Graduate Certificate in Global Health

Global health isn’t only for doctors and nurses. The work of improving health at home and around the world takes passionate practitioners across fields – economics, education, engineering, languages, and others. Want to learn more about how global health intersects with your degree and your career aspirations? Consider the Graduate Certificate in Global Health!

This interdisciplinary graduate-level certificate program promotes joint training opportunities in global health between and across departments and schools at Vanderbilt. Students earning this certificate learn basic global health knowledge and skills that will help them make positive contributions in communities at home and across the globe.

The certificate is open to students in all Vanderbilt graduate and professional degree programs who receive the approval of their academic advisor and fulfill the certificate requirements eligible for the certificate. Students must

  1. Submit the Enrollment form upon their decision to pursue the certificate
  2. Complete 12 credit hours of global health coursework
  3. Submit the Certificate Verification form at least two months prior to graduation


Please note: Only Vanderbilt University degree-seeking graduate-level students are eligible for this certificate.

    1. To equip students with analytic and problem-solving skills that can be applied to current and emerging global health challenges.
    2. To prepare students for internationally-focused careers in academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, immigrant health agencies, philanthropic foundations, and industry.
    3. To help students assess public health challenges within international cultural and socioeconomic contexts.
    4. To instruct students in the fundamental principles of research, planning, and management methodology in resource-constrained settings.
    5. To facilitate student synthesis and analysis of global health data from existing and de novo sources.
    6. To ensure student acquisition of core competencies in global health care and prevention, including the mastery of a basic vocabulary in these disciplines.
  • For students interested in pursuing the certificate in global health, please follow these steps:

    1. Review requirements and information on this page.
    2. Complete and submit the Enrollment form.
    3. Complete one core course (3 credit hours):
      • Foundations of Global Health (offered in the Fall)
      • Essential Skills in Global Health (offered in the Spring)
      • Fundamentals of Global Health (offered as an online, asynchronous course; semester varies)
      • For MD students: ISC: Global Health or AE Global Health Telehealth 
      • For MSN and DNP students: Community Health with Global Health focus or Fundamental of Global Health
    4. Complete at least 9 additional credit hours of graduate-level coursework in global health.
    5. At least two months prior to graduation (i.e., March 1 for May graduation), submit the Certificate Verification form. You may initiate the form at any time during your graduate program to track your progress toward the certificate using the “Save and Return Later” feature.
    6. Contact Sarah Crane to discuss any questions or concerns.


  • Certificate Requirements

    Students will be granted a global health certificate at the time of graduation from their respective graduate degree-seeking program if they have successfully completed the requirements below:

    1. At least one 3-credit-hour core global health course: Foundations of Global Health; Fundamentals of Global Health (online course); Essential Skills in Global Health; MD students may only take the ISC Global health or AE Telehealth courses; Community Health with Global Health focus (open to nursing students only)
    2. At least 9 credit hours of additional global health electives.
      • These credit hours may be a combination of VIGH global health courses or other approved courses that have relevance to global health.
      • If more than one "core" course is taken, additional courses may count as electives.
      • Students may individually tailor and/or design electives in consultation with faculty mentors.
      • Practicum, thesis, research immersion, and individual learning courses that have relevance to global health may be approved for Certificate credit.
      • Global health fieldwork can satisfy up to 6 elective credit hours.
      • Students wishing to count a non-VIGH course towards the Certificate should complete the Course Proposal form in which they explain how the course relates to the Certificate objectives (listed above in a previous section) and describe their final course deliverable, which must relate to global health.
      • All courses for the Certificate must be taken for graduate credit and involve global health content.
      • School of Medicine courses
        • ACEs (3 credits each): Spanish Language Peds Clinc; ShadeTree Clinic
        • AEs (3 credits each): Global Health; Global Health Telehealth, Ecology & Health (be sure to complete a global health project in this course)
        • ISCs (3 credits each): Global Health
        • Special Study (3 credits): any project/research related to global health
        • Research Immersion (6 credits): any research related to global health

    This checklist will help you to plan and track your global health credit.


    For Students Interested in Multiple Graduate Certificates:

    VIGH encourages students to consider the many Certificate opportunities available to Vanderbilt graduate students through the Graduate School and the School of Medicine. Note that students pursuing multiple Graduate Certificates may ‘double count’  (i.e. apply the same course[s] to more than one Certificate) up to 3 credit hours.

