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Enrollment open for new online global health master’s degree at ASU

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Arizona State University is launching a Master of Science in global health in fall 2021.

June 01, 2021

Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change has launched a new master’s degree to give students an international and interdisciplinary perspective on human health.

The Master of Science in global health, offered through ASU Online, provides graduate-level training for careers in government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private-sector companies and research teams.

The global health degree asks students to consider broad questions about complex health issues facing humans today. Cultural and evolutionary anthropology, epidemiology, policy, history and the environment are central to this interdisciplinary approach. These perspectives give students the tools to identify or gather quality data to analyze complex questions.

When we think of health, we often think of medicine (seeking treatment from nurses and doctors) or even public health (illnesses and infectious disease). The global health program is more holistic, looking at health through the lenses of human evolution, anthropology and social science.

A global health student explores questions like: How does ecology impact an individual’s health? Why do some communities experience different health issues than others? How does access to clean water impact mental health?

The global health degree is distinctive from traditional international public health programs. It includes an emphasis on evolutionary theory to understand human biology and illness, a recognition of health as a means to promote broader social and economic justice, and an understanding of how embedded health is in cultural practices.

Students can expect to take core classes in evolutionary medicine and global health policy before expanding into more specialized topics such as maternal and child health, medical anthropology, global nutrition and reproductive ecology. The degree also includes an internship experience supervised by faculty and global health professionals.

“Training learners with the tools to understand why biology, behavior and practices have evolved, and where and how interventions can be targeted is incredibly valuable,” said Roseanne Schuster, director for special initiatives in global health and international development at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, who co-led development of the new degree with Associate Professor Megan Jehn.

“This is important locally, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has once more shown us — following the Ebola epidemic and numerous natural disasters in the past decade — people across the world are connected,” Schuster said. “Behaviors in one place can affect those in another.”

The interdisciplinary faculty are experts in their fields, with experience in evolutionary medicine, Indigenous community health, health systems, health justice, international development and pandemic preparedness.

Faculty in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change launched ASU’s global health Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007, which was the first of its kind in the United States. The Master of Science builds on the success of that program, with a focus on theories and approaches to health disparities from the arts and sciences.

The career path for global health graduates is far-reaching. Students can tailor their program along the way to fit their ideal career. Those who earn the Master of Science may go on to positions such as data analyst, program manager, research associate or technical adviser.

“This is a degree for students who want to be on the ground, making a difference, improving health outcomes throughout the world,” said Christopher Stojanowski, director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. “At ASU, we assume fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities we serve, a principle embodied in our global health program.”

The program is accepting applications now for the fall 2021 semester. Learn more and apply

Or, explore how our faculty, students and alumni utilize their global health knowledge:

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