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Subject Guide to Global Health

Global Health Masters DegreeGlobal Health is a wide-ranging subject that encompasses students from all sorts of backgrounds including
medicine, other health professionals and those working in the humanitarian sector. Postgraduate courses in this field are often interdisciplinary and can have academic staff from areas as diverse as medicine, geography, and education all involved in research and teaching.

It is a growing area of study and this is especially due to the increase in international collaboration on disease treatment and prevention. The Royal Society for Public Health considers the UK to be the European centre for the study of Global Health however, there are a number of institutions in Holland and Switzerland offering postgraduate study in English as well. 

Overview of an MSc in Global Health 

There are a few different approaches to an MSc in Global Health. Some institutions, such as King's College London, offer an MSc in Global Health as a traditional on-campus course. These postgraduate programs will be familiar to students who have recently completed a traditional undergraduate degree and the courses often have segments of work placements or research in addition to the lectures and tutorials. Other institutions, such as the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine offer MSc courses in Global Health in an online format. Online courses can sometimes require students to have a personal experience to draw on and are usually aimed at those students who are already working or volunteering for humanitarian organisations or in health care in developing countries.

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Reasons to study Global Health 

Many students wish to gain an understanding of delivering health care and health education to people with low incomes in developing countries or in places where there is conflict. Others want to learn how to better deliver health care during disasters or when there are security issues. Often, this is to gain knowledge that is relevant to a current career or to enable students to enter a humanitarian organisation after graduation. There are many research institutes, such as the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester, that study into ways of preventing the spread of disease during wars and the spread of illnesses like Ebola that easily crosses borders between countries. 

Entry requirements for a Global Health masters

Students wishing to study a Global Health masters program are usually required to already have a bachelors degree qualification at a minimum of second class level in a relevant subject. However, an MSc in Global Health is sometimes accessible without an undergraduate degree. For example, the MSc in Global Health offered by the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester requires students who don't already possess a lower second class undergraduate honours degree to complete the Postgraduate Certificate and then the Postgraduate Diploma before starting the masters program. Access to the Postgraduate Certificate can be through a personal statement providing evidence of your motivations and prior learning in the area of Global Health. Once a student has completed the Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma they have to complete their masters dissertation to gain the MSc in Global Health. 

Global Health topics for masters programs

Global Health masters programs encompass a whole range of related topics so it’s important to research the individual programs properly to make sure you choose the one that’s right for you. The MSc in Global Health at King's College London has four areas of emphasis; Disaster and Adaptation, Global Surgery, Conflict and Security, and Health Professionals Education. Meanwhile the MSc in Global Health at the University of Manchester includes modules on Disaster and Crisis Management, Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience, Ethics, Human Rights and Health, Management and Leadership in Health and Humanitarianism, and Diseases and Trauma in Developing Countries. The research areas of the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester are grouped into three areas of Spaces of Peace, Conflict and Crisis, Health, Wellbeing and Social Justice, and Knowledge Production in Intervention and Response. The London School of Hygeine & Tropical Medicine offers several options when it comes to Global Health-related masters courses. For example, their highly ranked MSc in Nutrition for Global Health concentrates on the impact of nutrition on population health. This masters degree can be studied full or part time.. 

Global Health Courses in the UK 

There are more postgraduate Global Health masters degree courses available to study in the UK than there are bachelors degrees. Here's a breakdown of the number of Global Health courses in the UK.

Global Health Masters


Student case study 

Kaitlin Conway is studying an MSc in Global Health at King's College London and she has found that by picking the institution that she did she was provided with a ready-made network of contacts that enabled her to undertake her dissertation in Zambia. When students are considering a Masters in Global Health it's important to research the organisations the institution you are considering work with. For example, the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester works with a number of renowned international organisations including Save the Children, UK-Med, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Project Trust. 

Career opportunities for Global Health graduates

An MSc in Global Health is an excellent choice for those students who wish to participate in humanitarian work around the world in a variety of positions. It's also a great choice for those who wish to work advising on national and international policy in Non-Governmental Organisations and international organisations like the World Health Organisation or the World Bank. If you wish to work for one of these international organisations, then you should think carefully about your location. For example, the World Health Organisation is based in Switzerland and the University of Geneva offers a two-year Masters in Global Health that is taught completely in English. 

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