    For example, a medical student pursuing Graduate Certificates in both Global Health and Health Equity might take the ACE: Spanish Language Peds as an elective for both certificates; a student pursuing Graduate Certificates in both Global Health and Latin American Studies might apply a credit-bearing health education practicum experience in Guatemala towards both certificates. For specific questions about Graduate Certificate requirements and course selection, please contact Certificate Program directors.



  • To fulfill the 9 elective credit hours, you can take global health courses taught both by VIGH and other programs at Vanderbilt. Elective courses must relate to health, low-resource settings, foreign-born populations, economics, community development, and similar topics to be considered for certificate credit and your main projects/assignments should focus on an aspect of global health. For example, in a course on international economic development, an appropriate term paper would be a literature review on the economic impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

    • View VIGH’s global health courses
    • View other courses that relate to global health
    • Search for other global health courses on YES by searching “global health”
    • For non-VIGH courses, please submit the “Course Proposal” form to have the course be reviewed and considered for the certificate requirements. 
    • Students may also tailor a practicum, thesis, or individual learning course to relate to global health and to be considered for Certificate credit. You should work with your program to ensure that the experience is taken for graduate-level course credit (e.g. independent study, practicum, research course, etc.). To propose an independent study, you may use the Independent Learning Course form​.
  • To be considered for the Graduate Certificate in Global Health, complete and submit the Certificate Verification form. Students may initiate the form at any time during their graduate program to track their progress toward the certificates using the “Save and Return Later” feature. The form must be completed and submitted at least two months prior to graduation.

    Deadlines for submission (approximately two months before your graduation date):
    • May graduates: March 1
    • August graduates: June 1
    • December graduates: October 1

    The online application form requires students to provide the following:

    1. Information on global health coursework, including an unofficial transcript, detailed academic record, or courses report from YES.
    2. Information on global health field work and final product (if a field experience was completed).
    3. A short bio and professional headshot to be used on our alumni pages.
  • Why should I get the Graduate Certificate in Global Health?

    The certificate is specifically designed for students from across disciplines to gain knowledge and skills in Global Health work. The certificate is an additional confirmation of your skills and knowledge in Global Health, and demonstrates to peers, employers, and others that you have a sustained interest in and commitment to solving community challenges with global relevance.

    I'm planning to work in the US - why is Global Health relevant to me?

     “Global” not only refers to systems outside of the US, but also to health challenges that cross borders and span socioeconomic groups, including within our own country. If you work with diverse populations and believe in building strong and equitable communities, Global Health makes sense for your context!

    I'm not a Vanderbilt student, what are my options?

    Only individuals who are degree-seeking graduate students at Vanderbilt are eligible for the Certificate. If you are interested in earning credentials in global health, Unite for Sight's Global Health University has a variety of certificates available. Additionally, the Consortium of Universities for Global Health has educational resources on global health and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health has a wide range of open courseware available in public and global health topics. 

    Where can I find course descriptions?

    Visit the course description page for general overviews. Log into YES for the most up-to-date information on faculty and times.

    Do VIGH courses require faculty approval?

    Due to limited class sizes, all students outside of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine will require approval from VIGH and course faculty. Please contact the course professor prior to enrolling and explain that you are a candidate for the Graduate Certificate in Global Health and wish to enroll in the course as part of the certificate.

    How does tuition work?

    Students should discuss tuition concerns with their home departments. In general, courses that student take for the certificate fulfill core or elective requirements in the student's primary program, thus not incurring additional tuition costs.

    Can I propose a course to count towards the certificate if the course does not have a health or global health focus?

    Yes. Courses that are not listed as VIGH global health courses but do relate global health, low-resource settings, low- and middle-income countries, undeserved populations, economic development, and the like can be considered for certificate credit. Your final deliverable for the course must focus on an aspect of global health (ex: the course is about economic development in low- and middle-income countries and your final deliverable is a literature review on the long-term economic impact of child feeding programs). To have a non-listed global health course be reviewed and considered for the certificate requirements, please submit the course proposal form.

    What if I have already taken a global health-related course and I would like it to count towards the certificate?

    If the course relates global health, low-resource settings, low- and middle-income countries, undeserved populations, economic development, and the like, and your final deliverable focused on an aspect of global health, you may submit a course proposal for consideration. You will need to upload the course syllabus as well as your final product.

    What if I cannot fit a global health core courses into my schedule?

    Contact Chase Stober ( to discuss other options.

    Where can I find more information about Graduate Certificates at Vanderbilt?

    More information can be found at

  • For additional information on the Graduate Certificate in Global Health, please contact: Sarah Crane