Global Health Policy - MPH


Global Health Policy - MPH




Global Health Policy (GHP) is the area of public health concerned with decisions that translate evidence and political will into authoritative public agreement and interventions. GHP focuses on global and national health systems, including medical care and public health services. GHP is concerned with the allocation of resources across countries and organizations, and the implementation of programs as solutions to the achievement of health goals. This program considers institutions, units of authority, a variety of organizations, roles of people within such structures, and service arrangements within diverse national and local health systems. Global Health Policy addresses health challenges of interdependent nations, regions and sectors with multiple cultures, different levels of development, a variety of capacities, and coexistent values. 

The mission of the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Global Health Policy program is to prepare professionals to assist in public health decision making pertaining to national, regional and worldwide interventions and institutions; to support policy analysis and utilize diverse analytic tools including epidemiology and international comparative policy methods paying particular attention to culture and equity. These leaders will integrate scientific knowledge and global evidence to advise decision making and action by diverse global health systems and other sectors and to provide insight on policies and processes that impact population health, all with an emphasis to underserved populations and development.                                                                                                                                         

At the George Washington University, we are proud to educate students who are committed to improving public health on a global scale and engaging in and promoting public service. We emphasize these qualities in the MPH Global Health Policy program because they are essential for future health professionals and public health practitioners. In addition, we’re certain that Global Health Policy graduates can:

  • Assess the burden and determinants of health problems, their social distribution and inequities, and the interdependence of countries.
  • Apply common economic, epidemiological, and comparative policy analysis methods and tools for evidence to assess burden of disease, determining efficacy and effectiveness of interventions for global infectious and chronic disease control.
  • Use global evidence for local action using systematic reviews and local facts to drive well informed health policy decisions. Translate evidence to support program and health systems policy recommendations.
  • Work with other disciplines and with sectors beyond health to develop innovative policy options.
  • Develop strong cultural sensitivity and intercultural competency within diverse health and political systems
  • Act in global health diplomacy in policy-shaping and negotiations to improve health while strengthening relations among nations.
  • Assume leadership roles in the global health policy development process.
  • Work with methodological rigor of international policy design, program priority setting, and negotiation.
  • Communicate the results of research to a culturally broad set of constituents.

Flexible Programming

To help students fit graduate school into their daily life, Milken Institute SPH provides flexible course offerings, which allows Global Health Policy students to take up to 15 credits online.

Program Prerequisites

There are no specific prerequisites for entering the Global Health Policy master’s program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. Students who are especially interested in working with diverse populations and those who wish to study broad categories of health policy are candidates for this MPH in Global Health Policy. Note, preference may be given to applicants who:

  • Exhibit a background with extensive inter-cultural experience(s);
  • Have multiple language skills.  Fluency in English plus other languages, including native languages, are strongly preferred;
  • Show relationships with institutions within USA and in other countries (developed or developing) that could safely host and offer a programmed and structured experience to the students exposing them to work teams and populations of different cultures.
  • Are professionals in decision making positions and able to exhibit an understanding of the challenges and opportunities represented by them by their diverse experiences. 


Students should remember to follow the curriculum associated with the Academic Year in which they matriculated. All Program Guides are linked in the following Curriculum Tab.

Students in the GW Master of Public Health (MPH) Global Health Policy Program must complete three main academic requirements; the MPH core, program specific-requirements, and electives. There are 16 credits of core MPH requirements, including the practicum and culminating experience that must be successfully completed. And, there are an additional 24 program-specific credits plus 5 elective credits that are also required. 
MPH Core Requirements

PUBH 6000 | MPH Applied Practice Experience (0 credits)
PUBH 6002 | Biostatistical Applications for Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6003 | Principles and Practice of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PUBH 6007 | Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health (2 credits)
PUBH 6009 | Fundamentals of Program Evaluation (2 credits)
PUBH 6011 | Environmental & Biological Foundations of Public Health (3 credits)
PUBH 6012 | Fundamentals of Health Policy (2 credits)
PUBH 6021 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 1: Leading Self and Teams in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6022 | Essentials of Public Health Practice & Leadership 2: Managing Organizations & Influencing Systems in Public Health (1 credit)
PUBH 6023 | Interprofessional Education Experience (IPE) (0 credits)


PUBH 6418 | Culminating Experience I: Proposal Development (1 credit)
PUBH 6419 | Culminating Experience II (1 credit)



Required Program Specific Courses

PUBH 6315 | Introduction to Health Policy Analysis (2 credits)
PUBH 6400 | GH Frameworks (2 credits)
PUBH 6412 | GH Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
PUBH 6416 | Ethical & Cultural Issues in GH Research & Programs (1 credit)
PUBH 6417 | Cross-Cultural Approaches for Global Health Practice (1 credit)
PUBH 6441 | GH Organizations & Regulations (3 credits)
PUBH 6450 | Global Health Diplomacy (online) (2 credits)


Program Selective Courses

Choose 4 credits of coursework as follows:from the courses below

PUBH 6355 | Comparative Health Policy (prerequisite: PUBH 6012) (2 credits)
PUBH 6442 | Comparative Global Health Systems (2 credits)

AND one (1) course from the following:

PUBH 6399 | TOPICS: Cost-Benefit Analysis in Health Care (2 credits)
PUBH 6440 | Global Health Economics and Finance (2 credits)
PUBH 6466 | Health Financing in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (2 credits)



Global Health Policy Elective Courses

8 credits from Elective list shown in the current program guide.  Alternatives may be selected with advanced advisor approval.

