Experiential Learning

Leverage your classroom learning and apply your skills to make a difference in the world.


Gain hands-on experience and a greater understanding of the causes and solutions to health challenges. Experience and understand the difficulties and opportunities in implementing health interventions. Engage with communities and colleagues to expand your perspective and contribute to improving global health equity.

For Global Health Majors

Students pursuing experiential learning for the major must be sure it fulfills certain requirements.
View Requirements

Student Fieldwork Manual

Download Manual


Students in Peru



Lysa MacKeen
Assistant Director for Experiential Learning


Experiential Learning for the Global Health Major

General Requirements:

  • Time Commitment: complete an eight-week fulltime or 320-hour activity prior to the spring semester of senior year
  • Location: international or domestic experiences qualify
  • Pre-requisite: complete the global health ethics course requirement before starting the experiential learning activity
  • Approval: receive approval before beginning experience; retroactive approval will not be permitted for experiences. The final deadline for preapproval is April 1st.
  • Pre-activity: attend one pre-experience workshop (April 10, 2019 in Trent 124 or April 11, 2019 in Trent 142; both from 4:30pm to 7:30pm)
  • Post-activity: attend re-entry retreat and complete post-experience ELA report

Eligible Activities

Your proposed activity must address and/or engage a global health question, context, or challenge.  For purposes of the experiential learning requirement, global health is defined as:

An area of study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaborations; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care. (Koplan 2009)

Projects that do not address an element of global health are not eligible to meet the global health major experiential learning requirement. For example, projects focusing on education, social justice, or the environment with no investigation of health are unlikely to receive approval.  Please review the list below for a sample of past approved projects and current opportunities.

Students with extenuating circumstances may petition for approval to meet this requirement through a combination of two experiences. Please contact the Education Team (gh-education@duke.edu) to initiate the petition process.

Forms for Participants:

  • Students may preview the form prior to submitting here.

Experiential Learning Pre-Approval Form

Questions about experiential learning for the global health major? Contact your global health advisor here.


Funding for Fieldwork

The Duke Global Health Institute will offer individual grants of up to $5000 to support undergraduate independent global health fieldwork projects. Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in learning more about the challenges of global health disparity.

DGHI Workshop and Presentation Requirements

DGHI fieldwork grant recipients are required to attend one pre-departure training workshop (April 10, 2019 in Trent 124 or April 11, 2019 in Trent 142; both from 4:30pm to 7:30pm) and attend the fieldwork re-entry workshop in fall. Students who are studying abroad may defer the reentry workshop until spring. The pre-departure training workshops focus on cross cultural preparation, communication tools and ethics, and health and safety planning.  The re-entry retreat assesses the field experience, and prepares the student to present their work at a Global Health Showcase in the fall.  

DGHI Grant Submission Guidelines

Fieldwork grant applications should include the following items and are due no later than 5pm, March 4, 2019.  You are only required to submit one application to be considered for all three grants listed below unless additional supplemental materials are listed within the individual grant information.

Priority is given to sophomore and junior students enrolled in a DGHI education program or working with a DGHI faculty member. You are only required to submit one application to be considered for the DGHI grants process.  Please note that students wishing to be considered for the Aalok Modi grant listed below must complete the Modi supplemental questions within the general application process.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the Project Proposal/Grant application (select "Apply for Funding" below).
    • Students may preview the application prior to submitting here.
  2. Resume (submit to gh-education@duke.edu with the words “fieldwork grant application – resume” in the subject line)
  3. Letter of recommendation from the Duke faculty project mentor (must be sent directly to gh-education@duke.edu by the letter writer)
  4. If applicable, Community Collaborator Statement of Commitment (can be mailed, emailed, or faxed.  In some cases, the appropriate community liaison may be a Duke Faculty or staff member, in which case only the letter of recommendation for Item 3 above is required)

The Aalok S. Modi Global Health Fieldwork Fund

Aalok S. Modi’s dream of a career in medicine and global health was left unfulfilled with his sudden death in February 2008. Together with his family and friends, the Duke Global Health Institute created a scholarship in his name to empower other Duke students to engage in global health research that embodies Modi’s commitment to serve humanity. This grant, which is awarded to an undergraduate student for independent global health fieldwork, honors the legacy of Modi’s strong commitment to global health.  Modi, who was studying to become a doctor, led the Duke Global Health Student Action Committee, in which he diligently advocated for greater student involvement in the field. Applicants should complete the primary grant application and include the final question specifically referencing the Modi grant.

Amount: Up to $5,000
Application deadline: March 4

The Paul Farmer Grant

This grant is awarded to an undergraduate student(s) for independent global health fieldwork projects. It is provided by the Paul Farmer Global Health Fund, which honors the Duke alum, global health pioneer and DGHI board member.  Applicants should have a demonstrated interest in issues of global health disparity. All projects must include a Duke faculty mentor as well as a community based partner in their research location.

Amount: Up to $5,000
Application deadline: March 4

Apply for Funding



Project Opportunities

Countrysort descending Project Title Project Type Status Pre-Approved
Help Desk: A Student Initiative to Help Address the Social Determinants of Health (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
China The Global Impacts of E-waste Exposure and E-waste Recycling Policy on Maternal and Fetal Health (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
Honduras Saving Sight /Roatán Student Research Training Program Open
Honduras mHealth for Better Routine Immunization Data in Honduras Bass Connections Filled
India Physical and Mental Health Support and Outcomes for Children in Residential Care Programs Student Research Training Program Open
Kenya Cervical Cancer Awareness, Screening, and Prevention in Western Kenya Student Research Training Program Open
Madagascar Social-ecological Networks and Zoonotic Disease in Rural Madagascar (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
Malaysia Refining Surveillance for Zoonotic Respiratory Viruses in Sarawak, Malaysia Bass Connections Filled
Nepal Developing a Mobile Phone-based Community Health Program for Hypertension Control in Nepal Bass Connections Filled
Peru Pocket Colposcope: Increased Distribution and Adoption (2017-2018) Bass Connections Filled
Peru Pocket Colposcope: Analysis of Bringing Elements of Referral Services to Primary/Community Care Bass Connections Filled
Peru Pocket Colposcope: Increased Distribution and Adoption (2019-2020) Bass Connections Open
Philippines Understanding Men’s Involvement in Family Planning Care in the Philippines (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
Rwanda DukeEngage Rwanda - Improving nutrition for hospitalized patients through a farm-to-bedside approach DukeEngage Filled
Thailand Improving health care by repairing medical equipment in Tanzania or Uganda DukeEngage Filled
Uganda Sustainable Laparoscopic Surgery for Low-Income Countries: FDA Approval and Business Model for Access (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
United States TROSA Model Student Research Training Program Open
United States Developing Data Tools for Natural Disasters: Implementing Best Practices for Electricity-dependent Medicaid Enrollees (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
United States Mapping Legacy Lead in Urban Soils to Help Improve Children's Health (2019-2020) Bass Connections Filled
United States Addressing Global Health Needs among Refugee Children and Families in Durham County Bass Connections Filled
United States Documenting Durham's Health History: Understanding the Roots of Health Disparities Bass Connections Filled
United States Friends of the Global Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria- Summer Internship Internship Open
United States Vaccine Misinformation and Its Link to Vaccine Hesitancy and Uptake in Durham Bass Connections Filled


Our Students are Making a Difference


All Student Profiles