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Applications for the 2024-25 cohort open September 6th, 2023.

Priority Deadline: Thursday, December 14th, 2023 at 11:59pm
Extended Deadline: Wednesday, February 7th, 2024 at 11:59pm 
See our Admissions page fo additional details.
To apply, visit UC San Diego Graduate Admissions website.
Please note, we only accept students during the Fall of each academic year.

MA Program Highlights:

  • One year degree program. 
  • Interdisciplinary curriculum and electives. 
  • Small program and class sizes (15-20 students per cohort).
  • Students participate in a Psychological/Medical Anthropology seminar throughout the year with PhD students. Students are exposed to a wide array of topics in the field and hear from researchers in relevant fields.
  • Professional Development Opportunities. Students develop professional career portfolios and have opportunities to present in research conferences.
  • Research opportunities - enroll in GLBH 299. Independent Research with a faculty advisor.

UC San Diego’s Master of Arts (MA) in Global Health is a one year degree program that provides interdisciplinary training that equips students to examine, understand, and address pressing issues concerning wellbeing, illness, and healing across global contexts. The goal of improving health at the individual, population, and global levels, requires appreciating how illness and healing practices are shaped by cultural, biosocial, and other contextual forces amid the uneven circulation of resources, technologies, infrastructures, and people. We instill in students an ability to identify and analyze health equity challenges and opportunities to enhance health care in under-resourced communities around the world. We welcome students from a wide range of academic and employment backgrounds. 

The UC San Diego Global Health Program is a collaborative integration of multiple disciplines and perspectives within and beyond the health sciences. We offer a synthesis of population-based prevention, individual-level clinical care, and cross-cultural understanding of the causes and experiences of illness, becoming and staying well, and the practices of healing.

We achieve this unique interdisciplinary emphasis by:

  • balancing quantitative and qualitative methods
  • acknowledging health issues from global, regional, and individual perspectives
  • harmonizing pragmatic methods for addressing global health problems in the field with academic approaches for understanding how health problems arise and affect communities and individuals

Program Core Competencies include:

  • Social Epidemiology -- factors creating the global burden of disease
  • Global Health Research Methodology -- design, execution, and analysis of research studies
  • Medical Anthropology -- cultural variation in the experience of illness and treatment
  • Global Health Policy & Diplomacy -- programs and strategies for effective intervention
  • Program Management -  program development, capacity strengthening

Global Health Program MA Requirements 

To receive the Master of Arts in Global Health, students must:

  • Complete at least 36 units (9 courses) of graduate coursework during the graduate year.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA for all course work, both cumulatively and for each quarter of enrollment. If the student’s GPA falls below 3.0 (for either overall or in the major), they will be automatically dropped from the program.
  • Successfully complete a comprehensive examination at the end of Spring quarter and submit a final portfolio. 


Degree Requirements

Required Coursework

All students will complete the following courses regardless of BA/MA or standalone status.

9 Courses/36 units

Core Courses (6 courses/24 units)

  • GLBH 200. Global Health Masters Core Seminar (4)

  • GLBH 214. Program Management and Global Health (4)

  • GLBH 248. Introduction to Global Health Research (4)

  • GLBH 249. Social Epidemiology (4)

  • GLBH 260. Global Health Policy (4)

  • ANTH 260. Seminar in Medical and Psychological Anthropology (4)

Elective Requirements (3 courses / 12 units)

  • At least two electives must be a 200-level GLBH graduate course.

  • Graduate MA students may enroll in no more than one 100-level upper division courses, in the absence of relevant graduate coursework and by director approval. 



Global Health MA Core Course Descriptions:

GLBH 200. Global Health Masters Core Seminar (4): This seminar course consists of workshops to expand on a student's thesis project and readings synthesizing key concepts and problems in the field of Global Health. Students will explore career options in Global Health and prepare a final portfolio to be due at the end of spring quarter.

GLBH 214. Program Management and Global Health (4): This seminar examines program development, capacity strengthening, and strategic analysis in global health through reading, discussion, project work and presentation. Students will adapt global health theory and demonstrate the use of practical project management tools and techniques as they design a culturally sensitive global health program.

GLBH 248. Introduction to Global Health Research (4): Students will gain competency in common research methods, and introduced to implementation challenges in Global Health. Students will critically evaluate the impact of sociocultural factors on health disparities. This knowledge can be applied towards future research experiences and career development. 

GLBH 249. Social Epidemiology (4): This course provides an overview of social epidemiology, a branch of epidemiology that focuses on the study of how health-related states or events are impacted by social, political, cultural, and economic factors. Students will learn about the history and current state of the science of social epidemiology, its leading theories/paradigms and methods, and distinct core areas of research.

GLBH 260.  Global Health Policy (4): Students will learn fundamental principles and concepts of global health policy, law, and governance. The course will focus on identifying critical global health policy challenges and solving them using a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the perspectives of various stakeholders. 

ANTH 260. Seminar in Medical and Psychological Anthropology (4): This seminar examines medical, psychological, and psychiatric anthropology through reading, discussion, and presentation of work 1) essential to the development of and 2) exemplifying the state of the art in these related fields.

 Independent Research Option: Students may enroll in GLBH 299. Independent Research during winter or spring quarter with an approved faculty advisor. Students may apply one GLBH 299 course towards MA elective requirements. Students will complete a 10-page research requirement and submit a research poster and abstract in the Horizons of Global Health Research Symposium.

Approved Electives:

Global Health Program Graduate Electives:
  • GLBH 201. Special Topics in Global Health
    • Previous topics (topics rotate each year):
      • "Theories of Approaching an Understanding on Race, Diversity, Culture and Health",
      • "Substance Use and Global Mental Health: Case Studies for Research and Praxis"
      • "Design thinking for global health and health systems strengthening" 
  • GLBH 111/211. Clinic on the Border: Health Frontiers in Tijuana (may take twice for course credit but can only apply one course towards MA electives)
  • GLBH 212. “Experiencing Epidemics:” Anthropologies of Infectious Diseases 
  • GLBH 213. Program Design & Evaluation
  • GLBH 215. Community Health Workers
  • GLBH 241. Clinical Perspectives in Global Health
  • GLBH 245. Native American Health & Healing
  • GLBH 246. Global Mental Health 
  • GLBH 261. Global Health Policy, Diplomacy and Advocacy
  • GLBH 297. Global Health Internship
  • GLBH 298. Directed Study
  • GLBH 299. Independent Research

 In the absence of relevant global health graduate coursework, the following courses are accepted, with director approval:


  • ANTH 213. Anthropology and Mental Health
  • ANTH 229. Religion and Healing
  • ANTH 238. Immigrant and Refugee Health
  • ANTH 243. Mental Health as Global Health Priority
  • ANTH 249. Gender and Mental Health

Global Health Program

  • GLBH 100. Special Topics in Global Health
  • GLBH 101. Aging: Culture and Health in Late Life Human Development
  • GLBH 102. Global Health Epidemiology
  • GLBH 105. Global Health and Inequality 
  • GLBH 113. Women’s Health in Global Perspective
  • GLBH 142. "When the field is a ward:" Ethnographies of the Clinic
  • GLBH 171R.  Global Mental Health (online course)


  • HISC 109. Invention of Tropical Disease
  • HISC 115. History of Modern Medicine
  • HISC 116. History of Bioethics
  • HISC 280. Science and Public Policy


  • LTCS 155. Health, Illness, and Global Culture
  • LTCS 165. Special Topics: The Politics of Food
  • LTWL 177. Literature and Aging


  • PHIL 163. Biomedical Ethics
  • PHIL 164. Technology and Human Values
  • PHIL 173. Topics in Bioethics

Political Science

  • POLI 111D. Social Norms and Global Development


  • PSYC 124. Clinical Assessment and Treatment
  • PSYC 134. Eating Disorders
  • PSYC 155. Social Psychology and Medicine
  • PSYC 168. Psychological Disorders of Childhood
  • PSYC 179. Drugs, Addiction, and Mental Disorders
  • PSYC 236. Substance Abuse
  • PSYC 265. Social Psychology and Medicine

Rady School of Management

  • MGT 454. Disruptive Technologies for Healthcare

School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS)

  • *GPPA 404. Governance, Public Administration, and Development
  • *GPPA 472. Latin American Environmental and Energy Policy
  • GPEC 468. International Health Economics
  • GPPS 430. Human Rights, Public Policy, and International Relations
  • GPPS 434. Humanitarian Interventions
  • GPPS 458. International Environmental Policy and Politics

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

  • SIO 116. Climate Change and Global Health
  • SIOB 289. Pollution, Environment, and 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: An Historical Approach
  • SOCI 136F. Sociology of Mental Illness in Contemporary Society
  • SOCI 138. Genetics and Society
  • SOCI 143. Suicide
  • SOCI 173. Sociology of Health, Illness and Medicine
  • SOCG 234. Intellectual Foundation of the Study of Science, Technology, and Medicine 
  • SOCG 284. Contemporary Biomedicine

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


Sample Plan

Master’s II – 

9 courses/36 units


  • GLBH 200. Global Health Masters Core Seminar (4)
  • GLBH 260. Global Health Policy (4)
  • Elective (4)
  • GLBH 248. Introduction to Global Health Research (4)
  • GLBH 249. Social Epidemiology (4)
  • Elective (4)
  • ANTH 260. Seminar in Medical and Psychological Anthropology (4)
  • GLBH 214. Program Management and Global Health (4)
  • Elective (4)

 Advance to Candidacy (beginning of quarter)

 Comprehensive Exam

Research Opportunities

GLBH 299. Independent Research

Global Health students may engage in research or an internship on a topic of their choice for course credit, under the guidance of a Global Health affiliated faculty member of their choice.

The project should be carefully planned with the faculty advisor and be focused on a global health issue or topic. Students may enroll in GLBH 299. Independent Research during winter or spring which can apply as an elective requirement. One GLBH 299 elective can be applied towards MA elective requirements.

Students enrolled in this course will complete a research paper, develop a research poster, and abstract as well as participate in the Horizons of Global Health Research Symposium. More details can be found here.

GLBH 111/211 - Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFIT)

Global Health MA students may apply to participate in HFIT throughout the academic year. One GLBH 111/211 course can be applied towards the MA elective requirements.

The Health Frontiers in Tijuana Internship Program (HFiT) is a quarterly internship that affords developmental experiences in public health and healthcare for the underserved. Students accepted into this program will participate in the HFiT binational student-run free clinic project located in Tijuana, Mexico, in conjunction with medical and pharmacy students from the University of California San Diego and Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. Upon completing the HFiT-UIP, students will have learned about biomedical and social factors associated with communicable and non-communicable diseases seen among vulnerable populations in the San Diego-Tijuana region, shadowed clinical faculty during the consultation, and been involved in ongoing UCSD research projects at the HFiT clinic.

More details and the applications can be found here.


Additional Program Information

Why a MA in Global Health?

What is unique about a social science focused MA in global health?

Effective global health policy, research, and practice calls for a dual perspective that brings together the public health sciences with the interdisciplinary study of society, culture, relationships, and experience—a view that moves beyond biomedical definitions of health and disease to include local understandings and considerations of how broader contexts and determinants shape illness and wellbeing. A social science emphasis can be qualitative or quantitative (or mixed) and be exploratory, conceptual, or empirical. Many social science-oriented global health researchers use participatory and community-based methods and they advocate for and empower vulnerable or oppressed communities to speak out or make changes (see Greenhalgh 2018). This is a human-centered approach—a paradigm that places people at the core of global health inquiries.

There is a paradox in global health. Successful community health programs require locally informed solutions, not a global one-size-fits-all magic bullet. Social science trained global health professionals have the theories and methods needed to help planners, policymakers, researchers, and healthcare providers interpret how culture, social structures, political-economic forces, and globalization shape vulnerability, experiences of illness and healing, and how people understand health services. Besides attending to local perspectives, expectations, and concerns, a social science approach can, for example, attend to:

  • Risk perceptions and illness experiences
  • The role of ethnicity, gender, and social class
  • Marginalized, oppressed, and discriminated populations
  • Caregiving practices and help-seeking behaviors
  • The accessibility of services
  • The movement of people and resources
  • Inequalities
  • The legacies of colonialism and other historical forces and events
  • Structural violence and social suffering
  • Political discourses
  • The impact of loans, policies, conditionalities, conflict, and trade on health
  • The assumptions shaping policies and practices
  • The unintended consequences of interventions and policies
  • How representations can stigmatize people and shape healthcare access

Want to learn more? 

