USU Distance Learning Global Health Course now Open for Applications

USU Distance Learning Global Health Course now Open for Applications

Uniformed Services University is currently accepting applications from students interested in taking courses in this field for academic credit; application instructions are detailed below.

There are five global health courses currently available for interested students to take via distance learning: Global Health 1 and 2 (formally PMO 528 and 539), Medical Anthropology (PMO 534), Global Mental Health, and Comparative International Health Systems. The University is now building distance-learning versions of additional courses and will eventually offer 18+ credits of coursework in this field. Students who successfully complete all 18 credits will earn a graduate “Certificate in Global Health and Global Health Engagement.” Graduate certificates have become an increasingly recognized and valued credential in global health and are often earned by mid-career professionals interested in obtaining formal education in this diverse and rapidly-changing field.

The next running of the first course ("Global Health 1") will begin August 2018. The Program does follow a "rolling admissions" process, so all interested candidates should apply as early as possible.

To apply for permission to take individual courses in global health at USU via distance learning, complete the following steps.

  1.    Complete the initial online application linked here.
  2.   As soon as you submit the above application, send a note sends e-mail) with your first and last name (and any maiden or other names that may be on transcripts) so that the Program can be sure to follow-up on your application. Also, please attach your CV and Bio to that email. Although the system instructs to upload it elsewhere, it's much easier for our processing if you can attach it to the notification email.
  3.    Order a copy of your undergraduate transcript sent from your university to either: sends e-mail) (for electronic delivery)


USUHS Global Health Distance Learning Program
4301 Jones Bridge Road, box #867
Bethesda, MD 20814-4712

To apply for admission to the full 18-credit, distance-learning Graduate Certificate Program in Global Health and Global Health Engagement:

    1. First, complete the two steps above to apply for permission to take individual courses in global health at USU.

    2. After successful completion of the first two (2) distance learning courses, students will need to additionally submit two letters of recommendation (one from their command and one from a USU faculty or adjunct faculty member) and a personal statement explaining their desire to continue in coursework at USU. The personal statement should also include information related to how their continued education benefits the mission of either the Department of Defense or the U.S. Public Health Service.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What happens after I’ve applied to the program?

The initial online application with bio and CV are compiled together with your transcripts and sent to the Committee on Admissions for initial review. A successful review of your application by the Committee entitles you to take individual courses for academic credit in the Global Health Distance Learning Program at USU. If you successfully complete the first two courses and decide you would like to continue to work toward the graduate certificate (once it is fully offered), a brief secondary application to include short letters of recommendation and a personal statement will be required. 

What do the courses entail?

Each course in the program consists of a certain number of “modules.” Modules are single “web” (html) pages of information with embedded lectures, faculty-authored text, links to required readings, and sometimes embedded panel discussions or other features. The courses are designed so that students (as a class-cohort) complete approximately one module per week. Students read the materials and watch the lectures and panel discussions on their own time, but then convene as a class once per week online to converse (via live video teleconference) with course faculty and their fellow students. Individual courses may also require discussion board participation, a term paper, and possibly a final exam.

When are the courses offered?

Most courses will run for approximately 11 weeks each. The stop and start dates, the days of the week, and the time of day for each of the courses will vary from course-to-course in order to offer maximal flexibility to students and faculty. 

Can I take coursework via distance learning at USU and then transfer the credit elsewhere?

Yes. Students will have a formal transcript maintained by the University Registrar. Upon successful completion of each distance learning course, there will be a letter grade recorded on the student’s transcript along with the credit value of each course. Any student may, at any time, request a transcript be sent and credits transferred to any other university or program that accepts transfer credits.

However, it is important for students to understand, of course, that earned credits can only be applied toward one (1) program for degree or certification purposes. In other words, students who transfer credits earned in USU courses and apply them toward degree requirements at another university will not be able to then apply those same credits also toward the University’s “Certificate in Global Health and Global Health Engagement” or any other degree or certification from the University. This is not meant to discourage students from transferring credits; USU serves a unique military population and students are actively encouraged to apply their credits to whichever degree or program best suits their own needs and academic pursuits. It is standard practice at all universities, however, that individual credits earned for coursework cannot be applied to more than one degree.

I might want to apply (or I am applying) to one of USU’s in-residence degree programs (i.e. MPH, MHAP, etc.). May I take a course or two now via distance-learning and then apply those credits toward my degree program at USU?


I am not a member of the U.S. military; can I apply to take global health courses at the Uniformed Services University?

At present, the Uniformed Services University is admitting only members of the U.S. Armed Services who are on active duty or reserve status, as well as members of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. 

What are the prerequisites for applying to this program?

This is a graduate program and therefore all students must already have at least a baccalaureate degree before applying to the program. No exceptions can be made to this policy for several reasons, including the fact that this is a requirement of the program’s accreditation.

Otherwise, the program has wide latitude to admit students from disparate backgrounds and levels of experience. Students in USU’s graduate programs have typically included physicians, nurses, dentists, medical planners, veterinarians, medical technicians and health administrators; but a background in the health professions is not an absolute requirement for matriculation into this program.  Particularly for our distance-learning courses, the faculty is actively seeking students from a wide variety of non-health backgrounds in order to enhance the understanding of global health engagement across the Department of Defense and beyond and to help our students from health backgrounds appreciate alternate perspectives.

In addition to our students who take this coursework early or midway through their careers, a number of students also enroll in our program who already possess significant academic credentials and an impressive amount of field experience in global health. We welcome these students into our program, too, as they add expertise, diversity, and valuable insight to class discussions, among many other benefits. Often times these are highly motivated, fast-tracked individuals who smartly choose to “brush up” on global health material prior to assuming leadership positions at some of the highest levels of the DoD and other departments of the U.S. Government.

Is there any tuition or other costs associated with the program?

There is no tuition charge for eligible personnel to take distance-learning courses at USU. Depending on the course, there may be a variable (although always minimal) number of expenses that students will have to cover on their own. This would include the purchase of a headset (approximately $35) if a student does not already own one, and possibly some texts or other materials.

Is there any service commitment associated with this program?


When will all of the courses needed to earn the graduate certificate be available?

There is no set date when all of the courses are guaranteed to be available. The best estimate is that new courses will be made available one at a time, and within another year or two a full panoply of online courses will be available. At present, though, students do receive academic credit upon completion of each individual course. A formal transcript, with the course titles and a requisite number of credits for each course completed, is maintained in perpetuity in the Office of the Registrar at USU. Potential students should be advised that the Services look very favorably on any coursework completed in this graduate program as it is both a career-broadening experience and particularly beneficial for anyone interested in participating in global health engagements or competing for associated billets and opportunities. The full graduate certificate will be a nice achievement, when it is available, for those students who wish to pursue all twenty credits. It should be understood, however, that successful completion of individual courses also has a lot of value in terms of both personal growth and professional advancement.

What if I have a question that is not answered by one of these FAQs?