Course work

In addition to their 6 units of foundation coursework, students are required to complete 6 units of Global Health coursework.

The list of courses below is not all-inclusive.  The student, research advisor/mentor, and co-directors will design a program tailored to the student’s interests, goals, and background.

GH students are required to complete a core course requirement. This requirement can be fulfilled by any one of the following eleven core courses:

  • EARTHSYS 114/ EARTHSYS 214/ ESS 213/ HUMBIO 114  Global Change and Emerging Infectious Disease
    The changing epidemiological environment. How human-induced environmental changes, such as global warming, deforestation and land-use conversion, urbanization, international commerce, and human migration, are altering the ecology of infectious disease transmission, and promoting their re-emergence as a global public health threat. Case studies of malaria, cholera, hantavirus, plague, and HIV.
    Units: 4-5
  • EPI 225: Introduction to Epidemiologic and Clinical Research
    The skills to design, carry out, and interpret epidemiologic studies, particularly of chronic diseases. Topics: epidemiologic concepts, sources of data, cohort studies, case-control studies, cross-sectional studies, sampling, measures of association, estimating sample size, and sources of bias. Prerequisite: A basic/introductory course in statistics or consent of instructor.
    Units: 3
  • EPI 226: Intermediate Epidemiologic and Clinical Research Methods
    The principles of study design, measurement, confounding, effect modification, and strategies for minimizing bias in clinical and epidemiologic studies. Prerequisite: 225 or consent of instructor.
    Units: 3
  • EPI 231: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
    Principles of the transmission of the infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, rickettsiae, mycoplasma, fungi, and protozoan and helminth parasites). The role of vectors, reservoirs, and environmental factors. Pathogen and host characteristics that determine the spectrum of infection and disease. Endemicity, outbreaks, and epidemics of selected infectious diseases. Principles of control and surveillance.
    Units: 3
  • HUMBIO 129S: Global Public Health
    The class is an introduction to the fields of international public health and global medicine. It focuses on resource poor areas of the world and explores major global health problems and their relation to policy, economic development, culture and human rights. We discuss technical solutions as well as the importance of the social determinants of health, and emphasize multi-sectoral approaches to care. The course is intended to challenge all students to think globally, and is geared for students interested in exploring how their major interests cold be directed to solve global health issues. We provide opportunities for in-depth discussion and interaction with experts in the field.
    Units: 3
  • MED 226: Practical Approaches to Global Health Research (EPI 237, INTLPOL 290)
    How do you come up with an idea for a useful research project in a low resource setting? How do you develop a research question, prepare a concept note, and get your project funded? How do you manage personnel in the field, complex cultural situations, and unexpected problems? How do you create a sampling strategy, select a study design, and ensure ethical conduct with human subjects? This course takes students through the process of health research in under-resourced countries from the development of the initial research question and literature review to securing support and detailed planning for field work. Students progressively develop and receive weekly feedback on a concept note to support a funding proposal addressing a research question of their choosing. Aimed at graduate students interested in global health research, though students of all disciplines interested in practical methods for research are welcome.
    Units: 3
    If taken as a 1 unit audit course, may be used as below with at least two other seminars to complete Core Course requirement or may be used for the elective requirement
  • MED 232: Global Health: Scaling Health Technology Innovations in Low Resource Settings
    Recent advances in health technologies - incorporating innovations like robotics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and smart sensors - have raised expectations of a dramatic impact on health outcomes across the world. However, bringing innovative technologies to low resource settings has proven challenging, limiting their impact. This course explores critical questions regarding the implementation and impact of technological innovations in low resource settings. The course will feature thought leaders from the health technology community, who will explore examples of technologies that have been successful in low resource communities, as well as those that have failed. Students will think critically to consider conditions under which technologies reach scale and have positive impact in the global health field. This course is open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and medical students. Graduate students and MD students can enroll for 2 units. Students enrolling in the course for a third unit will also work on group projects, each of which will focus on the potential opportunity for a health technology in a low resource setting and consider approaches to ensure its impact at scale. Students enrolled in the class for three units will also have additional assignments, including weekly discussion posts. Students must submit an application and be selected to receive an enrollment code.
    Units: 2-3
    Note: Must be taken for 3 units to fulfill the Core Course Requirement; if taken for 2 units, will only fulfill the Elective Course Requirement, but not the Core Course requirement
  • MED 294: Global Health: Through an Equity Lens
    In this course, current topics of global health will be discussed while focusing on an equity lens. Topics include decolonizing global health, climate and vulnerable populations, the poverty trap, inequities in reproductive rights, inequities for child health as well as global gender and racial disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sessions will include lectures from experts in the field, student presentations and class discussions. Requirements for the course include attendance and participation in class discussions, a short presentation, and a final paper. This course will be taught by the Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health, Dr. Michele Barry and Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, Professor of Ophthalmology and Global Medicine and co-founder of the Himalayan Cataract Project. Course enrollment is open to graduate students and undergraduate students.
    Units: 2-3
  • PEDS 124: Global Child Health (HUMBIO 124C, MED 124)
    This course introduces students to key challenges to the health and well being of children worldwide. We explicitly focus on child and public health problems in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) to reflect the global burden of disease among children. We will review the scope and magnitude of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, as well as examine regional variations. We will then identify both medical and non-medical causes, effects of, as well as interventions to address, some of the biggest child health problems. The course will also prevent an overview of the role of culture, gender, and non-state actors (NGOs, foundations, etc.) on health and health policy.
    Units: 3-5
  • PEDS 223: Human Rights and Global Health
    Open to medical students, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates. Examines the newly emerging field of human rights and global health, beginning with the essential background into the field of human rights, and the recent emergence of health as a human right. Emphasis is on the pioneering work of Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health and the challenge he and his organization have posed to the conventional wisdom about approaches to combating poor health and disease worldwide. Topics include the "big three" infectious diseases -- tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS -- as well as emerging infectious diseases, clean water and sanitation, and malnutrition and famine.
    Units: 3
  • PEDS 250/ PEDS 150: Social and Environmental Determinants of Health
    How do race/ethnicity and social economic status contribute to health disparities, how are vulnerable populations uniquely at risk for poor health outcomes, and how does where we live and work influence our health status? Explore the processes through which social status and environmental determinants adversely affect health and drive inequalities. Discuss clinical, public health and policy solutions for advancing health equity from the perspective of health professionals working in multiple sectors. Other topics include: gender, age, individual and structural bias; language, education; vulnerable populations (e.g., the homeless, the incarcerated, immigrant populations, children, and uninsured/underinsured); life course; environmental forces (e.g., urban design/planning, traffic, green space, housing, food access, law enforcement, and media); and innovative community-engaged and policy solutions.
    Units: 3
  • SOMGEN 207/ INTLPOL 291       Theories of Change in Global Health
    Open to graduate students studying in any discipline whose research work or interest engages global health. Upper-class undergraduates who have completed at least one of the prerequisite courses and who are willing to commit the preparatory time for a graduate level seminar class are welcome. The course undertakes a critical assessment of how different academic disciplines frame global health problems and recommend pathways toward improvements. Focuses on evaluating examples of both success and failure of different theories of change in specific global health implementations. Prerequisites: ECON 118, CEE 265D, HUMBIO 129S or HUMBIO 124C.
    Units: 3-4

