Global Health, MA

At a Glance: program details

Are you concerned about global health issues and passionate about changing the world? You can go beyond fighting disease and health disparities by digging deeper into their sociocultural roots. Pick up where medical practice leaves off, and create new, far-reaching solutions to both localized and universal health concerns.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Global Health

In this MA program, global health is considered to be much more than, and very different from, international public health. It emphasizes that major health challenges stem from many factors well beyond disease itself --- factors that are cultural, ecological, evolutionary, historical, institutional, social and technological.

Any effective, sustainable solutions to the most pressing global health challenges need to take all these factors into account, including the complex ways in which they relate to each other. In this manner, this degree program teaches students to understand health challenges not simply as a product of disease, but as emerging in the contexts of complex and interrelated ecology, politics, history, culture, social institutions and evolutionary biology. It also places primacy on how to address the broader bases of ill health (i.e., structural, cultural) in complicated, ever-changing health challenges in low-resource community settings and a globalizing world. To do this, the program combines social and life science theories with on-the-ground research and its application. There is a strong emphasis on collaborative action as key to identifying and addressing global health problems in a sustainable and meaningful way.

Students accepted to the program are tied to ongoing transdisciplinary global health projects that address complicated, multifaceted health challenges that defy easy fixes, such as climate change-related diseases, emerging infectious diseases and obesity.

By applying a collaborative, problem-solving format, the master's degree program in global health is intended to provide those planning to enter health or related fields (i.e., environmental, social) with the transdisciplinary orientation, team skills and social and cultural acuity that the Pew Health Professions Commission, among others, has identified as critical but lacking in current health workforce training. The program also emphasizes experiential learning as a way to gain mastery and requires participation in a global internship program based in one of the international partnering communities.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 30 credit hours including the required applied project course (SSH 593)

Required Core (3 credit hours)
ASB 510 Health: Social and Biocultural Theories (3)

Open Electives (6 credit hours)

Restricted Electives (6 credit hours)
ASB 580 Practicum (1-6)
ASB 583 Fieldwork (1-6)
ASB 584 Internship (1-6)

Other Requirements (9 credit hours)
ASB 500 Ethnographic Research Methods (3)
ASB 503 Medical Anthropology (3)
SSH 591 Seminar: Principles of Epidemiology for Global Health (3)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
SSH 593 Applied Project (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
For restricted electives, students complete at least six credit hours from the list above.

Substitutions may be permitted by the graduate director for other requirement and restricted elective coursework. Additional methods-focused courses or graduate-level epidemiology courses can count toward these requirements.

Applied projects are completed in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students may use the fieldwork, internship or practicum experience as part of the research for the applied project.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned, from a regionally accredited institution, a bachelor's or master's degree in the social or life sciences (i.e., anthropology, sociology, gender studies, geography, political science, or public health or related fields, such as nutrition or human biology).

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. personal statement outlining educational and professional goals
  4. current curriculum vitae or resume
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Applicants may submit with their application materials an optional scholarly writing sample, not to exceed 30 double-spaced pages.

Admission is competitive and based on student academic excellence, additional relevant experience, and fit with available faculty. Value is placed on foreign language skills; practical, cross-cultural and international experiences; and prior social science and life science research.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BA - Global Health

Do you want to improve lives around the world by advancing human health? Explore how history, culture and environment intertwine to play a critical role in today's health problems and their solutions. Prepare for a service-oriented career in global health policy, community health practice, disaster management, health education and beyond.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Career Opportunities

Nationally and internationally, the health field provides enormous and varied career opportunities, and demand is high and growing for graduates with specific skills. The program supports the goals of those pursuing careers in academic research teaching and health services. Sample employment venues include:

  • government agencies
  • health departments
  • international agencies (World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Health Council, World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank)
  • nongovernmental organizations
  • private sector entities
  • universities

The degree program also provides a broad intellectual base for those who plan advanced specialist health training in fields such as:

  • dentistry
  • medicine
  • nursing
  • pharmacy

In Arizona and elsewhere, there is a pressing need for appropriately skilled professionals to work in cross-cultural settings or with underserved populations such as migrants, minorities and those living in poverty, and many of these jobs are directly or indirectly related to health.

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.