The 15-credit certificate provides interdisciplinary perspectives on well-being, health inequities, and the root causes of global health challenges, and it is a great complement to many majors. The certificate is open to all UW–Madison students and welcomes all who are passionate about improving the health of populations across the world.

Students build knowledge about the global burden of disease and threats to well-being and are able to identify parallels between local, domestic, and international health issues. Through coursework and field experiences, students learn about public and global health careers and build valuable cross-cultural communication skills.

Customize a path of study

The certificate curriculum is flexible including core courses, a diverse range of electives, and a credit-bearing field experience requirement, allowing students to enhance the connection between the certificate and their major field of study as desired. Students have added the certificate to more than 50 majors in Agricultural and Life Sciences, Letters & Science, Human Ecology, Education, Nursing, Engineering, and Business.

Learn through hands-on, real-world experiences

A required field experience allows students to apply their coursework in a real-life setting where they examine global health issues and explore the connections among human, animal, plant, and environmental health alongside community members and health practitioners in Wisconsin, the U.S., and abroad.

Gain global perspective

Core courses provide students with a strong global and comparative framework for understanding complex health challenges, and faculty-led field experiences, whether international or within the U.S., allow students to learn about global health challenges from leading experts in the field.

Build community and networks

Field experience courses provide opportunities for community-building and high-impact educational experiences in courses with fewer than 20 students. Many students also build connections and develop leadership skills through participation in the many student organizations on campus related to global health.

How to Get in

Undergraduate students from across campus are encouraged to consider completing the Certificate in Global Health.  There are no prerequisites for declaring, and students pursuing the program are encouraged to declare as early as possible so that they can best align the coursework with their interests and plan their field experience.

Students can declare the program by scheduling an appointment with their assigned Global Health advisor, or by filling out the online declaration form on the program’s website

Students declared in the certificate should plan to complete the program before or alongside their degree and major requirements, as they are not able to extend their time on campus to complete a certificate.  Students declared in the Global Health major are not eligible to declare the certificate.  Students may not declare both the Certificate in Global Health and the Health and the Humanities Certificate.


Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum grade of C in all certificate coursework
  • At least 50% of certificate coursework taken in residence
Foundation Course Requirement3
Introduction to Global Health
Core Course Requirement (select one)3-4
Additional core courses can also be taken as elective courses, but a course cannot double count in both categories.
Global Health: Economics, Natural Systems, and Policy
Global Food Production and Health
Global Health and Communities: From Research to Praxis
Our Planet, Our Health
Introduction to Disease Biology
Global Environmental Health: An Interdisciplinary Introduction
Introduction to Epidemiology
Global Food Security
Introduction to Public Health
Field Experience1-4
Field experiences are a central component of the certificate program, and range in length from one week to an entire semester. Students are encouraged to complete the field experience prior to their senior year, and should consult the program website for complete information on different field experience programs and courses. 1
Earth Partnership Restoration Education: Indigenous Arts & Sciences
Earth Partnership: Restoration Education for Equity and Resilience
Health Impacts of Unmet Social Needs (Note: this course course requires an application prior to enrollment.)
Health and Illness Concepts with Individuals, Families, and Communities: Experiential Learning (Note: only open to Nursing students.)
Global Health Field Experience (Note: this is a topics course used for study abroad field experience programs as well as some local courses. Many field experiences require applications prior to enrollment, and students should consult the program website for complete information. ) 1
Select from electives list (see below) to reach a minimum of 15 credits total for the certificate.
Total Credits15

Students are advised to consult the program website for additional information on field experience programs and courses.

Global Health Elective List Grouped By Thematic Area

Public and Community Health

ANTHRO 365 Medical Anthropology3
C&E SOC/​SOC  532 Health Care Issues for Individuals, Families and Society3
C&E SOC/​SOC  533 Public Health in Rural & Urban Communities3
COM ARTS/​JOURN/​LSC  617 Health Communication in the Information Age3
CSCS 500 Global Health and Communities: From Research to Praxis3
ECON/​POP HLTH/​PUB AFFR  548 The Economics of Health Care3-4
FRENCH 288 Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières)3
I SY E 417 Health Systems Engineering3
KINES 355 Socio-Cultural Aspects of Physical Activity3
LSC 515 Social Marketing Campaigns in Science, Health and the Environment3
LSC 625 Risk Communication3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI  212 Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  505 Justice and Health Care3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI  509 The Development of Public Health in America3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  515 Public Health Ethics3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​POP HLTH  553 International Health and Global Society3
MED HIST/​PHILOS  558 Ethical Issues in Health Care3
MED HIST/​HIST SCI/​HISTORY  564 Disease, Medicine and Public Health in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean3
NURSING/​S&A PHM/​SOC WORK  105 Health Care Systems: Interdisciplinary Approach2
NUTR SCI 379 Introduction to Epidemiology3
POP HLTH/​C&E SOC  370 Introduction to Public Health3
RELIG ST 102 Exploring Religion in Sickness and Health3
RELIG ST 475 Religion, Global and Public Health3
SOC WORK 206 Introduction to Social Policy4
SOC WORK 646 Child Abuse and Neglect2

Social Determinants and Well-Being

ANTHRO 265 Introduction to Culture and Health3
AFROAMER/​HIST SCI/​MED HIST  523 Race, American Medicine and Public Health3
C&E SOC/​AMER IND/​SOC  578 Poverty and Place3
CSCS 410 Human Trafficking: Global and Local Perspectives3
CSCS 470 The Human Rights of Children and Youth: Global and Local Perspectives3
GEN&WS 102 Gender, Women, and Society in Global Perspective3
GEN&WS 103 Gender, Women, Bodies, and Health3
GEN&WS/​PSYCH  522 Psychology of Women and Gender3
GEN&WS 534 Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction: Public Health Perspectives3
GEN&WS/​INTL ST  535 Women's Global Health and Human Rights3
GEN&WS/​HIST SCI  537 Childbirth in the United States3
GEOG 307 International Migration, Health, and Human Rights3
HDFS/​CNSR SCI  465 Families & Poverty3
HIST SCI 360 Health Inequalities in the Long 20th Century3
KINES 353 Health and Physical Education in a Multicultural Society3
POLI SCI/​INTL ST  434 The Politics of Human Rights3-4
PUB AFFR 520 Inequality, Race and Public Policy3
RELIG ST 102 Exploring Religion in Sickness and Health3
SOC 170 Population Problems3-4
SOC/​C&E SOC  343 Sociology of Health and Medicine3

Globalization and Development

A A E/​INTL ST  373 Globalization, Poverty and Development3
A A E/​ECON  474 Economic Problems of Developing Areas3
A A E/​ECON  477 Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa3
C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST/​SOC  540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability3
C&E SOC/​SOC  630 Sociology of Developing Societies/Third World3
DS 341 Design Thinking for Transformation3
DS 527 Global Artisans3
ECON 448 Human Resources and Economic Growth3-4
GEN&WS 525 Gender and Global Health in Critical Perspective3
HISTORY/​INTL ST  330 Global History of Humanitarianism3-4
INTL ST 101 Introduction to International Studies3-4

Agriculture, Food Systems, and Nutrition

A A E/​AGRONOMY/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY 377 Global Food Production and Health3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  370 Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development3
BOTANY 240 Plants and Humans3
BOTANY/​AMER IND/​ANTHRO  474 Ethnobotany3-4
C&E SOC/​SOC  222 Food, Culture, and Society3
C&E SOC/​SOC  341 Labor in Global Food Systems3
DY SCI/​AGRONOMY  471 Food Production Systems and Sustainability3
DY SCI/​AN SCI/​FOOD SCI/​SOIL SCI  472 Animal Agriculture and Global Sustainable Development1
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
HORT 350 Plants and Human Wellbeing2
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  376 Tropical Horticultural Systems2
HORT 380 Indigenous Foodways: Food and Seed Sovereignty2
NUTR SCI 132 Nutrition Today3
or NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs
NUTR SCI 377 Cultural Aspects of Food and Nutrition3
NUTR SCI/​BIOCHEM  510 Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism3
PL PATH/​BOTANY  123 Plants, Parasites, and People3
PL PATH 311 Global Food Security3

Environmental Health and Sustainability

A A E/​ENVIR ST  244 The Environment and the Global Economy4
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
A A E 352 Global Health: Economics, Natural Systems, and Policy4
CIV ENGR 423 Air Pollution Effects, Measurement and Control3
C&E SOC/​F&W ECOL/​SOC  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
ENTOM/​ENVIR ST  205 Our Planet, Our Health3
ENTOM 490 Biodiversity and Global Change3
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
F&W ECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​M&ENVTOX  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Global Environmental Issues3
HIST SCI/​ENVIR ST  213 Global Environmental Health: An Interdisciplinary Introduction3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
POP HLTH/​ENVIR ST  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
SOIL SCI/​ATM OCN  132 Earth's Water: Natural Science and Human Use3
URB R PL 550 Transportation and the Built Environment3

Disease Biology

ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  371 Medical Entomology3
F&W ECOL/​SURG SCI  548 Diseases of Wildlife3
M M & I 301 Pathogenic Bacteriology2
M M & I/​ENTOM/​PATH-BIO/​ZOOLOGY  350 Parasitology3
M M & I 554 Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism2
MICROBIO 345 Introduction to Disease Biology3
PATH/​PATH-BIO  210 HIV: Sex, Society and Science3
PATH 404 Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases3
PHM SCI 310 Drugs and Their Actions2

Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify and articulate the global burden of disease, opportunities and threats to well-being, and the root causes and possible solutions to these challenges.
  2. Demonstrate a holistic and critical perspective on human health and well-being.
  3. Utilize global frameworks for policy development and action for improved health, well-being, and equity.
  4. Identify local, national and international health issues, and the connections between these challenges.
  5. Engage and communicate respectfully with diverse colleagues and local partners.
  6. Reflect and demonstrate self-awareness, humility, and empathy toward multiple cultural perspectives and knowledge.

Advising and Careers


Each certificate student is assigned an advisor who works to understand student goals and helps each student shape their path through the certificate. Advisors also provide students with advising around options to fulfill the field experience requirement and post-graduation plans such as “gap year” opportunities, jobs, fellowships, and graduate school.

Connect with Global Health Advisors

Career Opportunities

Many graduates connect their major and certificate studies to best match employers looking for a global health perspective. Areas for future careers are extremely varied, but include healthcare professions, public health and epidemiology, research, policy, education, health communications, environmental health, and international development.


Faculty and Instructors

Jeri Barak, Department of Plant Pathology

Kara Bresnahan, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Kerri Coon, Department of Bacteriology

Lori DiPrete Brown, Department of Civil Society and Community Studies

Malia Jones, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology

Richard Keller, Department of Medical History and Bioethics

Linda Oforka, Department of Entomology

Susan Paskewitz, Department of Entomology (faculty director)

Jonathan Patz, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Paul Peppard, Department of Population Health Sciences

Daniel Phaneuf, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

Sherry Tanumihardjo, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Valentin Picasso Risso, Department of Agronomy

Monica White, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology

Advising Hub Staff

Todd Courtenay, Advisor and Associate Director

Kelcey Daniels, Advisor

Megan Juneau, Advisor

Wisconsin Experience


Local or international internships may be part of students’ field experience requirement. Examples include: Community Health Internship Program with the Wisconsin Areas Health Education Centers; Resource Navigator Internship Program with the Center for Patient Partnerships; Wisconsin in Washington Internship Program; and internships through the International Internship Program.

Global Engagement

Immersive field experiences are a hallmark of the certificate program and include both local and international opportunities. Local field experiences are offered in Madison and throughout Wisconsin. International field experiences are offered across the globe: Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Japan, China, Spain, and Austria.

Research Experience

Many students pursuing the certificate choose to be involved in research and are mentored by leading researchers in global health. Examples include: studying the effects of climate change on human and ecosystem health; researching ways to prevent Lyme disease spread by ticks; examining how women’s empowerment leads to better health outcomes; or investigating methods to evaluate population vitamin A status which informs global health policy.

Community Engagement and Volunteering

Several student organizations on campus are related to global health. These organizations can be a great way to connect with other students with similar interests, network, get involved in the local community, and learn more about global health or other similar topics. Examples include Slow Food, Community Health Volunteers of Madison, and Partners in Health Engage.