Bachelor of Arts in Global Health (B.A.)

Global health is at once an increasingly popular new field of study, an urgent social concern, and a powerful interdisciplinary intellectual synthesis aimed at understanding and productively intervening in processes of health, illness, and healing across the globe. This program is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of factors related to illness, health, and healing from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective that transcends national borders and regional interests, and takes cultural difference and cross-cultural diversity fully into account.  

Majors are encouraged to complete the Global Health lower and upper division core courses early in their program as these courses will provide a foundation to enhance subsequent course work. Please complete GLBH 181 and GLBH 148 prior to enrolling in the senior capstone in your senior year. 

Overlaps: Lower division courses may overlap with double major, minor and college requirements. Two upper division courses may overlap between your major and minor. 

*Plan out your courses using the Undergraduate Degree Check or the College and Major Planner.

Major Requirements 

Effective FA16. All courses must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better. 

Lower Division Core Courses (3 courses/12 units)

  • ONE of the following Introduction courses: 
    • *GLBH 20. Introduction to Global Health OR 
    • HILD 30. History of Public Health 
    • Accepted by petition: *FMPH 40. Intro to Public Health (formerly FPMU 40) 
  • ONE of the following courses: 
    • SOCI 30. Science, Technology & Society OR SOCI 40. Sociology of Healthcare Issues OR 
    • SOCI 70. Sociology for Pre-Meds OR PHIL 26. Science, Society & Values
    • Accepted by petition: *GLBH 20. Introduction to Global Health (if not used for lower division major introduction course)
  • ONE Statistics course:
    • PSYC 60. Introduction to Statistics OR POLI 30 or 30D. Political Inquiry OR MATH 11/11L.Calculus-Based Introductory Probability and Statistics (MATH 10B)  OR AP stats course (must have score of 3 or higher)
    • Accepted by petition: *COGS 14B. Intro to Statistical Analysis OR BIEB 100. Biostatistics (BILD 3, MATH 10/20 A+B) 

Upper Division Core Courses (6 courses/24 units)

All students will take the following:

  • GLBH 148. Global Health and Cultural Diversity (cross-listed with ANSC 148)
  • GLBH 181. Essentials of Global Health
  • MGT 173. Project Management in the Health Services
  • ONE Policy Analysis course  
  • GLBH 160. Global Health Policy
  • POLI 160A.or AA Introduction to Policy Analysis (crosslisted with USP 101, if taking USP 101, submit petition)
  • POLI 170A. Introductory Statistics for Political Science and Public Policy
  • USP 147. Case Studies in Health Care Programs/Poor and Underserved Populations (offered every other year - not offered 17-18)
  • USP 171. Sustainable Development
  • SOCI 152/USP 133. Social Inequality and Public Policy
  • ECON 130. Public Policy (ECON 1A-B. or ECON 2. or ECON 100A)
  • HISC 180. Science and Public Policy
  • ENVR 110. Environmental Law
To be taken senior year:
  • GLBH 150A. Global Health Capstone Seminar I (winter)
  • GLBH 150B. Global Health Capstone Seminar II (spring) 

Electives (8 courses/32 units) 

All electives, with the exception of two biological science courses, must be upper division.

From the following categories:

  • THREE Biological Science Electives (one must be upper division)
    • e.g. physiology of nutrition, infectious disease, environmental factors)
  • THREE Medical Social Science Electives 
    • e.g. social and cultural context, economic and political factors
  • ONE Medical Humanities Elective 
    • e.g. medical history, bioethics, literature
  • ONE Global Processes Elective 
    • e.g. immigration, climate change, globalization, development

Visit the course offerings page for additional Course Descriptions. Not all courses are offered every year. Courses are subject to change without notice.

Biological Science Courses (choose three)

Students must select at least one upper division course to fulfill their biological science/epidemiology requirement (upper division courses are 100 level courses). *Lower division courses may overlap with major, minor and GE coursework.




ANTH 2. Human Origins 

ANBI 134. Human Evolutionary Genetics 

ANBI 141. The Evolution of Human Diet 

Accepted by petition:

*ANTH 43. Introduction to Biology and Culture of Race (DEI Course)

*ANBI 139. Evolution of Human Disease

Biological Sciences

Pre-requisites for biology courses are listed in parentheses

Additional biology pre-reqs can be found here.

