Global Health, PHD

At a Glance: program details

When the evolving health needs of growing global populations beckon, few are better equipped to offer solutions than those with a PhD in global health. As a program graduate prepared for medical, commercial, governmental and academic careers, you can help improve and save thousands of lives at home and abroad.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Global Health

The PhD in global health draws on the premise that sustainable and satisfying solutions to the most pressing global health challenges require a sophisticated understanding of how cultural context, social and ecological processes and disease are really related.

This transdisciplinary graduate program trains students broadly in cutting-edge health social science research theory and methods. The program leverages the strength of ASU's medical anthropology programming and 15 medical anthropologists, and it has the advantage of accessing an exceptionally wide set of skills offered by those in such fields as medical sociology, demography, human geography and epidemiology.

Some particular thematic foci of the program are biocultural approaches to human coping, computer-based complexity modeling, culture and health, health in the Americas, and Indigenous and minority health, as well as mathematical epidemiology, nutritional anthropology, social justice and vulnerable populations, social networks, and urban and environmental health.

The program draws some 80 faculty members from throughout the university to consider how cutting-edge social science can be applied to understand and substantively improve the health of populations. The program favors community-based research in communities of all sizes and types, from hunter-gatherer communities to large U.S. cities, and runs collaborative projects in which students are encouraged to gain experience and conduct research.

Students generally enter the program with a master's degree in a relevant field.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 84 credit hours, a written comprehensive exam, an oral comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

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

Electives (39 credit hours)

Other Requirements (18 credit hours)
ASB 500 Research Methods (3)
ASB 501 Professionalism (3)
ASM 579 Proposal Writing (3)
SSH 591 Topic: Principles of Epidemiology for Global Health (3)
systematic methods courses (6)

Research (12 credit hours)
ASB 792 Research (12)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
ASB 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
For electives, students should see the academic unit for a course list approved by the chair.

Other requirement coursework may be substituted with the approval of the academic unit. At least two systematic methods courses in an area other than epidemiology or biostatistics and ethnography should be selected, such as nutrition, survey, archival analysis, demography or geographic information systems.

When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program may allow up to 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this program. If students do not have a previously awarded master's degree, the remaining coursework is made up of electives.

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 a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

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.

Suitable backgrounds for admission include a master's degree in the social sciences (e.g., anthropology or sociology), public health, human biology or related fields. Students who enter directly from a bachelor's degree program should have completed at least 15 credit hours of social science and six credit hours of human biology or equivalent at the senior level and should have some background in statistics or epidemiology.

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

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
December 1st

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:

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