office of Global Health.

Students who already have an undergraduate degree with a major in Global Health from UW-Madison are encouraged to contact the SMPH Office of Global Health to discuss options for advanced study. Please do not apply for the graduate/professional certificate. 


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Students currently enrolled in a full-time graduate/professional degree program at UW-Madison do not pay additional tuition for the certificate online coursework. However, responsibility for funding the global health field experience lies with the student. Depending on the site, nature, and duration of the experience, costs could range from $2,000 to $5,000+, including program fees, travel, and in-country living expenses. In some cases, students may be permitted to increase their student financial aid package to help pay these expenses. For students participating in the faculty-led field courses, scholarships are available through the International Academic Programs (IAP)/Study Abroad office that manages these programs. Additionally, primary degree programs and/or student organizations may also have funds available to help support field experience costs.


Students must complete at least 11 credits, while in residence, and earn a minimum 3.0 GPA in required certificate coursework. Completed courses listed within the certificate curriculum, whether or not they meet a specific requirement, are included in the calculation of the GPA. Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail option do not satisfy requirements.

Core Course Requirements
Students must complete the following courses.
PUBLHLTH 710 Introduction to Global Health: History, Current Issues, and Health Statistics2
PUBLHLTH 711 Global Public Health and Healthcare Systems: Organizations, Governance, Financing, and Workforce2
PUBLHLTH 712 Global Health: Infectious Diseases, One Health, and Prevention Strategies2
PUBLHLTH 713 Global Health: Non-communicable Diseases, Poverty, Environmental Health, and Food Security2
PUBLHLTH 714 Global Health Field Work Fundamentals: Engagement, Ethics, Policy, and Methods2
Global Health Field Experience1
Students must complete one of the following courses.
Study Abroad Global Health Field Experience
or Independent Study
Total Credits11

Independent Study

For independent study field experiences, certificate students must prepare a proposal, to be reviewed and approved by their advisor and the Certificate Program Director, which describes project goals and objectives and outlines a tentative schedule of activities. Students must register for independent study credit in an appropriate school or department (a 699 course number in most health sciences and graduate departments). All students completing independent field experiences are required by the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) to execute an affiliation agreement between the field site organization and the SMPH/University of Wisconsin–Madison. Upon completion of the independent field experience, all students must submit to the Certificate program office:

  • A summary of reflections on the field course/experience. (This may take the form of a journal kept throughout the field course/experience, or if a journal was not kept, a template will be provided.);
  • An instructor evaluation of the student; 
  • A reference-cited, academic paper/project report; and
  • A site evaluation.

Details on the Global Health Field Experience

A global health field experience/course is an academic credit-based learning experience in a setting relevant to global health. Field experiences/courses 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). Students must be in good academic standing to participate in a global health field experience. One week of on-site learning is equivalent to 1 credit. While field experience credits may range from 1-6, only one field experience credit may be applied toward the certificate requirements.

Students may elect to complete either:

  1. a faculty-led interdisciplinary group field course administered by the UW–Madison Office of International Academic Programs (i.e., PUBLHLTH 716 Study Abroad Global Health Field Experience), or
  2. an independent study field experience at the site of their choice, with approval of an academic advisor and the certificate faculty program director (see independent study description above). Field experiences usually take place in a country outside the United States, but may also be carried out in the United States, working with international/under-served populations or 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 nongovernmental organizations.

For PUBLHLTH 716 faculty-led group courses (Thailand, Ecuador, India), students are required to apply to participate in the field course through the campus-wide Office of International Academic Programs and complete a country-specific orientation program. Upon satisfactory completion of the field course, students will receive credit for PUBLHLTH 716.

Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

The Certificate in Global Health Online provides comprehensive student support and mentoring to maximize professional development for participating students. The programs coordinator will serve as the first line of student support for basic, procedural issues regarding the certificate program (e.g., access to the application portal, tracking of completed program requirements, monitoring of international travel requirements and paperwork, general questions). The faculty program director will serve as the primary advisor to students for issues regarding coursework as related to program requirements; global health content knowledge questions; advice, recommendations, and contacts for field projects; and, any student concerns regarding the program and academic/non-academic problems that may arise. All course faculty have extensive international field experience and will serve as equally important sources of information and personal contacts for students’ field projects and mentoring for overall development of professional skills in global health. Additionally, they will share the role of advising students regarding academic issues specific to their own courses.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Exhibit the ability to describe and compare the health care systems in different areas of the world (such as: an understanding of pros and cons of systems, comparison to the U.S. system, and trends in the evolution of health care systems over time).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the epidemiology of common global health concerns, both communicable and non-communicable (such as: differences between high/middle/low income countries and programs to mitigate the impacts of these health issues such as the millennium and sustainable development goals).
  3. Demonstrate the ability to integrate information from multiple perspectives into an assessment of a country/location's health status (such as: history, politics, culture, societal structure, economics, environmental sciences, health care system(s), health databases, disease epidemiology, human rights, human subjects protections).
  4. Model ethical behavior in global health engagement (such as: appreciation of the bidirectional nature of learning and mutual benefits between stakeholders and learners, cultural humility and flexibility, recognition of the importance of program sustainability over time, openness to new information/ideas).
  5. Demonstrate professionalism, effective communication, leadership, problem-solving, and collaboration across multiple health education disciplines and stakeholders in addressing a global health issue (including an understanding of One Health approaches).
  6. Exhibit the ability for growth in one's approach to global health work through self-assessment and structured reflection (such as: personal biases and perspectives, views on equity and disparities, personal limitations).


Information on the Certificate in Global Health Online program personnel can be found on the People tab of the program’s website: