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, research-related field experience, and engagement with peers and faculty. The certificate requires completion of four courses and a field research experience.

india12.jpgThe certificate is available to all students currently pursing 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 field research preparation requirements and approval of research plans.

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 four courses 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: 

  • GLHLTH 530S: Demographic Measures and Concepts
  • GLHTLH 531: Applying Economic Analysis for Environmental and Public Health Project Evaluation
  • GLHLTH 705: Global Health Research: Introduction to Epidemiologic Methods
  • GLHLTH 706: Global Health Research: Epidemiologic 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

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).

Course Listing Possible Electives Class schedule

How to Apply

There's a two-step application process:

1. Complete the Graduate School certificate application and email it to DGHI's Assistant Director for Graduate Programs at

2. Complete and submit the online application for a Global Health Doctoral Certificate.

  • Provide short responses to four questions about your interest in and exposure to global health and how participation in the certificate will enhance your doctoral training and research plans
  • Indicate potential course choices and timing for fulfilling certificate requirements View required coursework.

Application Deadline

Students must apply at least one calendar year prior to their anticipated graduation date. We strongly recommend that one applies earlier to allow sufficient time for all program requirements. For information on graduation dates, view the University's academic calendar.

We recommend applying sooner to allow for completion of fieldwork preparation requirements and approval of fieldwork plans.

Apply Now


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.

Students are encouraged to pursue fieldwork in their discipline of interest under guidance from their departmental faculty mentor. 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:

  • An independent research project under the guidance of a Duke faculty mentor
  • A research project with the student working as a research assistant to a Duke faculty member or research team in the field
  • A short-term placement within a DGHI partner site or collaborator with specific goals and tasks
  • A summer internship related to global health, for example through the Global Health Fellows Program, a track within the Duke Program on Global Policy and Governance
  • Participation in an approved experiential program or short course focused on a global health topic and aimed at a distinctly doctoral/post-doctoral audience

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 Funding

DGHI offers 8-10 competitive grants per year, of up to $5,000 each, to support field research for Doctoral Certificate students.

APPLY for Field Research Approval and Funding