For the most up to date list of electives, please reference the program guide and our SPH Course Descriptions.


Non-Academic Requirements

Professional Enhancement

Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, or symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students must submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the student records department [email protected].

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training

All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research prior to beginning the practicum.  This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.

Past Program Guides

Program Guides from prior Academic Years

Students in the MPH in GH Policy program should refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current program guide, click the "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of the page.


Students in the GW MPH programs gain practical skills and knowledge through their practice experiences. It is important for MPH Global Health Policy graduates to feel confident in their skills and gain real-world experience during their studies. Students in the Global Health Policy MPH program complete both an Applied Practice Experience (Practicum) and a Culminating Experience to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world settings.

Your Applied Practice Experience (Practicum)

In the Department of Global Health, the Practicum is designed to engage students in a Practice Activity—a planned, supervised, and evaluated experience in a public health organization. The Practice Activity can be related to either primary research or public health practice. It might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, designing ad campaigns, or collecting and analyzing data.

The Practice Activity for the MPH Global Health Policy degree may not be directly related to the student's day-to-day work. This is to ensure that students learn and apply new skills in the context of public health. If the student does conduct the Practice Activity at his/her place of employment, it must be work for which the student is not remunerated.

In recent years, students in the Department of Global Health have worked with over 200 organizations, in more than 50 countries.  The following organizations regularly host our practicum students:

    • Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
    • Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)
    • Peace Corps
    • Population Services International (PSI)
    • Save the Children
    • World Bank
    • World Health Organization (WHO)
    • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

    Your Culminating Experience

    The Culminating Experience (CE) integrates the knowledge and skills students acquire through their academic work and the Practice Activity. The CE requires students to identify and define a specific public health issue and formulate hypotheses to address that issue. Students work with data obtained through either primary research or from an existing dataset. The process of proposal development, data analysis, interpretation, and extrapolation of the results culminates in a written report or manuscript and an oral presentation.

    Some previous CE research topics in the MPH Global Health Policy program include:

    • Policy Analysis of Surgical Care Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Country: A Comparison of Academic Partnerships and the WHO Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care
    • The Impact of Peace Accord Implementation on Public Health in Conflict-Afflicted States
    • Food and Pharmaceutical Labeling Standards: The Possibility of Harmonization in Light of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
    • The Effects of Health Workforce Migration on Official Development Assistance for Health Systems Strengthening in Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Non-Communicable Diseases in Developing Countries: Strategies to Address a Growing Health Care Challenge
    There are numerous opportunities for Global Health Policy degree program graduates as new global health initiatives are developed and tested. MPH Global Health Policy graduates are in high demand at state and local governmental organizations, private health agencies and foundations, non-profit research centers, and educational institutions. Graduates with an MPH Global Health Policy degree find careers in teaching, research, and consulting.
    Jobs For Which You WIll Be Prepared For
    • Health Policy Analyst
    • Policy Research Assistant
    • Program Officer
    • Program Manager
    Organizations You Are Prepared to Help

    US Government Agencies

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    • National Institute of Health (NIH)
    • Peace Corps
    • United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID)
    • United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • US Department of State
    Multilateral Organizations
    • Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
    • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    • United Nations Foundation
    • United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
    • United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
    • WHO - Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)
    • World Bank
    • World Health Organization (WHO)
    Non-Governmental Organizations
    • Center for Global Development
    • Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
    • Council on Foreign Relations
    • Global Health Council
    • International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)
    • International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
    • International Food Policy Research Institution (IFPRI)
    • International Justice Mission (IJM)
    • Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)
    • Population Council
    • Sabin Vaccine Institute
    • Save the Children
    • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
    Private Sector – For Profit
    • DAI
    • Mathematica Policy Research
    Opportunities in the District

    The Masters of Public Health (MPH) Global Health Policy Program is located on George Washington University’s Foggy Bottom campus in downtown Washington, DC. In the heart of the nation’s capital, students have access to seminars, discussions, debates, and a wide array of other opportunities that take place at GW and across the city. The Milken Insitute School of Public Health has a diverse network of students and alumni that work for the surrounding executive and legislative branches of the federal and district government, corporate headquarters, non-profits, and think tanks. DC has the largest concentration of embassies and country representations in the world; it hosts diverse multilateral organizations where either alumni work or our faculty work or are linked, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, the Pan American Health Organization (regional office of the World Health Organization), the United Nations Foundation, the representation of the European Union and of the African Union, and many others with whom we experience constant contact and service. Washington, DC is a prime location for students wanting to pursue Global Health Policy as it is the ideal site for the encounter of people with diverse backgrounds and ideas confronting the challenges of development and political needs. There is no better place in the world to find opportunities for local, national, and global health policy careers, internships, and research opportunities. These are all available right at our doorstep!


    Students in the Global Health Policy Program are able to work alongside our world-class faculty, as it is common for professors to provide students with opportunities to assist on research and/or service projects. Examples of the types of projects include: analyzing data, conducting literature searches,  coordinating international events, integrating global health policy briefs or papers, position documents, or presentations to stakeholders. Our diverse network of faculty provides students with opportunities to research program plans, policy design and evaluation, economics and policy, and policy advocacy.

    The many areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the Global Health Policy Master of Public Health program include program planning, policy design and evaluation, research methods, economics and policy, and policy advocacy.  We are pleased to introduce you to these MPH Global Health Policy faculty members:

    Dr. Wolfgang Munar

    Dr. Seble Freywhot

    Ms. Kimberly Gamble-Payne

    Dr. Uriyoan Colion-Ramos

    Dr. Cheng Huang