UAB Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies

Beginning in the Fall 2010 semester, The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is pleased to offer an accredited graduate certificate program in Global Health Studies (GHS) through The UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health. This 15-hour certificate program will be offered to any UAB graduate student who wishes to gain knowledge and skills in the field of global health.

Within the UAB School of Public Health, the GHS Graduate certificate program will replace the current International Health and Global Studies concentration (IHGS) currently offered in the Departments of Epidemiology, Health Behavior, Environmental Health, and Healthcare Organization & Policy. Students will be expected to sign up for their primary degree and have the option of adding the GHS certificate by completing 15 hours of GHS coursework in addition to their degree requirements.

Global health is defined as the application of public health principles to solutions of health problems and challenges that transcend national boundaries. In the face of a growing awareness of the need for shared solutions to shared problems, opportunities in global health work are increasing, and more individuals are expressing interest in careers in global health. Individuals who desire to work in the global health field require skills to identify and delineate critical health and human development issues that confront populations in the settings in which they work. They may be required to design and/or implement large- or small-scale interventions to prevent disease, protect, or to promote population health. In addition, they may also be hired as consultants to provide technical advice.

The UAB Graduate GHS certificate program is designed to equip participants with the basic skills necessary to function effectively in global health practice. It covers several critical issues in global health, including epidemiology and disease control, health systems management, disabilities, evidence-based policy and practice, project design, monitoring and evaluation, environment and health. It is a flexible, internet and classroom-based alternative for University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) graduate students as well as local, regional, national, and foreign professionals working or intending to work with organizations engaged in global health.

GHS Graduate Certificate Program Objectives
Upon completion of the GHS certificate program, participants will be able to:

  • Analyze the relationship between global health and development.
  • Use appropriate methods to appraise global health challenges and health care systems, as well as responses to these challenges.
  • Synthesize information from primary and secondary sources to help identify appropriate interventions and actions in the field of global health.
  • Use research, planning and management methods to make efficient and effective use of available resources in field settings.
  • Develop professional skills in program design, program monitoring, and evaluation.

GHS Certificate Program Participants
The UAB GHS certificate program will be offered to current UAB graduate-level students who are interested in the field of global health. 

Course Delivery
The GHS certificate program will offer a combination of Internet-based and classroom-based courses in order to provide students with the flexibility of completing the course requirements in one or both settings. The online portion of the program will be offered using UAB’s Moodle online platform, which encompasses a variety of features to facilitate and enrich online teaching and learning.

Admission Requirements

Requirements for UAB Graduate Students

Admission to any UAB graduate program automatically meets entrance requirements for the GHS certificate program; however, an application must be completed in order to formally enroll in the GHS certificate program. Students interested in pursuing the GHS certificate must complete an enrollment form prior to their first class. Enrollment forms may be found at: (Coming Soon)

Course Requirement
Students and professionals will be required to complete 6 hours of core courses in addition to 9 hours of elective courses. Students will have the option of completing their courses in either an online or classroom-based setting.

Course Format
The Graduate GHS Certificate course curriculum will consist of:

1 Core Class (Please selct one of the two options below for 3 credit hours):
GHS 600: Fundamentals of Global Health (online)
GHS 617: Global Health Principles and Practices I (classroom)


Online GHS Electives:
GHS 604: Infectious Diseases of Global Health Significance
GHS 605: Disabilities & Global Health
GHS 606: Critical Issues in Global Maternal Child & Health
GHS 607: Global Health and Gender
GHS 609: Environmental Health in Resource-Limited Settings
GHS 610: Refugee Health
GHS 611: International NGO Management
In addition to the online modules, many of the current classroom-based IHGS “selective electives” will continue to be offered as electives that will count towards the 15-hour course completion for students.      

Core Module:

  • The Fundamentals of Global Health: This module introduces participants to the historical perspective of public health in its global context, examines major policies and themes, and analyzes health problems and prevention priorities in different national and international contexts. The role of international health agencies is analyzed, including their successes and constraints. Health care delivery systems in different parts of the world are examined critically. Current and emerging global public health priorities are analyzed, including international maternal health and child survival, emerging infectious diseases, poverty, wars and other civil conflicts, social and gender inequities, principles and the impact of health reforms, and major global initiatives for disease prevention. New health challenges brought about by globalization, environmental changes, and economic development are discussed.
Elective modules
Participants will be required to undertake modules from GHS sponsored electives:
  • Environmental Health Issues in Resource Limited Settings: This module is designed to introduce participants to key environmental health issues and challenges in resource limited settings which are characteristic of many developing nations. Emphasis is placed on the interrelationship between man and his environment and the resulting impacts on health. The module will focus on the vast dimensions of the environment inclusive of air, land, food, and water and related issues that encompass physical, biological, chemical and radiological agents, which are known or suspected to be harmful to human health and the environment. After taking the module, participants should be able to identify and discuss the principles and parameters that determine the relationship between the following issues and health: ambient air pollution, indoor air pollution, water quality, housing, waste management, food safety, and vectors. Participants should also be able to apply knowledge gained to develop solutions for environmental health issues/problems.
  • Critical Issues in Global Maternal and Child Health: This module will introduce participants to thematic issues in advancing the health status of women, children and adolescents globally. Beginning with an overview of the global burden of disease among this population group, the module will analyze the causes and consequences of global inequity in MCH morbidity and mortality. The role of politics and power as well as the contribution of specific disease conditions and health systems factors, programs and policies will be examined. Progress and challenges toward achievement of MCH-related millennium development goals will be analyzed.
  • Gender and Health: This module will introduce participants to the concept of gender equity and gender power relations. Participants will explore such key concepts as sex, gender, gender roles and relations, women’s health and gender analysis, gender equity, gender mainstreaming, gender divisions of labor, gender norms and identities, bargaining positions, as well as access to, and control over, resources. The module will examine how these concepts interact to influence and shape health status and access to healthcare for women, children and adolescents from a global perspective. The module will present an exposition on the importance of understanding and mainstreaming gender into global health policies and programs, using cross-cutting strategies that consider the role of socioeconomic determinants, effectiveness and sustainability, participation, accountability, and multi-sectoral collaboration. The importance of gender mainstreaming at the policy, health provider and community levels as well as current gaps in knowledge and priorities for future research and practice will be discussed.
  • Disabilities and Global Health: This module will enable participants to explore current paradigms and models for defining and categorizing disability based on various international agreements and documents. The causes of disability, global prevalence and relationship between poverty and disability will be analyzed. Drawing upon disability studies, models of development, current overseas development assistance programs, case studies, and reflections from leaders in the field, the course will examine issues and conditions that impact people with disabilities in resource-limited settings. Since one of the greatest barriers against access to appropriate health care for persons with disabilities is negative societal attitude, this module will examine how local concepts and beliefs frame a society’s perspective on disabilities and how this perspective affects the status of persons with disabilities, especially in resource-limited settings of the world. International and national efforts and strategies to improve inclusion as well as access to health and social services for women and children with disabilities will be examined.
  • Refugee and Immigrant Health: Throughout the history of global health, the movement of persons across regional and national boundaries has been linked to the evolution, transmission, and acquisition of diseases (communicable and non-communicable). The purpose of this module is to equip participants with skills in analyzing the interrelationships between migration, refugee, and displaced status and health. The module will analyze the global health implications of population movements, forced migration, health concerns in emergency situations, health care in the post-emergency refugee camps, mental health of refugees and migrants, public health concerns in countries of resettlement, rebuilding communities after trauma and extreme stress, as well as equity and human rights as they apply to refugees and displaced persons.
  • Food and Nutritional Issues in Resource Limited Settings: This module is designed to equip participants with skills in analyzing major food and nutritional issues that affect health, survival, and human development in resource-limited settings. Participants will review and appraise previous and current initiatives for addressing hunger and food insecurity at household, community, national, and international levels. The use of alternative technologies and micro-enterprise approaches to address hunger and food insecurity at the household and community levels will be discussed.
  • Infectious Diseases of Global Health Significance: This module is designed to introduce participants to the basic biology, epidemiology, control and prevention of infectious diseases of global health significance, i.e., infectious diseases responsible of significant morbidity, mortality, and disability globally. The module will focus on cases studies of successes and challenges in the control and prevention of these diseases. After taking the module participants should be able to describe and analyze the main epidemiological characteristics of infectious diseases of global health significance and how these epidemiological characteristics can be utilized to develop and evaluate strategies for control and prevention.

Note for International Students: There are certain restrictions regarding the number of online credit hours that international students may take per semester. Please contact the UAB International Students and Scholars Services office for more details at: 
Course Calendar
Courses offered as part of the GHS certificate program will be offered according to the availability of the instructor. Please consult the SOPH course schedule for more details regarding availability of individual courses and online modules.

Graduate students obtaining academic credit will be evaluated on a letter grade system, and all students must maintain a “B” average to successfully meet the requirements of the GHS Graduate certificate program.
Completion Requirements
Students who maintain a “B” average in all 15 credit hours will be awarded a certificate from the University. Completion of the certificate will also be listed on the student’s official UAB transcript. 

Registration & Payment
Once formally enrolled in the program, students are required to meet with the GHS course manager on a semester basis in order to ensure that progress is being made towards the successful completion of the certificate program. 

Fees: Standard UAB Graduate School tuition and fees apply to students obtaining academic credit.
The GHS certificate program will be administered through the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health located within the School of Public Health. For more details regarding the program, please contact:

Andrea Thomas
Program Coordinator II
UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health
517 Ryals Public Health Building
1665 University Blvd
Phone: (205) 975-7628