Global Health Minor

Global Health Minor

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.  The minor 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

The Global Health Minor covers a wide range of topics relevant to global health including health care, health education, environmental effects on health, infectious disease, mental health, health inequalities, medical sequelae of natural disaster or political violence, indigenous healing practices, nutrition, and reproductive health.  This program of study helps to prepare students for a career in research and teaching, immigrant service-providing organizations, government agencies, health sciences, or law. The unique research and writing opportunities offered by this minor also make it an excellent preparation for medical and graduate school.

To minor in Global Health a student must complete seven four-unit courses, at least five (20 units) of which must be upper division. All students are required to take two core courses (HILD 30 and ANSC 148), at least one course in biological sciences, an approved field experience, and at least three upper-division electives. All courses applied to the minor must receive a letter grade of C- or better.

Required Core Courses

All students will take two courses introducing them to the field of global health.

HILD 30: History of Public Health
Explores the history of public health, from the plague hospitals of Renaissance Italy to the current and future prospects for global health initiatives, emphasizing the complex biological, cultural and social dimensions of health, sickness and medicine across time and space.

ANSC 148: Global Health and Cultural Diversity
Introduction to global health from the perspective of medical anthropology on disease and illness, cultural conceptions of health, doctor-patient interaction, illness experience, medical science and technology, mental health, infectious disease, and health care inequalities by ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. Prerequisites: upper-division standing.

Health Related Biological Science

All students will take at least one biological science course relevant to global health, selected from the approved list of electives for the minor.

BILD 18 Human Impact on the Environment (4)
BILD 22 Human Nutrition (4)
BILD 26 Human Physiology (4)
BILD 30 The Biology of Plagues: Past and Present (4)
BILD 36 AIDS, Science, and Society (4)
BILD 38 Dementia/Science/Society (4)
BIBC 120 Nutrition (4)
BICD 134 Human Reproduction and Development (4)
BICD 136 AIDS, Science, and Society (4)
BIEB 176 Conservation and the Human Predicament (4)
BIMM 110 Molecular Basis of Human Disease (4)
BIMM 124 Medical Microbiology (4)
BIMM 166 Environmental and Molecular Toxicology (4)

Global Health Field Experience

All students will participate in a field project at a research or clinical site either in the United States or abroad approved by the Global Health Minor Steering Committee and, for international placements, the UCSD Programs Abroad Office. The global health field experience will enhance knowledge, skills, and sensitivities, thus engaging "mind, hands, and heart" to create a learning outcome that is scientific, pragmatic, and humanistic.

The Field Experience can be credit bearing or not credit bearing, may be paid or unpaid, and must meet the following criteria to be counted for the minor:

  1. Provide students with an opportunity to become knowledgeable about aspects of global health and see global health issues in practice.
  2. Requires a minimum of 100 hours over a minimum of five weeks.
  3. Provide the student with direct contact with clients or those who directly serve clients.
  4. Require meaningful, challenging work from the student while serving the agency's clients and goals.
  5. Include on-site orientation, training, and supervision by a designated person in the agency.

Students must demonstrate adequate health insurance and participate in a pre-departure orientation.

For a credit-bearing Field Experience, up to 4 credits can count toward the GH minor. For a Field Experience which is not credit bearing, students willl have two options:

a.) enroll in an independent (GLBH 199) or directed group study (GLBH 198) under mentorship of an affiliated faculty member in the minor. This course will transform the non-credit bearing field experience into a 4 credit bearing on through required readings, reflective journals, papers, etc. as determined by agreement between the student and faculty member work out between them. The academic result will be to place their field experience in the context of the interdisciplinary scholarly literature on global health.

b.) complete one additional Global Health Minor elective in order to fulfill the requirement of 28 total units of credit.

For more information regarding field work placements and prospective programs, please go to Pre-Approved Field Experience Programs (PDF) or visit Programs Abroad Office Steps for GHM Field Experience.

For more information regarding scholarships and grants for study abroad, see the UCSD Programs Abroad Office.

Global Health Field Experience – Domestic Option

The U.S. faces many of the same health challenges as do other countries: ethnic and class disparities in access to health care, immigrant health issues, indigenous systems of health and healing, delivery of health care in natural disasters, maternal/child/reproductive health, drug addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health and psychological trauma…  Students may propose a clinical or research placement in the United States to count as a field experience for the Global Health Minor.

HFiT Undergraduate Internship – Domestic Option (Tijuana)

The Health Frontiers in Tijuana Undergraduate Internship Program (HFiT-UIP) 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 completion of 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 consultation, and been involved in ongoing UCSD research projects at the HFiT clinic. 

 The HFiT-UIP is only open to Global Health Minors. Two quarters of the internship program can be used to fulfill the 100 hour field experience requirement. Please see the attached syllabus and for more information. Additional information may be found here as well.

To apply for the HFiT-UIP, please review the and fill out the application and return it to Daniel Yee (

Elective Coursework

Students will take four additional courses, at least three of which must be upper division, from the following list.

ANBI 132 Conservation and the Human Predicament (4)
ANSC 129 Meaning and Healing (4)
ANSC 140 Human Rights II: Contemporary Issues (4)
ANSC 143 Mental Health as Global Health Priority (4)
ANSC 144 Immigrant and Refugee Health (4)
ANSC 149 Gender and Mental Health (4)
ANSC 160 Nature, Culture, and Environmentalism (4)
ANSC 164 Anthropology of Medicine: Introduction to Medical Anthropology (4)
ANSC 168 The Human Condition (4)
ANTH 21 Race and Racisms (4)
BIBC 120 Nutrition (4)
BICD 134 Human Reproduction and Development (4)
BICD 136 AIDS, Science, and Society (4)
BIEB 176 Conservation and the Human Predicament (4)
BILD 22 Human Nutrition (4)
BILD 36 AIDS, Science, and Society (4)
BILD 30 The Biology of Plagues: Past and Present (4)
BILD 18 Human Impact on the Environment (4)
BILD 26 Human Physiology (4)
BILD 38 Dementia/Science/Society (4)
BIMM 110 Molecular Basis of Human Disease (4)
BIMM 124 Medical Microbiology (4)
BIMM 166 Environmental and Molecular Toxicology (4)
CGS 111 Gender and the Body (4)
Media and Technology: Gender and Biomedicine (4)
COMM 156
Colonialism and Culture (4)
COMM 167
Reproductive Discourse and Gender (4)
COMM 179
Media and Technology: Global Nature, Global Culture (4)
ETHN 142 Medicine, Race, and the Global Politics of Inequality (4)
HISC 116 History of Bioethics (4)
LTCS 165 The Politics of Food
PHIL 163 Biomedical Ethics (4)
POLI 127 Politics of Developing Countries (4)
POLI 140A International Law and Organizations (4)
REV 160/165 GS Public Health and Epidemiology I & II - UCSD Global Seminar
SOCI 107 Epidemiological Methods (4)
SOCI 147 Organizations, Society, and Social Justice (4)
SOCI 185 Globalization and Social Development (4)
TWS 198

Contemporary Issues in Global Health (4)

USP 144 Environmental and Preventive Health Issues (4)
USP 145 Aging - Social and Health Policy Issues (4)
USP 147 Case Studies in Health Care Programs/Poor and Underserved Population (4)