International Health

In the 21st century, continued improvements in the health and development of the world’s societies will depend on our response to the challenges of poverty, disease, and inequity. Emerging and reemerging killers like HIV/AIDS, malaria, or multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, as well as the more subtle pandemics of gender-based violence, traffic accidents, and mental illness challenge international public health in profound ways.

The Master of Public Health with a concentration in International Health provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to work effectively in the practice of international health, both in overseas settings and in US-based international health organizations. Students have the flexibility to combine coursework in economics, financial management, policy analysis, and infectious and chronic disease with comparative studies addressing the social and cultural issues that impact health internationally. Outside of the classroom, students build professional skills through departmental research opportunities and international field practicums. Graduates are equipped to assume careers in relief, development, consulting, research, and government both domestically and abroad, or to pursue further study.


In addition to the program competencies that all MPH graduates master, upon completing the requirements for the MPH in International Health, graduates are able to:

  • demonstrate skills in program and budget management that can be used to design and implement health programs in low- and middle-income country settings
  • apply a multidisciplinary approach to analyze health systems and institutions involved in financing and providing preventative and curative health services at the multilateral, bilateral, national, and community levels in low- and middle-income countries
  • integrate information and apply models from epidemiologic, economic, behavioral, and cultural perspectives to promote social changes required to improve the health of populations

Emphasis Areas

Students who wish to delve deeper into a specific area of International Health can use concentration and School-wide electives to focus their studies in one of five emphasis areas. Your advisor can help you decide if an emphasis is right for you and suggest which courses to take within that emphasis. For full program details, visit the International Health Concentrator’s Guide. Prospective students should contact the International Health staff for additional information.

Health Program Management

The Health Program Management emphasis provides students with the tools they need to become effective leaders and managers in organizations working in international settings. The courses are aimed at developing relevant finance and program design, management, and evaluation skills as well as cultivating professional development in oral and written communication, negotiation, and managing diversity, all skills that are necessary to lead and manage international projects and programs successfully. Students completing this emphasis will be prepared for work in NGOs, universities, government agencies, foundations, and consulting firms in the US or abroad.

Infectious & Noncommunicable Diseases

The Infectious & Noncommunicable Diseases emphasis provides students with the tools they need to become familiar with the burden of diseases worldwide as well as strategies for their prevention and control. The courses are aimed at developing an understanding of the epidemiology of both chronic noncommunicable and infectious diseases with a focus on the ecological, sociocultural, political, and economic factors that influence their development and methods for control. Students completing this emphasis area will be prepared for roles in service delivery programs in resource-poor settings, global public health policy organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and academic departments that have an International Health focus.

Managing Disasters & Complex Humanitarian Emergencies

The Managing Disasters & Complex Humanitarian Emergencies emphasis provides students with the tools they need to care for populations affected by man-made and natural disasters. Students completing this emphasis will be prepared for roles in program planning, implementation, and management in disaster settings. They will learn skills for initial assessments and response, and meeting populations’ short- and long-term basic needs, including public health interventions essential in disasters settings.

Monitoring & Evaluation and Research Methods

In the past decade, the scale, scope, and complexity of international health research and evaluation has grown rapidly, creating growing demand for qualified individuals to design, conduct, analyze, and evaluate international health studies and programs. The Monitoring & Evaluation and Research Methods emphasis provides students with the tools they need to work on health research projects or monitoring and evaluating of health programs. The courses in this emphasis area are aimed at developing quantitative and qualitative data collection, management and analytical skills that students can take into the field and play important roles in conducting research and evaluation.

Sex, Sexuality, Gender & Health

The Sex, Sexuality, Gender & Health (SSGH) emphasis aims to provide students with an understanding of the ways in which sex, sexuality, and gender affect the health of all people, both through vulnerability and exposure to risk, and through access to quality health services. Students in this emphasis area will be prepared to work in programs focusing on environment and women’s health; sexual and reproductive health; maternal mortality; gender and vulnerability to HIV; gender and occupational health; and gender and disease prevention. This emphasis area provides students with the tools they need to become advocates, policy analysts, researchers, and program planners and managers.