Venn diagram: coursework, mentorship, and research practiceThe PhD curriculum provides students with a deep knowledge of important global health issues, as well as a high level of skill in health research methodology and practice. Through two years of coursework, followed by two years of work conducting and writing dissertation research, students gain comprehensive skills, training and experience in global health research and practice.

Students attend core courses on the UCSF Mission Bay campus, and may take additional courses through other graduate programs at UCSF. 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.

Students work closely with the teaching faculty, academic and research advisors, and program leaders, and study alongside diverse classmates who represent a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, interests and countries of origin.


The program’s curriculum focuses on training in the methods critical to conducting and comprehending global health research, including epidemiology, biostatistics, qualitative research methods, implementation science, and demography. Students also receive training in global health content, including courses on the distribution, burden, and determinants of diseases and disorders of global importance, and the factors that shape global health.

Core to the PhD curriculum is the Global Health Proseminar, a series of courses designed specifically for the global health doctoral program. The proseminars provide in-depth coverage and exploration of topics that are cross-cutting to all work in the field, such as global development and inequity, health policy and systems, and global health research and ethics.

Throughout the two years of coursework, students attend Doctoral Seminar, which serves to further their professional development and provide opportunities to engage with influential global health faculty within UCSF and beyond. Advanced students return to doctoral seminars to present their works in progress to the new students, providing a sampling of the breadth and depth of student work in global health.

Beyond the Classroom

During their two years of coursework, students also complete two research rotations that provide extensive experiential training, as well as two teaching residencies that develop students’ skills under the tutelage of experienced faculty.