Doctoral Certificate

The Global Health Doctoral Certificate provides an opportunity for doctoral students from across Duke to engage in the field of global health through a combination of coursework, a research-related field experience, and engagement with peers and faculty. The certificate requires completion of three courses, a doctoral seminar, and a field research experience.

india12.jpgThe certificate is available to all students currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Duke with an interest in global health and are eager to expand their knowledge of the field. Students with more advanced knowledge of global health may also consider the Global Health Doctoral Scholars program.

Apply early in your doctoral studies to allow for completion of courses and the field research requirement.

RequirementsHow to ApplyField Research

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Kathleen Sikkema
Director of DGHI Doctoral Studies

Sarah Martin
Assistant Director, DGHI Graduate Programs


Applications are accepted throughout the year.



The Global Health Doctoral Certificate requires completion of three courses, a doctoral seminar, and a field research experience. Additional ethics training is incorporated into coursework and fieldwork preparation.


Introductory course: GLHLTH 701, Global Health Challenges (taught each fall)

Select one research methods course.  Examples include:

  • GLHLTH 530S: Demographic Measures and Concepts
  • GLHTLH 531: Economic Analysis for Environment and Public Health
  • GLHLTH 705: Global Health Research: Quantitative Methods I
  • GLHLTH 706: Global Health Research: Quantitative Methods II
  • GLHLTH 751: Implementation Research and Health
  • A research methods course offered in a student's home department, or another department at Duke, if approved by the DGHI Director of Doctoral Studies. Approved courses must show significant emphasis on global health application and course content.

Elective course: Students are required to take one advanced elective global health course (500+ level accepted, 700+ preferred), approved by the DGHI Director of Doctoral Studies or the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs.

Seminar: GLHLTH 870S, A variable-credit advanced seminar for doctoral students only (a mix of journal club, presentations of student research and expert lectures).

Additional Course Information


How to Apply

To express interest and begin the application process for the Global Health Doctoral Certificate, please schedule a meeting with the DGHI Assistant Director for Graduate Programs.  In this meeting, we will discuss course requirements, your academic motivations for joining the certificate program, and possibilities for your field-based research experience.  At this meeting, you can also complete the Graduate School certificate application, which must be signed by DGHI. 

Applications are accepted throughout the academic year, and students must apply at least one calendar year prior to their anticipated graduation date. We strongly recommend that you express interest and begin taking courses early in your graduate program, to allow sufficient time for meeting all program requirements.


Field Research

The goal of the experiential learning requirement is to give students an in-depth understanding of the multiple contexts of health in underserved populations and allow them to apply interdisciplinary knowledge and methodology. The field research experience must include at least 4 weeks or 160 hours to fulfill the Global Health Doctoral Certificate requirement, and it can be completed at any point during an academic year or summer. A longer field research experience is strongly encouraged, if it can be managed within your doctoral program.

Students are encouraged to pursue fieldwork in their discipline of interest under guidance from their departmental faculty mentor, but advising and support is available through DGHI if departmental guidance is not available.  It is recommended that the field research experience be conducted in an international setting, although domestic experiences that address health disparities will also be considered. 

Field research must be approved by the DGHI Director of Doctoral Studies prior to beginning the project.

Field research examples:

Certificate students participating in fieldwork will join the over 50 global health students at Duke conducting field research each year, and when possible, they will be encouraged to work with other students in teams with shared interests in a research topic or region.

Ethical Training Prior to Field Research

A field research preparatory workshop and attendance at a minimum of two individual or small group discussions with DGHI faculty are required before field research commences.

Field Research Approval and Funding

DGHI offers a limited number of competitive fieldwork grants per year, of up to $5,000 each, to support field research for Global Health Doctoral Certificate students.  You must be enrolled in the certificate at the time of application, have the permission of your home department mentor for the fieldwork period.

The application for fieldwork approval and funding are made through a Qualtrics form, using the button below. Additional materials, described below, are submitted by email to after completion of the online form.

For general certificate fieldwork approval:

  • A cover sheet listing your name, home department, citizenship, and Duke matriculation/anticipated graduation dates
  • Approximate start and end dates for your fieldwork experience
  • Information about your fieldwork location, including city and country and in-country host institution/organization
  • A description of planned fieldwork activities, including your specific role and any deliverables for which you will be responsible (no more than 500 words)
  • A brief statement on the connection of your project to the field of global health (no more than 200 words)

To apply for a DGHI doctoral certificate fieldwork grant (up to $5000), please include additional materials with your emailed proposal:

  • A project budget (including international and local transportation, housing/food, materials/supplies, vaccinations, etc.)
  • A list of other funding sources you have received or are pursuing for this project
  • The name and email address of the business manager for your doctoral program/department

Applications for the DGHI Doctoral Certificate Fieldwork Grant will have three general deadlines per year:

  • November 15 (for fieldwork occurring January through April)
  • March 15 (for fieldwork occurring May through August)
  • July 15 (for fieldwork occurring September through December)

General fieldwork approval, without a request for funding, can be granted throughout the academic year.

APPLY for Field Research Approval and Funding