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 Global Health Online capstone certificate 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 capstone certificate effectively within the context of work and/or family responsibilities.

How to Get in

This capstone certificate program is intended for University Special (non-degree seeking) students who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and is designed to "cap off" the undergraduate educational experience or to offer a focused professionally oriented educational experience. 

The Capstone 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 Capstone 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 and to complete the UW-Madison application for admission as a University Special student, selecting UNCS Capstone Certificate and the program: Global Health Online.

Applicants who 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 capstone certificate. 


Required Courses

Students must complete 11 credits for the certificate, including ten core course credit requirements and one credit of global health field experience. A description of the requirements is provided below.

Core Course Requirements
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 Experience (Choose one)1
Study Abroad Global Health Field Experience
Independent Study 1
Total Credits11

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.

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 counts toward the certificate requirements.)

Students may elect to complete either: a) 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 b) an independent study field experience at the site of their choice, with approval of an academic advisor and the certificate faculty program director (see footnote 1 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.

Capstone Certificate in Global Health Online students who are unable to complete the field course or independent field experience (due, for instance, to family/childcare commitments, work commitments, impediments to travel in their home country, financial constraints, etc.) will be offered the alternative option of conducting an in-depth analysis of a global health issue via completion of PUBLHLTH 715 Global Health Issue Analysis.

Minimum Requirements for Capstone Certificate Completion

  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C in each course used to meet Capstone Certificate requirements.
  • Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail or audit option will not count toward completion of Capstone Certificate requirements.
  • All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned "in residence" (which includes on campus and distance-delivered courses) at UW-Madison.
  • All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned while enrolled in the Capstone Certificate program.

Individual Capstone Certificate programs may have additional requirements for completion, which will be listed above as/if applicable.

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: