Institute for Global Health Sciences

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Summary Description

Our students embody our passion for advancing health worldwide. They bring leadership, dedication and curiosity to solving the world’s most pressing health problems.

The Master of Science in Global Health Sciences is designed for those who wish to gain global health knowledge, skills, and experience through an interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes research methods, population health, and the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health in a globalized world. The master's curriculum covers themes in Foundations of Global Health, Scientific Methods, Diseases and Determinants, and Health Systems and Policy. Students completing this degree will be prepared for a career in research, policy, organizational leadership, academia, or program management and evaluation.

Lectures, seminars, case studies, debates, and team-based projects introduce students to critical aspects of global health practice. The learning environment is dynamic and emphasizes faculty involvement, peer teaching, problem-solving, and discussion.

A centerpiece of the program is each student’s individual capstone project, conducted in locations around the world, which emphasizes study design, practicalities of field research, and cultural humility. This project allows students to obtain depth of expertise in a specific topic and method.

The PhD in Global Health Sciences is a transdisciplinary program that prepares students to work in and contribute to the field of global health by providing a range of perspectives on global health challenges and solutions. Students are trained in research methods and modes of inquiry drawn from public health, public policy, economics, development studies, implementation science, and the social sciences, to prepare them to address health problems of global importance. Graduates are equipped for careers in academia, policy, and organizational leadership.

The program is structured as a four-year degree. Students spend the first two years in residence at the UCSF Mission Bay campus engaged in coursework, research rotations, and teaching residencies. After completing the core curriculum and passing the qualifying examination, students spend the next two years focused on conducting their dissertation research and engaging in other research and professional growth activities under the guidance of research advisers and faculty mentors.

The UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences (IGHS) was established in 2003 by Haile T. Debas to provide institutional leadership for global health at UCSF. Reporting directly to the chancellor, IGHS is an interdisciplinary educational, research and service organization dedicated to improving health and reducing the burden of disease in the world's most vulnerable populations.


The Institute for Global Health Sciences operates within the UCSF Graduate Division. Please see the Graduate Division page for policies.