Alternatively, the GH core course requirement can be fulfilled by completing at least three of the following eight core one-unit seminars:

  • BIOE 371: Global Biodesign: Medical Technology in an International Context (MED 271)
  • FEMGEN 206/ SOMGEN 206: Global Medical Issues Affecting Women
  • MED 228: Physicians and Social Responsibility
  • MED 242: Physicians and Human Rights
  • MED 226: Practical Approaches to Global Health Research (HRP 237, INTLPOL 290)
  • MED 285: Global Leaders and Innovators in Human and Planetary Health (HRP 285)
  • SURG 234: Service Through Surgery: Surgeons with an Impact
  • SURG 236: Seminar in Global Surgery and Anesthesia


GH students can complete the rest of their GH coursework with at least one elective course (to complete 6 total units in Global Health) in a GH-related area. There are many courses relevant to GH at Stanford. Discussion with your Foundation and Application directors is advised to best develop the coursework plan that fits your interests. Interdisciplinary courses related to Global Health, including some selected from business, economics, anthropology, engineering, and epidemiology are welcome; many examples are noted below:


AFRICAST 195: Shifting Frames

AFRICAST 212: AIDS, Literacy, and Land: Foreign Aid and Development in Africa

ANTHRO 137/ ANTHRO 237: The Politics of Humanitarianism

ANTHRO 182N: Smoke and Mirrors in Global Health

BIO 117/ EARTHSYS 111/ ESS 111: Biology and Global Change

BIODS 472/ BIOMEDIN 472/ CS 472: Data science and AI for COVID-19

BIOE 371/MED 271: Global Biodesign: Medical Technology in an International Context

