Distance Learning Program in Global Health

USU Courtyard

Graduate Certificate in Global Health and Global Health Engagement, offered via distance learning

USU is pleased to offer a "Graduate Certificate in Global Health and Global Health Engagement" via distance learning.  

Update June 15, 2018: The four classes that comprise this year's August 2018 cohort are now full; no additional applications are being accepted at this time. The Program will begin accepting applications for August 2019 beginning December 10th, 2018. We appreciate the widespread interest in this Program.

The University is accepting applications from students interested in taking courses in this field for academic credit; application instructions are detailed below. Students can earn a graduate certificate upon successful completion of 18 credit hours of coursework as per the requirements below. 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. Prospective students who are interested in expanding their knowledge and skillset by taking only one or two courses are also welcome and encouraged to apply.

There are six courses currently available for interested students to take via distance learning: Global Health 1 and 2 (formally PMO 528 and 539), Global Health Engagement, Comparative International Health Systems, Global Mental Health, and Medical Anthropology. "Global Health 3" and "International and Domestic Disaster Response" will be offered in academic year 2018-2019.

All students interested taking coursework via distance learning must start with Global Health 1 (PMO 528). The next running of the first course ("Global Health 1") will begin August 2018. The Program will begin accepting applications for the 2019 cohort on December 10th. Students should plan to apply as soon as possible after that date.

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 to globalhealth@usuhs.edu 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 your bio and CV to that same notification email.

2.     Order a copy of your undergraduate transcript sent from your university to either:

globalhealth@usuhs.edu (for electronic delivery)


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


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What happens after I’ve applied to the program?

The online application with bio and CV are compiled together with your transcripts and sent to the Committee on Admissions for review. The next committee meeting will be in April (2018) and students will be notfied in May.  


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 first two courses (Global Health 1 and 2) each have a live component (via video teleconference) that occurs once per week. While attempts are often made to accommodate students in different time zones, the most popular day/time for these sessions has always been Wednesday evenings, Eeastern Standard Time. 


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.


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, faculty are 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?



 Can I just take a course or two?


The first course, Global Health 1, is specifically designed to provide a broad base of knowledge and key concepts to advance the students' education in this field. Students who have elected to take just this one course, or the first two courses, ahve found it beneficial to their education and careers. There is no expectation, implied or otherwise, that students need to complete all 18-credits. The global health leadership from the Services (the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Public Health Service) look very favorably upon the completion of any coursework by students within this program. While the full graduate certificate is a nice achievement, 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?

           Email globalhealth@usuhs.edu