The global health major is offered only as part of a co-major program of study. Students must complete the global health major requirements along with the requirements of any other undergraduate major at Duke.
Students interested in pursuing global health education are encouraged to attend a group advising session or brief walk-in hours to learn more about how the global health major or minor would work for them.
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Becoming a Global Health Major
How to Declare
Sophomores can declare a major by completing the Long Range Plan and submitting it to the Academic Advising Center. You can declare your major any time during your sophomore year, but no later than the Friday of Spring Break.
- Upon declaring the Global Health major, all students will receive a welcome email from the Global Health Central team and an entrance questionnaire to complete. Students are then required to meet with the Global Health Central team to discuss their long-range plan and academic schedule to graduation.
Choosing a Focused Study Theme
Students no longer have to declare a focused study theme with specific courses approved in advance. Instead, just choose three electives from a preapproved list. That's all! There's no form to submit.
Planning in advance is important to the success of any study abroad experience. Global Health and Global Education Office (GEO) staff are available to advise students in planning their coursework and study abroad experience. Interested students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an advising session, so that they can learn how to make their global health and study abroad experience a success.
Courses taken during study abroad must receive approval through GEO in advance of starting the program. The Course Approval Database offers a list of courses approved for global health transfer. Courses not already approved on the database must receive pre-approval. Students pursuing transfer credit should be prepared to provide the course syllabus.
Please note that global health majors may not use transfer credit to fulfill the three Core course requirements (Fundamentals, Ethics, and Research Methods). However, Core courses taken through the Duke in Sri Lanka or Duke Kunshan University programs, will satisfy major requirements.
Students may use up to three transfer credits toward their global health major and up to two elective transfer credits toward their global health minor. Additional courses completed in study abroad will count toward a student’s overall credit requirement and, possibly, requirements in their non-global health major or other minors or certificate programs.
Check with university transfer credit policy in advance of pursuing credit for courses not taken at Duke University.
Independent Study and Research
Independent study enables a student to pursue a research or other academic topic of interest under the supervision of a faculty member for course credit. Independent studies fall under two categories: independent study (non-research) and research independent study.
Up to one research independent study may count towards global health major and minor course requirements. A non-research independent study will not count toward global health requirements. All global health research independent study applications must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. In order to enroll in a research independent study, students must have completed their core course requirements
- Identify an area of interest and faculty advisor
- Review policies, procedures and approval forms for both independent studies
- Complete the global health independent study application form by 12pm on the last day of drop/add
- Receive notice on DUS approval via email, along with course and permission numbers
- Enroll in either GLHLTH 391 (study) or GLHLTH 393 (research) for the semester of your project
- See here for a sample application.
Please note that Trinity College policy states that students may not receive academic credit for work (e.g., in a lab, an internship, etc.) for which they receive monetary compensation.
Independent Study Grants
The Undergraduate Research Support (URS) office offers grants to help defray research expenses of up to $400 for Trinity and Pratt students enrolled in faculty-supervised independent study courses or the equivalent, such as thesis and research capstone courses. Grant funds may purchase approved supplies and equipment (which become the property of the University) for the research project.
Graduation with Distinction
Students majoring in global health may pursue the following tracks leading to graduation with distinction:
- Graduation with distinction in global health
- Graduation with distinction in global health and the non-global health major through a double honors thesis
- Graduation with distinction in the non-global health major
Students interested in graduating with distinction in global health are encouraged to pursue a double honors thesis, as this will give you an opportunity to integrate what you have learned in your two majors. Students earning double honors will have both distinctions indicated on their transcript and their names will appear in both programs’ entries on the Commencement program.
- Identify a research question and faculty advisor
- Review policies, procedures and approval forms
- Review Global Health FAQ
- Complete the global health graduation with distinction form by the last day of drop/add the fall semester of senior year
- Submit signed and completed form to email@example.com
- Receive notice on DUS approval via email, along with more detailed timeline and writing resources from the GH Education Team.
Meet the Team
Dennis Clements, MD, PhD
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Global Health
Inquiries from faculty regarding curriculum or student matters and oversight of undergraduate global health curriculum.
Laura Bey, M.S.
Assistant Director, Curricular and Student Affairs
Inquiries on exceptions to policies and curriculum requirements.
Lysa MacKeen, MPH
Assistant Director, Experiential Learning
Inquiries on experiential learning requirements, planning, and re-entry, as well Bass Connections in Global Health questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I learn more about the global health major?
Begin by searching for information sessions and other Global Health events through the DGHI Calendar.
Sign up for the Undergraduate Newsletter to stay connected.
Attend a group advising session or drop-in hours to get your quick questions answered.
Are students allowed to double count classes?
Yes. Check with your non-global health major to see if there are limitations on the number of courses that can be double-counted for that major. Students may not double count Global Health courses within the Global Health major.
Will students be able to pursue study abroad with the Global Health Major?
Yes. A number of study abroad programs are eligible for transfer credit in global health. Up to three courses may be transferred, typically as elective credit, from study abroad to the major. Visit the Duke Global Education course approval database for a list complete of courses and programs that offer approved transfer credit in global health.
What courses can I count toward my focused study?
Students no longer have to declare a focused study theme with specific courses approved in advance. Instead, just choose three electives from a preapproved list. That's all! No form to submit.
What research opportunities are available?
Duke Global Health Institute faculty, students, and partners are involved in over 215 research projects around the world. Majors can work with faculty on existing projects, or create an independent project. One example of student and faculty collaboration in research is the Student Research Training program.
Is it possible to meet pre-health requirements while completing a Global Health major as well as a co-major?
Yes. With early and consistent academic advising, students have successfully navigated these degree options. This comprehensive track provides strong preparation for a career in medicine while pursuing a passion in Global Health. Students interested in medicine or health professions should be sure to connect with the Duke Prehealth Advising Office and meet with a Global Health advisor: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org