BILD 3. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology 

BILD 18. Human Impact on the Environment

BILD 22. Human Nutrition  (Open to nonbiology majors only)

BILD 26. Human Physiology (Open to nonbiology majors only)

BILD 36. AIDS, Science, and Society  (Open to nonbiology majors only)

BILD 38. Dementia, Science, and Society

BILD 60. Biology and Diversity (BILD 1 and BILD 2 or 3) (DEI overlap)

BICD 100. Genetics (BILD 1) 

BIBC 102. Metabolic Biochemistry (Chem 140A and Chem 140B)

BICD 110. Cell Biology (BIBC 100 or BIBC 102)

BICD 136. AIDS, Science, and Society (BILD 1, BILD 2 recommended)

BICD 140. Immunology (BICD 100, BIMM 100, BIBC 100 recommended)

BIMM 100. Molecular Biology (BILD 1 and BIBC 100 or BIBC 102)

BIMM 110. Molecular Basis of Human Disease (BICD 100, BIBC 100 or BIBC 102, BIMM 100, upper-division standing)

BIMM 114. Virology (BIMM 100)

BIMM 124. Medical Microbiology (BIBC 100 or BIBC 102)

BIBC 120. Nutrition (BIBC 102)

BIPN 100. Human Physiology I (BILD 1 and BILD 2)

BIPN 102. Human Physiology II (BIPN 100)

BIPN 134. Human Reproduction (Formerly: BICD 134) (BIPN 100) 

BIEB 150. Evolution (BILD 3 and BILD 1 or BIEB 143)

BIEB 176. Conservation and the Human Predicament (BILD 3)

Accepted by petition:

*BIMM 101. Recombinant Dna Techniques (BILD 1)

*BIBC 103. Biochemical Techniques (BILD 1)

*BIMM 120. Microbiology (BILD 1 and BIBC 100 or BIBC 102)

Not accepted: BILD 1, 2, 7, 10 

Cognitive Sciences

COGS 11. Mind and Brain

COGS 17. Neurobiology of Cognition

COGS 174. Drugs, Brain, Mind & Culture (upper-division standing)

Environmental Studies

ENVR 30. Environmental Issues

FMPH (formerly FPMU)

FMPH 101. Epidemiology  (FMPH 40 and PSYC 60 or Math 11 and upper division Standing)

FMPH 102. Biostatistics in Public Health (FMPH 40 and PSYC 60 or Math 11) 

Human Development

HDP 110. Brain and Behavioral Development (HDP 1 or PSYC 101)

Accepted by petition:

*HDP 160. Special Topics Seminar in Human Development: Human Sexuality (by petition)


Accepted by petition:

*SOCI 107. Epidemiological Methods: Statistical Study of Disease (SOCI 60 or department consent)

Medical Social Science Courses (choose three)




ANSC 101. Aging: Culture and Health in Late Life Human Development

ANSC 105. Global Health and Inequality

ANSC 106. Global Health: Indigenous Medicines in Latin America

ANSC 121. Psychological Anthropology

ANSC/GLBH 129. Meaning and Healing (if not used for Medical Humanities)

ANSC 143. Mental Health as a Global Health Priority

ANSC 144. Immigrant and Refugee Health

ANSC 146.  A Global Health Perspective on HIV/AIDS

ANSC 147. Global Health and the Environment

ANSC 149. Gender and Mental Health

ANSC 150. Culture and Mental Health

ANSC 155. Humanitarian Aid: What is it good for?

