The UI Global Health Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the complex factors influencing health and disease locally and around the world. The program encourages students to engage in experiential learning opportunities such as study abroad, internships, research, service learning, and capstone courses, all of which allow them to develop real-world skills related to major global health issues. These experiences help students define and achieve their post-graduation and career goals.
Global Health Studies graduates find employment in a range of global health-related sectors, such as non-profit organizations, immigrant and refugee health, community-based health education, governmental agencies, health policy, and advocacy. Global Health Studies alumni also go on to graduate/professional programs in public health, international development, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, law, urban and regional planning, sustainable agriculture, non-profit management, and public administration.
After reading through this MAP, make sure to check out our Steps to Studying Abroad page to learn about our Discover Study Abroad sessions and how to start planning your time abroad. Ideally, you should begin to plan your study abroad experience at least two semesters in advance of your departure date. Be in touch with a Study Abroad advisor and your Global Health Studies advisor early in the planning process.
In general, Global Health Studies majors are encouraged to study abroad any time after their first year at UI. That said, it’s important to ensure that you are on track to graduate on time when you return! Your academic advisor can help you see how study abroad can fit into your academic timeline by customizing a Sample Plan on MyUI. The summer after your first or second year is a great time to study abroad, especially if you are interested in fulfilling your World Languages requirement or other general education requirements abroad, or your GHS World Language & Culture requirement.
For students completing the Global Health Studies Certificate, the summer after your sophomore or junior year is an ideal time to complete the Global Health Project. If you choose a study abroad option for the project, semester programs are also recommended. The spring semester of your junior year and the fall semester of your senior year are good times to go abroad. During the semester immediately following the completion of the Global Health Project, certificate students must submit a report and give a presentation about their project, so be sure to leave yourself time after returning from abroad to complete these requirements.
Before you enroll in courses abroad, be sure to consult with an academic advisor in the Global Health Studies Program and a Study Abroad advisor to discuss which of your academic requirements can be taken abroad for credit.
Double majors should refer to the Major Advising Page (MAP) corresponding with their second major, as there are likely study abroad options relevant to both majors.
General Education Courses
Global Health Studies majors are encouraged to fulfill general education requirements abroad, especially those who are in their first or second year at the UI. The World Languages requirement, in particular, lends itself to study abroad. Most study abroad locations offer coursework that will count as part of your general education requirements. For more information, check out our General Education Program MAP.
Although study abroad is not required for the Global Health Studies B.A. or B.S., study abroad coursework can be used to satisfy requirements for both the B.A. and the B.S. in the Perspectives and Practices or World Language & Culture focus areas.
Consult the Global Health Studies academic advisor about pre-approval of credit toward the Global Health Studies major or certificate for courses, internships, and/or research completed abroad.
Study abroad is an excellent way to begin exploring firsthand a global health major topic, which can then become the basis for an honors thesis in Global Health Studies. For more information, consult with the Global Health Studies Honors advisor. If you are pursuing University Honors, it is possible to earn an Honors Commendation for 12 hours of Honors coursework taken abroad. For more information, please refer to the Honors at Iowa page page.
Global Health Studies minors may receive a maximum of 3 s.h. of minor credit abroad. You must receive approval from the Global Health Studies academic advisor. Consult the Minor in Global Health Studies webpage for more information.
Global Health Studies Certificate
The Global Health Studies Certificate requires a Global Health Project, which may be completed as part of a study abroad program. Participating in a study abroad program related to global health is an excellent way to fulfill this requirement as it allows you to experience another culture without having to navigate life in an international setting entirely on your own. Six to eight weeks is considered the optimal amount of time abroad to meet this requirement. Detailed information about the Global Health Project is on the GHS website.
A maximum of 3 s.h. of transfer credit earned abroad can be applied toward your Global Health Certificate elective requirements.
Consider participating in an internship for credit while abroad. This is a wonderful way to strengthen a résumé. Some semester-long study abroad programs offer a part-time internship and accompanying seminar as one of the courses a student completes, while other programs offer a full-time, credit-bearing internship that serves as the focus of the student’s time abroad. More information can be found on our internships page.
The Global Health Studies Program supports student involvement in experiential learning only if it is conducted through reputable organizations which uphold ethical and health standards for both students and local populations worldwide.
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 of biodigestor technology in Costa Rica, and more. All students completing research projects abroad work closely with their Global Health Studies faculty mentor. For advice about finding a faculty mentor and developing a project, consult the Global Health Studies academic advisor.
Global Health Studies students interested in conducting research abroad are encouraged to apply for a Stanley Award to fund their project. Stanley Awards can be used to fund both independent research and projects completed in conjunction with a study abroad program.
Some study abroad programs incorporate research and internship components. It is also possible to use your time in a program to establish contacts and familiarize yourself with the culture of the area and then return to complete an internship or research project a later date.
Funding your study abroad
Various scholarships are available for UI students planning to study abroad. Information about these scholarships is available on the scholarships webpage. Additional funding may be available from the Global Health Studies Program. More information can be found on the Global Health Studies Undergraduate Awards and Scholarships webpage. All students are strongly encouraged to consult with an academic advisor and a Study Abroad advisor about financing their study abroad experience.
You can start your search with the recommended programs below, but feel free to browse our program database for other possibilities. The specific programs recommended below may change, so check with your major advisor and Study Abroad for the latest updates.
All students who study abroad must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Each program listed has coursework taught in English unless otherwise stated. In addition, each program has specific eligibility requirements that may include GPA, prerequisites, and/or class standing. For more information about the program, click on the button below the program description.
Iowa Regents Semester in Australia: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year
The University of Tasmania offers numerous degrees within the health sciences and a range of resources including access to labs and clinics. Students learn from both researchers and practicing professionals and work with members of the public to apply their learning to real-life scenarios. Courses include Introduction to Epidemiology, Introduction to Public Health, Global Health Systems, Health Research Methods, and Introduction to Biostatistics.
TEAN Australia: University of New South Wales
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year
The School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is a leader in public health, community medicine, health management, and health systems. The newly created Bachelor of International Public Health provides students with an understanding of the key issues impacting the health of populations around the world. Courses include International Indigenous Health, Health Promotion, Public Health Policy and Programs, Global Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Women’s and Children’s Health, and Comparative Health Systems.
TEAN New Zealand: University of Otago
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Calendar Year
The University of Otago has several health majors including Community Healthcare, Māori Health, and Pacific and Global Health. Students learn culturally responsive and integrated health approaches to navigate the way forward in our changing healthcare system. The University of Otago takes an interactive learning approach to give students the opportunity to connect with people, service organizations in community healthcare settings, and global health leaders. Courses include Population Health, Human Health Across the Lifespan, Māori Society, Health Policy and Politics, Public and Global Health: Current Issues, and Pacific Health: New Zealand and the Pacific Region.
USAC Reggio Emilia
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer
This program supports various disciplines and majors, including health. Students take an Italian language course (Fall/Spring) and are able to select from a variety of courses. Courses include Comparative Global Health Issues and Systems, Nutrition Across the Lifespan, Aging: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Health and Wellness Communication, and Healthy Aging: A Global Perspective. Course offerings vary by semester.
IES London and Jamaica Health Practice and Policy
Through the IES London and Jamaica Health Practice and Policy program, students study global health from a variety of international perspectives. While in London, students take courses focusing on health care systems at both local universities and the IES center. An extended excursion to Kingston, Jamaica, is included and offers an opportunity to study and compare the British and Jamaican health care systems. Courses include Social Welfare Policy in the United Kingdom and Jamaica: A Service-Learning Perspective and Practicum; Comparative Health Care Systems and Policies in Britain, Europe, and the United States; Health Policy and Politics; Migrants, Inequality, and the Cultural Politics of Health; and Planetary Health and International Health Policy.
IES London: University College London
Fall, Spring, Academic Year
Through the IES London: University College London program, students enroll at University College London (UCL), which is among the top ten universities in the world. Students take classes with their local peers and benefit from of a variety of cultural excursions and specialized student support services only available to study abroad students. UCL’s highly ranked Global Health program offers a robust selection of courses, including Conflict, Humanitarianism, and Health; Global Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases; Global Health Policy; Global Maternal and Child Health; and Health, Poverty, and Development.
Regents Semester in Scotland
Fall, Spring, Academic Year
With the Regents Semester in Scotland program, students enroll at the University of Edinburgh, living and studying with their Scottish peers. Edinburgh’s prestigious global health curriculum allows UI students to enroll in courses to complete their major requirements and supplement their studies with courses to fulfill nearly any other UI degree requirement. Courses include Contemporary Issues in Health and Wellbeing, Ethical Values and Challenges in Care, Health Management and Management of Health, Mapping
SIT India Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices
This program introduces students to many of India’s healthcare systems. Students will gain a deep understanding of how India nurtures its vibrant, ancient traditional medicine systems while experiencing economic growth and modernization. It will examine many of the social, economic, cultural, and legal paradigms that provide a context for healthcare service delivery in India. Students learn concepts of life, health, disease, treatment, and care in Ayurveda, yoga, and Tibetan medicine. Courses include Traditional Indian Medicine: Theory and Context and Field Study of Traditional Indian Healthcare Practices.
