Prepare for a career in research, policy, organizational leadership, or academia. During your four-year course of study, you’ll gain research skills and transdisciplinary knowledge so that you experience the range of perspectives on global health problems and their solutions. Then, apply what you’ve learned to your own research topics with a focus on a clinical or social and behavioral perspective. You’ll work with outstanding faculty and have the opportunity to interact with global health leaders.

The PhD program in Global Health Sciences focuses on research related to the delivery of care in health systems. Health systems are broadly defined, ranging from community-level preventative care, to hospital-based clinical care, to policy decisions at the level of a ministry of health. While the PhD program expects all students to develop competencies that address healthcare infrastructure, delivery, and implementation through their course of study, students may choose either a clinical or a social and behavioral science perspective for their health systems research. Potential candidates must select one area of specialization at the time of application.

Areas of Specialization


Focuses on major diseases that contribute to the global burden of disease and clinical interventions that improve health in low-resource communities. Examples of work include:

  • Identify new surveillance strategies for malaria in low-endemic settings
  • Implement and test interventions to address immediate post-natal care to improve mother and infant survival
  • Define best practices for tuberculosis care and control
  • Reduce the burden of musculoskeletal disease and prevent amputations in resource-poor environments
  • Deliver vaccines to establish immunological equity

Social and Behavioral Science

Focuses on economic, legal, and political structures that influence risk factors or disease burdens and on the association between social and environmental determinants of health and healthcare delivery in low-resource settings. Examples of work include:

  • Identify sustainable, innovative financing mechanisms to best support malaria elimination
  • Develop culturally appropriate measures of person-centered care for family planning and abortion services
  • Reduce AIDS stigma among health professionals in Asia
  • Build workforce capacity and health training to reduce preterm births in East Africa
  • Examine the role of food security on pregnancy and birth outcomes of HIV-infected women

Read more about our curriculum.

Student Profiles

Read about our exceptional doctoral students.