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Special Studies in Global Health

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. 

The Global Health Program will accept a combination of up to two GLBH 197/198/199 courses towards the major and minor. Submission of an application does not guarantee approval. Deadlines are strictly enforced. 

Global Health Students who are taking this course to fulfill elective credits must take the course for a LETTER GRADE and receive a C- or better.

  • UCSD Requirements: Must have 2.5 GPA and have completed 90 units.
  • Deadline: Students must have all materials submitted by Friday of week 1 of the quarter they plan to enroll.


  1. Identify an internship or research opportunity.
  2. Identify a faculty advisor to work with.
  3. Complete Application Process (see steps below).
    1.  If completing an internship: track hours (100 hours required, must be completed during the quarter enrolled).
  4. Upon completion students are expected to submit a 10-page research paper or project to their faculty advisor.

Steps to Enroll:

Decide which section you should enroll in:

  • GLBH 197. Global Health Academic Internship Program (4) - For students looking to complete an internship opportunity.
  • GLBH 198. Directed Group Study (4) - a directed group study on a topic or in a field not included in the regular departmental curriculum by special arrangement with a faculty member (less common and designed for small group settings).
  • GLBH 199. Independent Study (4) - an independent study that gives students the opportunity to explore in more detail what they have learned in the classroom or in their global health field experience.
  • GLBH 299. Independent Study (4) - an independent study that gives students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Global Health the opportunity to work closely with a faculty adviser to prepare a publishable masters project based on their undergraduate senior thesis or project agreed upon with faculty adviser.

1. Identify research or internship opportunity

2. Identify a Faculty Mentor

Choose a faculty advisor whose area of interest and research covers the topic that you want to pursue.  Professors are not always available in a particular quarter so you may want to have more than one professor in mind that you would like to work with.

Students may work with a Global Health affiliated faculty member or seek pre-approval to work with a non-affiliated UC San Diego Faculty member.

  • Faculty sponsor/instructor must have a UCSD faculty titleIf the mentor is not from UCSD s/he has to be from an appropriately accredited institution.

When meeting with potential faculty instructors, it is important to discuss the nature of the project, frequency of contact, prerequisite knowledge needed, and the means of evaluation with the faculty instructor prior to enrollment in this course.

Can I work with a faculty member not on this list?

  • If there is a mentor who is not part of our affiliated faculty that a student would like to work with please submit the following information to to get approval:
    • Proposal: Professor title, info, contact, website, reason you would like to work with the professor and what you plan on working on for your 199 experience.
    • Students seeking academic credit for an off-campus internship/research experience should consult with the Academic Internship Program for options.


3. Complete Application Process

Internships (GLBH 197):

If found through AIP database: Submit learning agreement though AIP's Internlink.

For Independent Research working with a faculty member (GLBH 198 or 199):

  • Meet with the faculty member you plan to work with to discuss the terms of your independent research and come to an agreement of the work that will be completed. You will need the following information to submit your request:

    •  the nature of the project, frequency of contact, prerequisite knowledge needed, and the means of evaluation with the faculty instructor prior to enrollment in this course.

  • Complete the Easy Special Studies Request form for GLBH 198 or GLBH 199

A message will be sent to your UC San Diego email once you have been approved. 

In the event that an exception is required, then the student must take the form to their college for additional approvals.

4. Complete Requirements

At the end of the quarter, you will submit a 10-page Research Paper or Project to your faculty advisor.

Your faculty advisor will then assign you a grade at the end of the quarter (you may want to send them a reminder during week 10 or finals week).

You do not need to submit a copy of your final paper to the Global Health Program office. 

Students in GLBH 197 will need to complete AIP's guidelines.

5. Submit Field Experience Verification (if necessary)

Student completing the Internship for the Field Experience Requirement:

Once a grade has been assigned, obtain the Supervisor Evaluation form via Internlink and send to to verify your hours.

Students completing GLBH 199 for the Field Experience Requirement:

Follow instructions here to submit verification.


What is research?

Research is a systematic inquiry that investigates hypotheses, suggests new interpretations of data or texts, and poses new questions for future research to explore.

Research consists of:

  • Asking a question that nobody has asked before;
  • Doing the necessary work to find the answer; and
  • Communicating the knowledge you have acquired to a larger audience.

Why is research experience valuable?

Undergraduate research helps to foster faculty-student collaboration within and outside the university. You have the opportunity to share in a professional researcher's work, to learn how he or she formulates a significant question, develops a procedure to investigate it, obtains research funding and other resources, gathers and examines evidence, follows hunches, and evaluates and shares results with the scientific community.

Getting involved in research allows you to draw together classroom learning and particular interests to contribute to the design and execution of a research project.

Explore the REAL website to learn about workshops, funding, and other support available.

How many hours am I expected to satisfy?

  • 1 unit = 30 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 3 hours/week).
  • 2 units = 60 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 6 hours/week).
  • 3 units = 90 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 9 hours/week).
  • 4 units = 120 hours of research over the course of the quarter (approximately 12 hours/week).

How many special studies courses can I enroll in?

  • Students may enroll in each special studies course a max of two times each.
  • Students may count up to two special studies courses total towards global health requirements. This can be a combination of any of GLBH 197, 198 or 199 (not two of each).

Where can I find opportunities?

I'm planning to continue my project/internship during the next quarter, can I earn credit again?

A complete application is required for each quarter of participation, even if the student will be working on the same research project in the same lab.  Subsequent applications should indicate how the project has progressed or any changes in the research question(s) or plan.

Students may enroll in a max of two special studies courses combined (GLBH 197/198/199).  

The Global Health Program will accept a combination of up to two GLBH 197/198/199 courses towards the major and minor. 

What requirements do GLBH 197/198/199 courses fulfill?

GLBH 197/198/199 (taken for a letter grade) may count as a medical social science elective for the Global Health major and elective courses for the minor.

If relevant, it may also fulfill the Global Health Field Experience Requirement. To fulfill this requirement, you must submit verification. 

*Field Experience does not have to be credit-bearing to fulfill the Major and Minor Requirement. 

What is the role of the Faculty Advisor?

It is expected that students will arrange to meet with the faculty advisor a minimum of three times during the quarter to discuss progress on the research paper and internship, project or research.

Additional roles include:

  • Help you determine an appropriate topic for your research paper or project
  • Formally approve the proposed topic by completing the special studies form with you
  • Respond to questions and recommend appropriate academic reference materials
  • Provide feedback on your research/writing process, including how to effectively analyze the topic and develop your paper or project
  • Provide a letter grade: Faculty will assess the quality of your final research paper or project and assign a LETTER Grade

Where can I find resources for writing my research paper?

Are there any research scholarships available?

Can I enroll in summer?

Students may enroll in summer under certain circumstances. Paperwork must be submitted prior to the start of summer session.


  • 4 units = 120 hours of work; average of 24 hours per week

Please note: Students may participate in any one Session (I, II or Special) or in both Session I and II. Students may NOT participate in Special Session and Session I or Session II.

During the summer, fees are assessed per unit.  For example, enrollment in a 4-unit GLBH 199 course will result in charges for a 4-unit course.  Please see Summer Session Tuition and Fees for more information.