The Global Health major is a bioscience and public health major where students study human health and well-being through population-level and planetary health perspectives. Students in the major will learn how human health intersects with multiple interconnected systems, including climate change, food systems, disease ecology, environmental and ecosystem health, economic development, and healthcare access. The major allows students to focus within their area of interest, be it disease biology and epidemiology, environmental health, or public health disparities and development. The major fits well with a range of career interests and will benefit students interested in healthcare professions as well as those interested in research or policy careers related to the biological or social science facets of public health.


To declare this as the primary major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after beginning their undergraduate studies at UW-Madison (see Entering the College). For more information, contact the advisor listed on the Advising and Careers tab.


Current UW-Madison students in other schools and colleges interested in completing an additional (“double”) major in Global Health should consult with a global health advisor.  Advisor contact information is found on the Advising and Careers tab. 

Students cannot earn both the Global Health certificate and the Global Health major. Additionally, students declared in the Global Health major cannot earn the Health and the Humanities certificate.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

Major Requirements Overview
Fundamental Courses29
Core Courses15
Depth Courses15
Total Credits62

Fundamental Courses

Fundamental Course Requirements
Mathematics: complete one sequence (or satisfy through placement exam)5-6
and Trigonometry
Algebra and Trigonometry
Statistics: complete one course3
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences (recommended)
Introduction to Statistical Methods
General Chemistry: complete one sequence5-10
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Chemical Principles I
and Chemical Principles II
Introductory Biology: complete one sequence10
Introductory Biology
and Introductory Biology
Animal Biology
and Animal Biology Laboratory
and General Botany
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
and Cellular Biology
and Cellular Biology Laboratory
Global Health Introductory Social Sciences6-8
Group A: complete one course (see list below)
Group B: complete one course (see list below)
Total Credits29-37

Social Science Group A

Introduction to American Indian Studies
Introduction to Culture and Health
Gender, Women, and Society in Global Perspective
Gender, Women, Bodies, and Health
Sociology of Race & Ethnicity in the United States
Population Problems

Social Science Group B

Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics
The Environment and the Global Economy
Agroecology: An Introduction to the Ecology of Food and Agriculture
Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology
Environment, Natural Resources, and Society
Introduction to Human Geography
Global Environmental Issues
Introduction to International Studies
Introduction to Scientific Communication
Science, Media and Society
Introduction to Social Medicine
Introductory Ethics
Introduction to Public Policy
Exploring Religion in Sickness and Health

Core Courses

Global Health Core Course Requirements
Gateway Core Requirement: complete one course3
Our Planet, Our Health
Public Health Core Requirement: complete one course3
Introduction to Global Health
Introduction to Public Health: Local to Global Perspectives
Food Systems and Health Core Requirement: complete one course3
Global Food Security
Cropping Systems of the Tropics
Environmental Health Core Requirement: complete one course3-4
Global Health: Economics, Natural Systems, and Policy
Global Environmental Health: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
Global Disease Biology and Epidemiology Core Requirement: complete one course3
Introduction to Epidemiology
Host-Parasite Interactions
Total Credits15-16

Depth Courses

Complete a minimum of 15 credits of depth courses, with at least 9 credits from one category and at least 6 credits from the other categories. NUTR SCI/​INTER-AG  421 Global Health Field Experience can count for a maximum of 3 credits in the additional 6 credits from this requirement. Note: Courses used as Depth courses cannot double count as either Core or Capstone courses.

Public Health, Policy, and Development Depth Electives

Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities
The Economics of Health Care
Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction: Public Health Perspectives
Women's Global Health and Human Rights
International Migration, Health, and Human Rights
Justice and Health Care
The Development of Public Health in America
Public Health Ethics
Race, American Medicine and Public Health
Ethical Issues in Health Care
Disease, Medicine and Public Health in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean
Introduction to Epidemiology
Introduction to Public Health: Local to Global Perspectives
Public Health and Human Rights: The Care of Vulnerable Children in Africa
Health Care Quality Improvement in Low Resource Settings
International Health and Global Society
Foundations in Global Health Practice
Poverty and Place

Food Systems and Nutrition Depth Electives

The International Agricultural Economy
Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa
Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development
Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism
Issues in Food Systems
Labor in Global Food Systems
Food Production Systems and Sustainability
Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development
International Field Study in Animal Agriculture and Sustainable Development
People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems
Plants and Human Wellbeing
Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy
Tropical Horticultural Systems
The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology
Food Microbiology
Human Nutritional Needs
World Hunger and Malnutrition
Nutrition in the Life Span
Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology
Global Food Security
General Soil Science

Ecosystem Sustainability and Planetary Health Depth Electives

Environmental Economics
Global Health: Economics, Natural Systems, and Policy
Grassland Ecology
General Ecology
Conservation Biology
Environmental Sustainability Engineering
Air Pollution Effects, Measurement and Control
Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability
Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice
Indigenous Peoples and the Environment
Environmental Ethics
Global Environmental History
Extinction of Species
Global Warming: Science and Impacts
Nature, Power and Society
Environmental Conservation
Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing
An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Human Transformations of Earth Surface Processes
Toxicants in the Environment: Sources, Distribution, Fate, & Effects
Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players
Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals
Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems
Environmental Microbiology
Introduction to Environmental Health
Air Pollution and Human Health
Health Impact Assessment of Global Environmental Change
Soil Biology
Soils and Environmental Quality