ANSC 156. Mad Films

ANSC 164. Anthropology of Medicine

Accepted by petition:

*ANSC 100. Special Topics (when Global Health Content)

*ANSC 182. Gun Violence as Social Pathology


COMM 114J. CSI Food Justice 

COMM 167. Reproductive Discourse and Gender (COMM 10, COMM 100A and COMM 100B or 100C)


ECON 140. Economics of Healthcare Producers

ECON 141. Economics of Healthcare Consumers

Ethnic Studies

ETHN 142. Medicine, Race and the Global Politics of Inequality

Public Health

*FMPH 102. Epidemiology (FMPH 40 and PSYC 60 or Math 11 and upper division Standing)(if not used for Biological Science elective)

FMPH 110. Health Behavior and Chronic Disease

Global Health

*GLBH 100. Special Topics in Global Health (may be taken up to 4 times if different topics)

*GLBH 101. Aging: Culture and Health in Late Life Human Development (cross-listed with ANSC 101)

*GLBH 105. Global Health and Inequality (cross-listed with ANSC 105)

*GLBH 110. Demography and Social Networks in Global Health

*GLBH 113. Women's Health in Global Perspective

GLBH/ANSC 129. Meaning and Healing (if not used for Medical Humanities)

*GLBH 146. A Global Health Perspective on HIV (cross-listed with ANSC 146)

*GLBH 147. Global Health and the Environment (cross-listed with ANSC 147)

*GLBH 150. Culture and Mental Health (cross-listed with ANSC 150)

GLBH 198/199. Directed Reading/Independent Research (max of 2 accepted total)

Latin American Studies

LATI 122A. Field Research Methods for Migration Studies: Seminar 

Political Science

POLI 111D. Social Norms and Global Development


PSYC 100. Clinical Psychology (formerly PSYC 163)

PSYC 101. Developmental Psychology

PSYCH 124. Clinical Assessment and Treatment

PSYC 125. Clinical Neuropsychology

PSYC 134. Eating Disorders

PSYC 155. Social Psychology and Medicine

PSYC 168. Psychological Disorders of Childhood

PSYC 172. Human Sexuality

PSYC 179. Drugs, Addiction, and Mental Disorders

PSYC 181. Drugs and Behavior

PSYC 188. Impulse and Control Disorders

Accepted by petition:

*PSYC 116. Laboratory in Clinical Psychotherapy Research

*PSYC 143. Control and Analysis of Human Behavior

Not accepted: PSYC 104, PSYC 180, PSYC 182

Scripps Institute of Oceanography

SIO 189. Pollution, the Environment and Health

Accepted by petition: 

*SIO 116. Climate Change and Global Health


SOCI 113. Sociology of the AIDS Epidemic

SOCI 134. The Making of Modern Medicine

SOCI 135. Medical Sociology

SOCI 136E. Sociology of Mental Illness: A Historical Approach

SOCI 136F. Sociology of Mental Illness in Contemporary Society

SOCI 138. Genetics and Society (DEI overlap)

SOCI 143. Suicide

SOCI 173. Sociology of Health, Illness, and Medicine

Urban Studies and Planning

USP 144. Environmental and Preventive Health Issue

USP 145. Aging: The Social and Health Policy Issues

USP 147. Case Studies in Health Care Programs/Poor and Underserved Populations (If not taken for UD policy requirement) 

Accepted by petition:

*USP 143. The US Health Care System

Medical Humanities Courses (choose one)



Critical Gender Studies

CGS 111. Gender and the Body

Global Health

GLBH/ANSC 129. Meaning and Healing (if not used for Medical Social Science Elective)


HISC 109. Invention of Tropical Medicine

HISC 115. History of Modern Medicine 

HISC 116. History of Bioethics

Accepted by petition:

*HISC 108. History of Life Sciences in 20th Century

*HISC 117. History of Neuroscience 

*HISC 176. History of Medicine in East and Southeast Asia


LTCS 155. Health, Illness, and Global Culture

LTCS 165. Special Topics: The Politics of Food

Accepted by petition:

*LTWL 177. Literature and Aging


PHIL 150. Philosophy of Cognitive Science

PHIL 163. Biomedical Ethics

PHIL 164. Technology and Human Values

PHIL 173. Topics in Bioethics

Global Processes Courses (choose one)




ANBI 132. Conservation and the Human Predicament

ANSC 125. Gender, Sexuality and Society 

ANSC 140/MNNR 101. Human Rights II- Contemporary

ANSC 145A. International Politics and Drugs

ANSC 160. Nature, Culture and the Environment

ANSC 168. Human condition

Accepted by petition:

*ANAR 146. Feeding the World

*ANSC 124. Cultural Anthropology

*ANSC 142. Anthropology of Latin America

*ANSC 154. Gender and Religion

*ANSC 156. Mad Films (if not used for med ss)