What is the difference between a MA, MS and MPH degree?

The UC San Diego MA in Global Health is grounded in the social science understanding of the global burden of disease and the social bases of complex, ever-changing health challenges in low-resource community settings and a globalizing world, emphasizing skill sets for analyzing global health challenges with respect to health-related social processes, the relation between health and social justice, health consequences of structural violence, and cultural factors influencing illness and treatment. 

The MPH is grounded in the five competencies traditional to public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral health/health education, environmental health, and health services administration. 

A Master of Science (MS) degree places relatively more emphasis on quantitative skills and biological sciences.

What will this program prepare me for?

Our program prepares students for a range of domestic and international careers in global health with NGOs, government agencies, multilateral aid organizations, and grassroots programs. Graduates might work in areas such as program development and implementation, health policy, health administration, social services, health development, advocacy, project management, humanitarian aid, and research. The program also prepares students pursuing training in allied health professions, medical school, and advanced training (Ph.D) in many of the academic fields contributing to global health.

Resource: Career Options With A Masters Degree In Global Health

The MA in Global Health will provide students with the knowledge base to address urgent questions of global health equity and;

1) Will prepare students to enter the field of global health working for NGOs or governmental agencies at what the CUGH has defined as the Basic Program-Oriented Operational Level;

2) In addition, the master’s thesis curricular option will prepare students to pursue advanced training (Ph.D.) in academic fields that contribute to the interdisciplinary field of global health; and

3) In combination with a pre-medical curriculum will prepare students to attend medical school or pursue training in allied health professions with an emphasis in global health.

What type of topics are covered in the Psychological Anthropology Seminar (ANTH 260)?

The Medical and Psychological Anthropology Seminar provides support and coordination for research and graduate student training in medical and psychological anthropology, global health, and person-centered ethnography.

Students will attend 3-4 seminars each quarter and enroll in ANTH 260 during spring quarter to receive credit. This course is taken for a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade. 

Past speaker information can be found here.

Where are alumni from the program now?

The Global Health MA Program began in Fall 2020 accepting our first cohort of students. We have a diverse group of students who go through our program and their interests range from pursuing medical school to working in community organizations, NGO's, government agencies and beyond.


    • Public Health Analyst, CDC Foundation
    • Clinical Research Coordinator, Cedars Sinai
    • Quantitative Researcher and Data Analyst, UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science
    • Research Associate, S-3 Research
    • Clinical Research Assistant, US Dept of Veteran Affairs
    • Case Investigations Administration - County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency - Epidemiology & Immunization Services Branch
    • Project Manager, Aya Healthcare
    • Implementation Specialist, Aya Healthcare
    • Sharp Mesa Vista Psychiatric Hospital
    • Project Policy Analyst I , UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (Fellow)
    • Program Coordnator, EyePACS, Inc.
    • Program Coordinator,The Urban Collaborative Project 
    • UCSD Anthropology Advisor
    • UCSD Contact Tracer

Post MA Graduate Programs

  • Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Boston Medical School
  • USC PA program
  • UC San Diego JDP in Public Health
  • UC Irvine dual degree program, PHD/MD in Public Health focusing on Global Health and Latinx Health
  • UCLA MSW Program
  • California University of Science and Medicine, MD program


Is financial aid available?

Can I use courses taken as an undergraduate or other university towards my MA degree?

No, courses taken as an undergraduate or outside UCSD cannot be applied towards coursework for the MA degree.

What will the comprehensive exam cover?

The exam will require demonstration of expertise in:

1) Global Burden of Disease

2) Institutions and Practices of Global Health Care Delivery

3) Expertise in a topical problem area (maternal and child health, infectious disease, mental health, nutrition and food security, refugee and immigrant health, natural and human caused disasters)

4) Expertise in a particular geographical region and the range of its global health challenges.

If I have additional questions about the program, who can I contact for more information?

If you have further questions about the MA in Global Health program, feel free to contact the Global Health Program department at