SIT Jordan Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action
Students get a firsthand look at humanitarian emergency action in Jordan and Switzerland, two countries critical to the response to the current refugee crisis. This is a unique opportunity to view the policies and priorities of UN agencies, international relief organizations, and Jordan’s government. Key topics studied are the role of UN and international relief agencies in refugee assistance and humanitarian action and the principles and legal frameworks governing humanitarian action. Courses include Refugees and Displaced Populations in the Context of Jordan, Refugee Health and Humanitarian Action, Arabic, and either an Internship or an Independent Study Project (ISP).
IES Cape Town Health Studies
This program offers a wide range of health-related topics, including kinesiology, endemic diseases, and nutrition, as well as courses that focus on the business and social impacts of healthcare in Southern Africa. Opportunities are available to volunteer on rotation at a selection of organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, and health-related NGOs. Students take six semester hours. Courses include Developmental Kinesiology, Endemic Diseases and Their Socioeconomic Context, Nutrition and HIV, and Health and Community.
SIT South Africa Community Health and Social Policy
Students examine a range of health services across Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, and other areas to gain a deeper understanding of how traditional healers, the state, the media, nongovernmental organizations, and state-of-the-art hospitals address health challenges. Key topics studied are healthcare access, promotion and prevention in rural South Africa, use of media campaigns to influence health outcomes, and the inclusion of traditional healing in the health system. Courses include Approaches to Community Health in South Africa, Social Determinants of Health in South Africa, isiZulu, Research Methods and Ethics, and either an Internship or an Independent Study Project (ISP).
CIEE Buenos Aires Community Public Health Program
This eight-week program is for students studying Spanish and any aspect of healthcare. The first four weeks provide classroom-based theory and language instruction. The second four weeks are done in the field at one of three offsite placements where students complete a practicum. Students must have four semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent to participate. All students take the following courses: Advanced Spanish Conversation and Grammar, Pre-Professional Healthcare Issues, and Community Health Practicum.
SIT Argentina Public Health in Urban Environments
Students examine urban epidemiology and the challenges and inequities in public health policy in Buenos Aires during this program. Key topics of the program are the political process of defining a public health agenda, social determinants of health, and intercultural barriers to quality care. All coursework is conducted in Spanish, so students must have taken three semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent. Courses include Epidemiology and Social Determinants of Health; Health Systems, Policies, and Programs; Public Health Research Methods and Ethics; Spanish for the Health Sciences; and either an Internship or Independent Study Project (ISP).
IES Santiago Health Studies
This program is designed for students who are in health-related majors and are studying the Spanish language. Students take a health studies seminar and are required to complete 80 hours of an observationship in a clinical, hospital, or community setting. Courses include Health Studies Program Seminar; Spanish for Health Care Practitioners; Human Rights in Latin America; The Radical Tradition of Chile, Argentina, and Peru; and Social and Political Role of the Arts in Chile and Latin America.
CIEE Santiago Community Public Health
This intensive eight-week program includes six weeks of language and healthcare courses. Students participate in a semi-urban community service practicum in an underserved area in Santiago while classes are in session. During this time, students will learn about public health with a focus on the health/illness process and its relation to health management, policies, and coverage. The program includes a ten-day clinical field rotation and a five-day urban stay. Students must have four semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent to participate. All students take the following courses: Advanced Spanish Conversation and Grammar, Pre-Professional Healthcare Issues, and Community Health Practicum.
USAC San Ramón
Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer
This program focuses on life and health sciences and cultural studies. Students can study Spanish, biology, and health and complete an internship or conduct research. Courses are augmented with several field studies, tours, and field trips. USAC students take their classes at the Sede de Occidente, the oldest satellite campus of the University of Costa Rica. USAC students enjoy the same privileges as local students and are encouraged to join student clubs, organizations, and activities. Courses include Cell Biology (with a lab), Global Health, Independent Research, and Women’s Health: Global Health and Human Rights.