COMM 112G. IM: Language and Globalization

COMM 114J. CSI: Food Justice

COMM 152. Global Economy and Consumer Culture

COMM 156. Colonialism and Culture

COMM 179. Media and Technology: Global Nature and Global Culture

Critical Gender Studies

CGS 114. Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class (cross-listed with ETHN 183)

Ethnic Studies

ETHN 142. Medicine, Race and the Global Politics of Inequality

Latin American Studies

LATI 122B. Field Research Methods for Migration Studies: Practicum

Political Science

POLI 113A. East Asian Thought in Comparative Perspective

POLI 122. Politics of Human Rights

POLI 125. Gender, Politics, and Globalization

POLI 125B. The Politics of Food in a Global Economy

POLI 127. Politics of Developing Countries

POLI 140D. International Human Rights Law: Migrant Populations

POLI 145A. International Politics and Drugs

POLI 150A. Politics of Immigration (DEI overlap)

Accepted by petition:

*POLI 108. Politics of Multiculturism (DEI overlap)

*POLI 136. Religion and Politics

*POLI 136A. Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict

*POLI 151. International Organizations

Scripps Institute

Accepted by petition:

*SIO 116. Climate Change and Global Health (if not used for Med SS Elective)


SOCI 111. Local Lives, Global Problems (DEI overlap)

SOCI 127. Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity (DEI overlap)

SOCI 185. Globalization and Social Development

SOCI 188E. Community and Social Change in Africa

Accepted by petition:

*SOCI 169. Citizenship, Community, and Culture

*SOCI 188J. Change in Modern South Africa

Global Health Field Experience Requirement

All majors will complete the Global Health Field Experience Requirement at a research, volunteer, or clinical site in th United States or abroad.  

  • A minimum of 100 hours over a minimum of five weeks (or 3 weeks for international), distributed over no more than three programs.
  • Placement must be pre-approved and students must submit verification upon completion.
  • Majors must complete their 100 hour field experience requirement by the end of fall quarter during their graduating senior year, prior to enrolling in GLBH 150A (Senior Capstone).
  • Global Health Field Experience that is credit-bearing can count towards up to two medical social science elective courses (upon approval).
  • For more information on this requirement visit the Field Experience page.

Previous requirements: prior to FA16 requirements.  



Check out the 2017-18 Global Health Program Advising Guide & the 2017-18 Global Health Orientation Powerpoint.

Degree Check

Degree Check: Undergraduate Degree Check (fillable pdf)

Also see: College and Major Four Year Planner

Reading your degree audit

Your degree audit, and major requirements are complete when all sections are blue. Any sections in red mean that there is a deficiency. 

If a course is not showing on your degree audit, review the next section on submitting petitions. To fulfill the Field Experience requirement, you must submit a letter of verification.

For more on reading your degree audit, visit the Global Health Blog Page.

Petitioning Courses and Courses Accepted by Petition (*)

Obtain course pre-approval (recommended):

Submit a pre-approval petition to obtain permission to take a course not listed on the approved course list. 

Note: Pre-approval does not guarantee approval, but the advisors are able to provide you with guidance on course content and the likelihood that the course will be accepted.

You will be notified via the Virtual Advising Center once your request has been reviewed (please allow 2 weeks before contacting advisor).

Upon completion of the course, submit ONE of the following petitions:

(Wait until the course has posted to your academic history.)

  • Submit an Online Petition Request
  • Submit an Undergraduate Student Petition (paper form) Specify the requirement you want to apply the course toward (e.g. Fulfill Global Health Major Elective Requirement). Sign and date the petition. Submit completed petition(s) & syllabus to the Global Health Advisor (The paper form can be scanned and sent via email ( or dropped off in the GHP Office).

  • For courses accepted by petition (*): Courses that are accepted “by petition”, indicated with an asterisk (*) will not automatically show up on your degree audit. Send a message through the VAC requesting the following:  "Please accept _____________, a Global Health Pre-Approved Course, towards _______________ requirements for my Global Health ___________ (Major/Minor)."

