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.  

USU's Global Health Distance Learning Program offers engaging, graduate-level education in global health and global health engagement. Since July 2016 this program has enrolled over 600 students from all four Services spread across six continents. Students earn a graduate certificate upon successful completion of 18 credit hours of coursework as per the requirements below. Graduate certificates are an increasingly recognized and valued credential in this rapidly-changing field. Many of our students are mid-career professionals seeking formal education to buttress their understanding which was previously based solely on intermittent experiences overseas. Other students are completely new to the field and motivated by a combination of intellectual curiosity and a recognition that it is prudent to prepare academically prior to jumping into global health projects or missions. 

UPDATE January 2021:
A link to the formal application for an August 2021 start will be offered on this page on or about February 1st. The application will remain open for the month of February, after which time the committee on admissions will adjudicate the applications and then send notification to applicants approximately March 1st. If you are interested in applying to this program, be sure to check back after February 1st and fill out that application. If you would like to be emailed a reminder when that application becomes available, add your information to the form linked here. We will send email notification to everyone on that list when the formal application becomes available. If that link does not work for you, it is being blocked by your workplace network; simply access the link either from home or from your phone or tablet instead. 


Please note that this is a fully-accredited graduate program taught within the School of Medicine at USU and is likely more rigorous than other distance learning courses you may have previously taken elsewhere. It is estimated that you will have to set aside 10 hours per week in the fall and winter terms, and 7.5 hours per week in the spring term, with a summer respite from mid-May through mid-August. A student in this cohort who progresses through the program without interruption will begin in August 2020 and finish 18 months later in February 2022. Students are not required to progress through the program that quickly, however, and may pause and re-start to accommodate TDYs, deployments, and other life events. Students who are currently in an internship, residency, or another academic program, however, are strongly discouraged from applying. All who apply for admission in this cohort are committing to dedicating 10-hours per week for at least the Fall 2021 term which will run from approximately August 15th through November 3rd. 

For more information on the program, you may browse the program handbook, or view a presentation that describes this program that was given at AMSUS in November 2019.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): 

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 three courses (Global Health 1 and 2, and Global Health Engagement) 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 afternoon and evenings, Eastern 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 primarily admitting only members of the U.S. Armed Services who are on active duty or reserve status, State and National Guard, as well as members of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. Civilian federal government employees, particularly those who work for DOD, State, USAID, and HHS are als now considered for enrollment on a case-by-case basis. Civilian federal employees interested in enrollment should fill out the application and alert the program by email to globalhealth@usuhs.edu.


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 some (reasonably-priced) texts or other materials.


Is there any service commitment associated with this program?



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

           Browse our program handbook, and you may also email globalhealth@usuhs.edu