Disease Biology Depth Electives

Fundamentals of Human Physiology
Animal Health and Disease Management
Survey of Biochemistry
Introduction to Biochemistry
Principles of Physiology
Principles of Physiology Laboratory
Biological Interactions
Medical Entomology
Principles of Genetics
The Genomic Revolution
Human Genetics
Pathogenic Bacteriology
Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism
Vaccines: Practical Issues for a Global Society
Biology of Viruses
Biology of Microorganisms
Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory
Host-Parasite Interactions
The Microbiome of Plants, Animals, and Humans
Toxicology I
Toxicology II
Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases
Clinical and Public Health Microbiology


Global Health Capstone Requirement (complete one option) 3
Biological Interactions
Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities
Food Production Systems and Sustainability
Women's Global Health and Human Rights
Health Impact Assessment of Global Environmental Change
Total Credits3

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Describe the current status of health, well-being and sustainability for humans and all life, the environment, and the planet.
  2. Compare and contrast health and environmental conditions in the context of local settings and our state with national, international and global settings.
  3. Quantify health challenges in terms of the global burden of disease, the human development index, and the metrics associated with the sustainable development goals and the planetary health boundaries.
  4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary initiatives and programs to improve global public health and sustainable systems.
  5. Use socioeconomic and political frameworks to characterize health challenges and demonstrate social awareness.
  6. Demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills necessary for teamwork and leadership, ethical conduct, cross-cultural collaboration and civic engagement.
  7. Use a systems approach to analyze complex relationships related to creating conditions for healthy life, sustainability and survival and describe the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable systems and survival.
Global Health Core Course3Global Health Core Course3
CHEM 1034CHEM 1045
Math5LSC 1003
CALS First-Year Seminar1Social Science Category A or B3-4
 15 15-16
Global Health Core Course3Global Health Core Course3
STAT 3713Social Science Category A or B3-4
Ethnic Studies3Electives4
 14 15-16
Global Health Core Course3Global Health Depth Course3
Global Health Depth Course3Global Health Depth Course3
 16 15
Global Health Depth Course3Global Health Depth Course3
Global Health Capstone2-3Humanities3
 15-16 15
Total Credits 120-123


Advising is an essential resource for students in the Global Health Major, and helps students shape their unique Wisconsin Experience and career path by making the most of their time at UW-Madison.  Advisors can help students make well-informed decisions about coursework and academics, share strategies for success, support them as they encounter challenges, connect them to resources, and provide information about campus policies and procedures. Students are encouraged to regularly meet with their assigned advisor in the major, which helps ensure that they are aware of opportunities and progressing in their academic and career goals.

Advising is typically done through individual in-person appointments, but advisors in the major are also able to meet with students over the phone or through video conferencing if needed.  Quick questions can be answered via email, but an appointment should be scheduled if a conversation is needed.  Both declared and undeclared UW students can schedule appointments through the Starfish application in their MyUW page.

Global Health Major Advisor:
Todd Courtenay
Link to schedule an appointment through Starfish


The knowledge and skills developed through the Global Health Major equips students for success in a range of career paths.  Some graduates may use this background to go into healthcare professions, while others may choose research or policy careers related to public health, epidemiology, environmental health, or international development.  The major supports students who intend go directly into the workforce after graduation as well as those who intend to further their education through graduate or professional programs.

Because an interest in global health can lead to many different careers, students are encouraged to begin the career exploration process early in their UW-Madison journey by working with advisors, faculty, and career resources on campus.  These resources can help students reflect on their values and goals, identify career paths, and outline strategies for pursuing their goals. UW-Madison has a number of dedicated career resources for undergraduate students, including CALS Career Services, the Career Exploration Center, L&S SuccessWorks, and the Center for Pre-Health Advising.    


Susan Paskewitz (Faculty Director), Ph.D.
Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH
Joshua Garoon, Ph.D.
Sherry Tanumihardjo, Ph.D.
Valentin Picasso Risso, Ph.D.
Daniel Phaneuf, Ph.D.
Jeri Barak, Ph.D.
Patrick Remington, M.D., MPH
Richard Keller, Ph.D.

Faculty Associates

Devika Suri, MPH

Students majoring in Global Health are involved in an array of opportunities across campus. Students are highly encouraged to complement their coursework with out-of-classroom experiences such as research, volunteering and study abroad.

The following opportunities can help students connect with other students interested in global health, build relationships with faculty and staff, and contribute to out-of-classroom learning:

Research/Lab experience: Students are encouraged to get involved in research. Research can be performed for either course credit or pay, depending on the opportunity. Research opportunities can primarily be found by inquiring with advisors, instructors, and faculty members.