AP Coursework

The following AP courses will be accepted for the Global Health major:




Major  Requirement

AP Statistics

3, 4, or 5

4 units

Statistics requirement

AP Biology

Score of 4 or 5

Exempts BILD 1, 2, and 3

4 units

BILD 3 accepted for biological science elective

Sample Four Year Plan


Sample Two Year Plan

2 year

Max Unit Information

  • Students may complete a maximum of 200 units.
  • This is increased to 230 if a student is completing a B.S. degree in the Jacobs School of Engineering, or 240 if a student has an approved double major.
  • Completing a minor (which is not required for your degree) does not add units to the maximum allowed.
  • Pursuing pre-career preparation (such as medical school prerequisites) does not add units to the maximum allowed.

Your maximum unit limit is based on total credits passed (listed on your TritonLink Academic History as "Crdts Passed")

When calculating units completed, we do not count the following toward the maximum. We subtract them from your credits passed:

  • Units granted by Advanced Placement (AP) examinations.
  • Units granted by International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations or diplomas.
  • If you are a transfer student with IGETC, Partial IGETC, or UC Reciprocity, we consider 60 of your transfer units as applying toward completion of General Education and major requirements, and will deduct transfer units beyond that. For example, if you transferred to UCSD with 105 units and IGETC complete, we would deduct 45 units in our calculation.

Double Major

To apply for a double major, you must complete the Double Major Petition form. Students should meet with an advisor from each major to plan out coursework. Meet with your current major first to map out your remaning courses.


  • Must have completed 90 UC units (junior standing) and have no more than 135 completed units.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
  • Have completed a majority of the prerequisites/lower division coursework for both majors
  • Be able to complete the 2 majors in no more than 240 units.
Notes on Double Majors:
  • You can count lower-division courses toward both majors.
  • Each major must have 10 unique upper division courses. You may overlap any upper division coursework after 10 unique courses. (The Global Health major has 12-14 possible upper division courses depending on how many upper division biological science electives you take so you can typically overlap anywhere from 2-4 upper divion courses)
  • Most majors have two upper division overlaps
Once you complete the form:

Sample Global Health Double Major Plan (Global Health side filled out for General Biology Double Major):

Pre-Med Planning

The Global Health Program's unique research, writing, and field experience opportunities make both the BA and Minor excellent preparation for advanced training in health professions including; medicine, psychiatry, dentistry, nursing, public health, and pharmacy, as well as graduate training toward the Ph.D. and research or teaching careers in health sciences, medical social sciences, health policy and health law, environmental studies, or medical humanities.  

Global Health students pursuing a career in the medical field should include appropriate Pre-Med coursework into their schedule. Students should meet with Career Services early on to ensure they are on track.

Visit the Global Health Careers page for additional information on careers in global health.


Medical School Admissions Preparation

Medical school admission requirements vary from school to school. In general, most medical schools will expect applicants to have taken the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®), and to have completed the following types of courses:

Prepare academically and complete the pre-requisites. Most medical schools have similar pre-requisites, including the following:

  • One year of general chemistry with lab (Chem 6A, B, C and 7L)
    • *To enroll in CHEM 6A you must have completed or be enrolled in MATH 10/20A.
  • One year of organic chemistry with lab (Chem 40A, B, C and 43A)
    • *To enroll in O-Chem  you must have completed CHEM 6B.
  • One year of physics, including labs (Physics 1A, 1AL, 1B, 1BL, 1C, 1CL or 2A, 2B, 2BL, 2C, 2CL)
    • *To enroll in Physics you must have completed MATH 10/20A. Only two labs are required for physics (4.0 units)
  • One year of college  mathematics 
    • Typically Math 10A+B or 20A+B + Stats (MATH 11 only) fulfills one year. MATH 10/20C not required if you take MATH 11 for stats. If you take PSYC 60 you will need to take MATH 10/20C.
  • One course in statistics (Math 11, Psych 60, etc.)
    • *To enroll in MATH 11 you must have completed MATH 10/20B. No pre-req for PSYC 60.
  • One year of English composition or writing 
    • Typically fulfilled with college writing courses (Exception: Muir: only requires two writing courses, one additional writing course is needed)
  • One year of general biology with lab 
    • UCSD Equivalent: BILD 1, 2, 3 or upper-division Bio courses + 4 unit upper division biology lab
    • *To enroll in BILD 1, you must first complete CHEM 6A and be concurrently enrolled in CHEM 6B or have completed CHEM 6B.
    • Examples of bio lab courses: BICD 101, BIBC 103, BIMM 101, BIMM 121, BICD 145, BIEB 123, BIMM 143, BIBC 151
  • Most schools: One course in Biochemistry (BIBC 102. Metabolic Biochemistry preferred (CHEM 40A + B))
  • Helpful for MCAT Prep (not required):
    • One course in psychology and sociology (Psych 1 and Soc 70. Sociology for Pre-Meds) 

