The doctoral program curriculum provides students comprehensive global health knowledge and research skills to prepare for diverse careers and leadership in the field of global health.

Research Methods

Students receive fundamental training in research methodologies critical to conducting and comprehending global health research, including:

  • Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Implementation science
  • Demography
  • Qualitative research

Students then take advanced coursework in at least one methodology most applicable to their research interests.

Global Health Proseminars

Students take core coursework in the principles and challenges of global health and study the key institutions, frameworks, and approaches for facing those global health challenges through a doctoral-level global health Proseminar Series. Students explore and analyze in-depth the topics that are cross-cutting to all work in the field of global health. The Proseminar Series serves as the backbone of the PhD curriculum:

  • Global health development, history and inequity
  • Global health systems and financing
  • Global health policy
  • Research ethics and practice in global health
  • Global health economics
  • Global health architecture and diplomacy

Doctoral Seminar

The global health doctoral seminar is designed to provide professional development skills and career training/mentorship in global health research. The doctoral seminar focuses on enabling students to advance their academic and research skills, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the development of the doctoral student’s capacity to conduct research in global health. Seminar consists of several types of class sessions, including but not limited to:

  • Guest speaker presentations on their work in global health, from across UCSF and beyond;
  • Novel methods seminars to expose students to an array of research methods in which they might want to gain further training;
  • Writing workshops focused on scientific writing, peer review and publication procedures, and grant writing to help prepare students for successful careers in global health research; and
  • Student “works in progress” (WIP) presentations, in which faculty and students provide feedback to presenters on their research.

Doctoral seminar is led by the Program Directors and meets weekly in the fall, winter, and spring quarters in the first two years of the program, while students are completing their coursework and specifying their dissertation research.

Core Curriculum

As stated above, students take required coursework in research methods training and global health content, including:


In addition to the core curriculum, students tailor their coursework and choose electives that provide further depth of training in the methodology and content areas appropriate for their chosen field of study. Students may select electives from any department across UCSF, with the approval of their academic advisor and the program director. Students also may register for certain courses at other Bay Area universities through the University of California Intercampus Exchange Program and the San Francisco Consortium.

Electives offered by the following departments within UCSF may be of particular interest: