Graduate Certificate in Global Health

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Graduate Certificate in Global Health

Certificates Global Health Intro Row Copy with CTA

As part of the global health program, the Department of Public Health Sciences gives students the option of pursuing the global health track as part of a graduate degree or obtaining a graduate certificate in global health. Both options offer students a unique way to broaden their career paths by gaining an international perspective.

Upon completion of the graduate certificate in global health, students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of:

  • Today's major global health challenges
  • Social, political and cultural determinants of health
  • Important players in the global health landscape

Completion of the certificate is excellent preparation for continuing in the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

All students must submit an application through The Graduate School.

Certificates Global Health Basic Content


The certificate is made up of 12 credits of global health-related coursework. Students must complete each course with a grade of B or better in order to receive the certificate.

Required courses:

  • PHS 803: Principles of Global Health (Web-based course)
  • One of the following:
    • PHS 577: Social Determinants of Health (for DrPH)
    • PHS 809: Principles of Public Health (for MPH students)

Elective courses:

  • PHS 551: Advanced Epidemiological Methods (Epi/Biostat-track students only)
  • PHS 557: Global Impact on Infectious Diseases (Web-based course)
  • PHS 804: Integrating Systems Thinking in Global Health (Web-based course)
  • PHS 890: Special Topics: GHEP Colloquium
  • PHS 895C: International Internship
  • PHS 895D: Advanced Field Experience – Global Health
  • HLHED 501: World Health Promotion
  • HLHED 553: Multicultural Health Issues
See full course descriptions in the Penn State University Bulletin.

Non-Degree Student Status

All certificate candidates are considered non-degree students. Up to 15 Penn State course credits acquired as a non-degree certificate candidate may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements.

Please see details about requirements and access for non-degree students.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the certificate program, an applicant must hold either:

  • a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution; or
  • a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.

International Applicants

International applicants must have a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree.

This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

Additionally, all international applicants must meet the Graduate School’s English proficiency requirements.

How to Apply

Complete the application and submit materials online to the Graduate Certificate in Global Health at the Hershey campus via the The Graduate School at Penn State.

In addition to the application, you must submit:

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of Purpose or Rationale for seeking a Graduate Certificate in Global Health
  • Two letters of recommendation

Do not send transcripts directly to the program.

Certificate Policies

Admission decisions are made by a faculty committee and are based on the quality of the applicant's professional and academic accomplishments. Upon approval, certificate program students will enroll in coursework on a nondegree basis. Note that admission as a nondegree graduate student neither guarantees nor implies subsequent admission to a degree program. Nondegree students are not eligible to receive fellowships or graduate assistantships.

Students must complete each course with a grade of B or better in order to receive the certificate.

All global health courses in the certificate program may be applied to the Master of Public Health degree program if a grade of B or better is achieved. Certificate program students who wish to have the certificate courses applied to the MPH degree program must formally apply and be admitted to the Penn State MPH degree program. Admission into the Penn State MPH degree program is a separate step and is not guaranteed.

Students who are interested in the Penn State MPH degree program should contact the program directly.

Key Dates

The deadline to apply is:

  • Nov. 1 for spring semester admission
  • April 1 for summer semester admission
  • July 1 for fall semester admission

Contact Us

The Graduate Certificate in Global Health is a program of the Penn State College of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences.

If you have questions about this program, please email or call 717-531-1502.