Additional coursework may include:

  • Microbiology (e.g BIMM 120. Microbiology (BILD 1 + BIBC 100 or BIBC 102) 
  • Foreign Language
  • For non-medical school/pre-health applicantsAnatomy & Physiology (UC San Diego does not offer equivalent courses. Recommended: Complete anatomy + lab and human physiology + lab at a university extension (UCSD, SDSU, CSU San Marcos, etc.), community college, or a college near your home during gap year or over the summer)

Some medical schools DO NOT ACCEPT AP credit. Additional upper division coursework may be needed to meet the pre-requisites for certain schools. Please plan accordingly. If you have concerns, please meet with your pre-med advisor. Here is some more info on schools and their AP credit policies.

Additional Resources:

When to take the MCAT:

  • The MCAT exam is offered multiple times from January and March through September and needs to be completed before you begin applying.
  • If you're applying during your senior year = January of junior year (ideal time to take exam)
  • The latest recommended date to take the exam is April of the year that you apply (so that you can get your scores back in time to choose schools in your range).
  • A gap year may benefit some students to prepare for the MCAT and complete their application.
  • We recommend taking the MCAT when you are ready­ – this usually means after all of the pre-requisites (biology, chemistry, o-chem, physics, statistics) are taken as well as biochemistry and sociology 70 and general psychology.

Sample Three & Four Year Global Health Pre-Med Plans


  • LD CORE: HILD 30/GLBH 20, Sociology options (SOCI 30, 40, 70, GLBH 20 or PHIL 26) & STATS
  • UD CORE: GLBH 181, MGT 173, GLBH 148, Policy Analysis course, GLBH 150A+ B
  • EIGHT ELECTIVES (some can overlap with pre-reqs)



Year What to Do
  • Focus on grades and pre-requisite course work
  • Start researching healthcare and volunteer opportunities 
  • Get to know your professors (i.e. office hours, coffee with a prof)
  • Go to drop-in advising and workshops
  • Continue taking pre-requisites
  • Continue getting to know your professors (find a mentor!)
  • Get involved! Healthcare, service, leadership experience
  • Attend pre-health related workshops
  • Consider research
  • Prepare for standardized test 
  • Continue building professional relationships
  • Continue getting healthcare, service, leadership, research experience
  • Schedule an appointment with an advisor
  • Learn more about the benefits of taking a GAP year
  • Application year! Identify mentors to write your letters of evaluation
  • Take standardized test
  • Work on personal essay 
  • Meet with advisor to evaluate the strength of your application
  • Meet with an advisor at least once/year to make sure you are on track
  • Use your summers to accrue healthcare, service, research, or leadership hours
  • Start building professional relationships early! Finding mentors takes time, but you will need them to write you a strong Letter of Evaluation

FAQ with Healthbeat:

Can I complete my pre-med pre-requisties at community college?

Medical schools prefer that students complete their prerequisites at a 4-year university if they are already enrolled there, however, they accept transfer student's Community College (CC) credits more readily. 

Some students have extenuating circumstances (e.g. financial) that may require them to take some of their courses at a CC.  Under these circumstances, the schools can be lenient. 

The takeway is they prefer rigorous courses from four-year universities, when possible, but It won’t be a deal breaker if you are remarkable in other ways and/or have had significant difficulties to overcome.     

Do Pre-Med Pre-Reqs need to be taken for a letter grade?

It is recommended all pre-reqs be taken for a letter grade.

For more questions, contact Healthbeat. 

See: FAQ's for the Global Health Major

For questions regarding your GE and University requirements, please contact your college advisor.