Recommended Programs for Global Health Studies Certificate

Students pursuing the Global Health Studies Certificate major in a variety of disciplines (international studies, anthropology, engineering, nursing, microbiology, etc.), but each is dedicated to the study of health in an interdisciplinary and international context.  As a Global Health student, you are encouraged to consider the social, economic, environmental, and political determinants of health, and study abroad will provide you with the unique opportunity to experience some of these determinants firsthand.

Global Health students find employment in international career sectors such as education, business, government, non-profit organizations, and more. Students who have studied abroad have a competitive edge when applying for these positions. Study abroad is also a valuable distinction when applying for health professional schools and other graduate programs.

Because experience abroad is integral to studying Global Health, an international experience is required for the Global Health Studies Certificate. Participating in a study abroad program related to Global Health is one way to fulfill this requirement, and a great way to experience another culture without having to navigate life in an international setting on your own. For a list of study abroad programs relevant to Global Health Studies, see Recommended Programs.

Various study abroad scholarships are available for U of I students. Information about these scholarships is available here. Additionally, Global Health Studies Certificate students may apply for a $1,000 Global Health Studies Travel Award. For more information about this award, refer to the International Programs funding website.

The summer after your sophomore or junior year is a great time to study abroad for the Global Health Studies Certificate. Semester–long programs are also highly recommended, in which case your junior year and the fall semester of your senior year are the ideal times to go. Of course, your major requirements will also dictate when you can study abroad. As you schedule your study abroad experience, be sure to refer to the Major Advising Page corresponding with your major and/or contact an academic advisor in your major department for additional information.

All Global Health Certificate students are required to write a report and give a presentation about their international experience before they graduate. Be sure to leave yourself time after study abroad to present your report at the U of I.

Also keep in mind that you must enroll in 152:150 Research Design in Global Health before you complete your international experience. The course will help you identify and develop a global health project that will satisfy the international experience requirement. The course is offered during the fall semester only. 

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the Global Health Studies Certificate requirements and with your major requirements as you plan your study abroad experience. A maximum of 3 semester hours of transfer credit earned abroad can be applied toward your Global Health Certificate elective requirements. The remaining 15 s.h. required for the Global Health Studies certificate must be completed at the University of Iowa (or in a University of Iowa study abroad program that awards resident credit).

All Global Health Certificate students are required to complete an approved international experience. The international experience must be at least eight weeks in duration and can be satisfied by a research project abroad, a global health-related internship, or a global health-themed study abroad program.

Detailed information about what constitutes an appropriate international experience, along with information about how to submit an International Experience Proposal is on the Global Health Studies website.

For more information about how to receive credit for courses, internships, and/or research completed abroad, consult with the Global Health Studies Program Academic Advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information about how to coordinate study abroad with your major requirements, refer to the Major Advising Page corresponding with your major.

Global Health Certificate students are highly encouraged to conduct a research project abroad as part of their required international experience. Global Health Studies research projects can involve a variety of research methods. Past projects have focused on sickle cell anemia in Uganda, traditional and modern medicine in Madagascar, community health benefits in Ecuador, and more. All students completing research projects abroad work closely with their Global Health Studies faculty mentor. For more advice about developing a project, where to complete it, and how to make international contacts, consult the Director of the Global Health Studies Program, Dr. Christopher Squier.

Global Health Certificate students interested in conducting scholarly research abroad are encouraged to apply for a Stanley Award to fund their project. Stanley Awards can be used to fund both independent research as well as projects completed in conjunction with a study abroad program. All Global Health students will be advised about the application process for the Stanley Award in 152:150 Research Design in Global Health (offered in the fall semester only).

Because it can be difficult to navigate life in an international setting, it is recommended that you travel abroad via a UI-sponsored or other accredited program that will provide you with basic infrastructural support (e.g. housing, access to public transportation, embassy contact, etc.). Many study abroad programs incorporate research and internship components. It’s also possible to use your time in a program to establish contacts and familiarize yourself with the culture of the area, then return to complete an internship or research project. 

While the Global Health Certificate generally requires that your international experience be at least eight weeks long, you are encouraged to participate in semester and yearlong programs if your schedule allows it.

If you are fulfilling your international experience by completing an internship or research project abroad, it is highly recommended that you also participate in a study abroad program that will provide you with the resources necessary to navigate an unfamiliar country and culture.

While we suggest that you look at the recommended programs below, feel free to browse the programs database on our website and/or consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room (located in the Study Abroad Office, 1111 University Capitol Centre).

The courses offered in the following programs can be petitioned for possible approval as Global Health Studies Certificate electives. While the programs do not fulfill the International Experience requirement because they are less than eight weeks long, they are recommended as opportunities to begin exploration of Global Health Studies in an international setting. These programs are also excellent opportunities to establish contacts and become familiar with the culture of an area where you’re interested in conducting research or completing an internship. 

International Development: India

Various cities, India


The India Winterim is an intensive, three-week field-based program that provides students with the opportunity to learn from and directly interact with leading social entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions within India’s diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and geographical mosaic. Each course is based in or near one of several cities throughout India. This program is designed for undergraduate students, graduate students, and community members with related interests and experience.

Child Life Experiential Learning Program (UI Faculty-Led Travel)

Cape Town, South Africa


This program is a three-week faculty-led course based in Cape Town, South Africa. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Red Cross Children's Hospital, Maitland Cottage Home, and the Sarah Fox Convalescent Hospital. Students interested in health and child life are welcome to participate, regardless of major or skill level.

Study Abroad Experience in Great Britain  (UI Faculty-Led Travel)

Every other spring break

The University of Iowa, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-La Crossee, offers a study experience in Great Britain every two years during Spring Break. It carries 2 s.h. of undergraduate or graduate credit. CEUs are also available through La Crosse.

The overall purpose of this popular study tour to Great Britain is to foster health-related linkages and partnerships between the United States and the UK. The tour provides an overview of the health care system offered through the National Health Service (NHS) and other providers in Great Britain and a comparison with the systems of health care delivery in the United States. It also provides an overview of health education and health promotion strategies in Great Britain and connects participants with key cultural aspects of Great Britain that have health-related impacts.

The program is led by Dr. Christopher Squier of the University of Iowa and by Dr. Gary D. Gilmore of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

International Perspectives: Xicotepec (UI Faculty-Led Travel)

Spring break

This is a three credit hour, interdisciplinary, service-learning course co-sponsored by the University of Iowa and District 6000 of Rotary International.  Students enroll in International Perspectives spring semester and travel to Mexico over spring break. In collaboration with Rotarians and local community members, students will work in teams to develop and execute discipline-specific projects that address community-identified needs.