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Study Global Health at Northwestern University

Dévora Grynspan on Global Health at Northwestern
Dévora Grynspan on Global Health at Northwestern University


Global Health Studies is an interdisciplinary minor spanning many subject areas within the diverse and exciting field. We aim to provide students with a strong foundation from which to think critically about global health challenges and practices while exploring various core fields of global health such as infectious disease, bioethics, or mental health. Students receive elective credit from health-related courses within the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Business, Engineering, Communications, Economics, Gender Studies, History, International Studies, Journalism, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Policy, and Sociology.  The minor is not limited to pre-medicine students but rather can be used to complement many fields of study.

To further supplement classroom knowledge, we require all students to participate on a public health study abroad program to gain a more direct understanding of the systemic, policy, and experiential differences between the U.S. and other countries. This experience solidifies the career goals of many students in the global health field.


We are often asked how global health studies translates into career options. Many, many opportunities await you! Global Health studies students find themselves exploring five facets of the field: administration, community practice, policy, education, and research. While the minor provides a broad understanding of all of these focal areas, students often go on to pursue more specific graduate programs to narrow their career path in public health. For example, popular programs include Behavioral Science, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Policy, Maternal and Child Health, and Population & Family Health.

In addition, many pre-medicine students choose Global Health to complement their studies. This coursework prepares students to understand health as it affects the individual and as it affects a population at large. Like a bacterium or virus can make one person sick, social, economic, and environmental factors can impact the health of an entire community.  With this foundational knowledge, doctors-to-be can understand health from both a top down and bottom up academic approach.  Global Health studies also prepares students to work with diverse populations, provide international service, and understand the nuances of global medical work.

Our alums currently work in consulting firms, government agencies, research institutions, mental health facilities, and non-profits. Many have or are currently volunteering as health educators with the Peace Corps, conducting global health research via Fulbright and other prestigious fellowships, and are even initiating their own programs (such as GlobeMed) and health NGOs.


 As a prospective student, there are lots of important things to note about the minor and resources that you should explore.

1. Due to high demand for classes, you will likely not be able to take any core Global Health classes until your sophomore year. Do keep an eye out for elective courses!

2. Explore our website to learn more about our public health programs in China, Chile, Cuba, Europe, Israel, and South Africa. Make sure to keep in mind the term each program is offered and how that will fit into your academic schedule, especially if you’re a pre-medicine student.   

3. Start thinking about research opportunities in Global Health. IPD offers fellowships for summer projects.

4. Consider joining a student group with opportunities in Global Health, such as GlobeMed or Engineering World Health.

5. Attend a global health conference! There are many conferences around the country and the world with this theme. Consider requesting for financial assistance through our Special Events and Conferences application.  

6. Sign up for our Listserv and check out the Global Health Portal for a comprehensive Northwestern resource of all things Global Health!

7. Consider volunteering for a local organization with health-related opportunities.


To learn more about the Global Health Minor, please call our office at 847-467-6953 or email

William Leonard
Director / Global Health Minor Chair

Dept. of Anthropology

1810 Hinman Avenue
Evanston, IL 60208-1330

Phone: (847) 491-4839
Fax: (847) 467-1778

Dévora Grynspan
Director, International Program Development

1800 Sherman Avenue
Suite 4-700
Evanston, IL 60201

Phone: (847) 467-6953
Fax: (847) 491-5434

Greg Buchanan
Program Coordinator

Schedule Appointment with Greg Buchanan

1800 Sherman Ave.         
Suite 4-700                    
Evanston, IL 60201        

Phone: (847) 467-7834  
Fax: (847) 491-5434