Global Public Health Minor

Global Public Health Minor



Global Public Health Minor


Global Public Health Minor

Sponsor:          Department of Public Health Sciences (School of Medicine)

Co-sponsors:       College of Arts & Sciences
                           Center for Global Health
                           Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life

Faculty Steering Committee:

Department of Public Health Sciences:  Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH
College of Arts & Sciences:  Richard Handler, PhD
Center for Global Health:  Rebecca Dillingham, MD


A large and increasing number of College students wish to pursue academic or professional careers in public health in both domestic and global health settings. In addition, they are incorporating field work in international health and public health into their undergraduate experience. As a foundation for their field work and future careers, they desire a liberal arts perspective on global public health, including an introduction to relevant theoretical frameworks on public health and global health.

Global Public Health Minor Foci:

  • An introduction to public health from different disciplines and perspectives, including epidemiology, ethics, anthropology, sociology, and politics;
  • An introduction to global health analytic frameworks, international institutions, and methods to understand and address health inequities;
  • An exploration of contemporary public health issues at the intersections of public policy, law, human rights, and ethics;
  • The cultivation of cultural understanding and humility.


Global Public Health Minor Requirements:  

Six courses (18 credits), which includes a capstone course with a major writing requirement; one field experience or service project; and an additional language requirement.

1) Required core courses

  • PHS5050: Public Health Policy, Law, and Ethics (the capstone course);
  • RELG 2650 Theology, Ethics, and Medicine, or PHS5100 Health Care Policy and Management or another approved course on health policy;
  • Global Health Course: one course that focuses on global health issues offered by the Center for Global Health, or departments and schools throughout the university (approved by advisor)

2) Three elective courses related to health offered by departments and schools throughout the University. A list of possible electives will be provided each semester.  Courses will be selected in consultation with an advisor.


  • RELG 2650 Theology, Ethics, and Medicine;
  • PLAC 5440 Community Planning;
  • PLAN 5450 Healthy Communities;
  • PLIR 3310 Ethics and Human Rights;
  • PHIL 5040 Global Justice, Health, and Human Rights;  
  • A statistics course, or other research methods course


3) One language course beyond the 2020 level of any language at UVa or in an approved study abroad course.

4) Each student is required to attend one GPHM meeting each semester. 

5) A field experience in a global health or national health-related setting.  Internship funding can be applied for from the Center for Global Health, the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life, and other programs.

Global Public Health Minor Field Experience-- Guidelines: 

Students are expected to do a health-related field experience or service project in either a global or local setting.  Normally, such fieldwork will not carry academic credit.  For in-depth projects that have academic or research dimensions, students may work with faculty to seek academic research or independent study credit for the field experience.

  • Students should review their plans for their field experience with their global public health minor faculty advisors.
  • Field Experiences generally should be about 80 hours.  These hours can take place during one summer, or can be spread out over the course of a semester or academic year by working a few hours each week.
  • Students are expected to keep a journal during their field experience and provide their (global public health minor) faculty  advisors with about 10 pages (double-spaced) of journal entries.   Journal entries are informal, personal reflections about the field placement experience. The goal of the journal entries is to encourage students to integrate the ideas and knowledge they obtained  in their coursework with their real-world experience and impressions.  Journals are due to the faculty advisors by April 1st of their final year.


Application Information

Who May Apply?

Rising 3rd year undergraduates from any major or school in the University can apply to be in the Global Public Health Minor Program.  We welcome applications from transfer students who will enter the University in their third year.  These students may contact us for advice on submitting their application by the April15 deadline.  Please contact Tracey Brookman at for more information.

How Do Students Apply?

Students apply during the second semester of their second year.

To apply, students must submit an application that includes 1) a statement of interest; 2) a complete transcript with all grades; 3) a resume, including a detailed description of any relevant experience; and 4) one faculty letter of recommendation sent directly to Ruth Gaare Bernheim by e-mail at

Applications must be received by April 15th. Students will be notified of their acceptance by May 15th through their UVa email address.  At the start of the fall semester during the registration period, students accepted into the Global Public Health Minor will be invited to a special program meeting to discuss requirements and options for course electives.

Applications should be mailed to:

Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH

Global Public Health Minor Program

Department of Public Health Sciences

PO Box 800717
Charlottesville, VA   22908-0717