George Mason University
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George Mason University

Consortium of Universities for Global Health Analysis of MS and MA Degrees in Global Health

March 30, 2020

An article in the April 2020 issue of Pedagogy in Health Promotion examines the curricula and capstone experiences in use by all 14 of the universities in the United States and Canada offering a Master of Science or a Master of Arts degree in global health during the 2019–2020 academic year.  The study was led by Dr. Kathryn H. Jacobsen of George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services as part of her role as co-chair of the Subcommittee on Master’s and Undergraduate Degrees in Global Health of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH).  Xiaojie Li, MS ’19, co-authored the paper along with co-chair Dr. Caryl E. Waggett of Allegheny College and faculty from other CUGH-member universities.  George Mason University’s M.S. in Global Health was one of the degree programs included in the study.

The authors found that that the existing programs follow a similar core curriculum that includes (1) foundational courses that use globalization and multidisciplinary lenses to examine the global burden of disease, social and environmental determinants of health, and health systems and policies, (2) coursework on quantitative and qualitative research methods, epidemiology, and biostatistics, and (3) a capstone experience that requires students to write a thesis or other formal report.  Most programs do not require international field experience, but many encourage experiential learning outside the classroom.  Based on their review of program websites, catalogs, and curricula, the authors conclude that “global health is maturing as an academic discipline that applies interdisciplinary research approaches and a globalization lens to examining health disparities.”

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