CEE 265D: Water and Sanitation in Developing Countries

CEE 277X/CEE 177X/ ENGR 177A/ ENGR 277A (Win): Engineering and Sustainable Development
CEE 277S/ CEE 177S/ ENGR 177B/ ENGR 277B (Spring): Engineering and Sustainable Development

CEE 374W: Advanced Topics in Water, Health and Development

COMM 177C/ EARTHSYS 117C/ COMM 277C/ EARTHYSYS 277C: Specialized Writing and Reporting: Health and Science Journalism

COMPMED 84Q : Globally Emerging Zoonotic Diseases

CSRE 132E/ EARTHSYS 194/ PWR 194EP/ URBANST 155EP: Topics in Writing & Rhetoric: Introduction to Environmental Justice: Race, Class, Gender and Place

CSRE 133P/ POLISCI 133Z/ PUBLPOL 103Z/ URBANST 122Z: Ethics and Politics in Public Service

CSRE 138/ ANTHRO 138/ ANTHRO 238: Medical Ethics in a Global World: Examining Race, Difference and Power in the Research Enterprise

CSRE 1T/STS 1: The Public Life of Science and Technology

EARTHSYS 106/ ECON 106/ EESS 106: World Food Economy

EARTHSYS 144/ ESS 164: Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (GIS)

EASTASN 217: Health and Healthcare Systems in East Asia

ECON 118: Development Economics

EDUC 377G/ GSBGEN 367: Problem Solving for Social Change

EMED 134/234: Climate Change, Toxins, and Health: From Education to Action

EMED 5C/ FEMGEN 5C/ CSRE 5C/ HISTORY 5C/ INTNLREL 5C): Human Trafficking: Historical, Legal, and Medical Perspectives

EPI 204/ HUMEPI 224/ MED 224/ PUBLPOL 224: Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab (SE Lab) - Global & Planetary Health

EPI 251: Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials

EPI 252/ BIOMEDIN 251/ MED 252: Outcomes Analysis

EPI 258: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Clinical Research

EPI 259: Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Epidemiology

EPI 285/ MED 285: Global Leaders and Innovators in Human and Planetary HealthBIO 154D: Models for Understanding and Controlling Global Infectious Diseases

FEMGEN 256/ HUMBIO 125/ OBGYN 256: Current Topics and Controversies in Women's Health

GLOBAL 101: Critical Issues in Global Affairs

HISTORY 243G/HISTORY 343G: Tobacco and Health in World History

HUMBIO 153: Parasites and Pestilence: Infectious Public Health Challenges

HUMBIO 29G: Gender and Intersectionality in Global Health

HUMRTS 110: Global Women's Issues in Human Rights and Health

INTLPOL 281/ LAW 5025: Global Poverty and the Law

INTLPOL 302: The Global Economy

INTLPOL 355/ LAW 5010: International Human Rights

MED 157: Foundations for Community Health Engagement

MED 233: Global Health: Beyond Diseases and International Organizations

MED 235/ AFRICAST 135/ AFRICAST 235/ EDUC 135/ EDUC 335/ HRP 235/ HUMBIO 26): Designing Research-Based Interventions to Solve Global Health Problems

OIT 333: Design for Extreme Affordability

OSPCPTWN 43: Public and Community Health in Sub-Saharan Africa

PEDS 202C/ SURG 202C: Qualitative Research Methods and Study Design

PEDS 212/ HUMBIO 122M: Challenges of Human Migration: Health and Health Care of Migrants and Autochthonous Populations

PEDS 225: Humanitarian Aid and Politics

POLISCI 247G: Governance and Poverty

POLISCI 421K/ COMM 339/ PSYCH 231: Questionnaire Design for Surveys and Laboratory Experiments: Social and Cognitive Perspectives

PSYC 86Q: Psychology of Xenophobia

SOC 133D: Globalization and Social Change

SOC 147/ CSRE 147A/ SOC 247: Race and Ethnicity Around the World

SPANLANG 108SL: Advanced Spanish Immersion:Migration, Asylum & Human Rights at the Border

STRAMGT 345: Taking Social Innovation to Scale

STRAMGT 381: Leading Strategic Change in the Health Care Industry