Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search

Program Overview

Learn together. Work together.

Recipient of the 2015 Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Panorama Award for Outstanding International Education, and recognized as a 'standout program' in Toronto Star Magazine, the MSc Global Health prepares graduates for careers in a globalized world. The program—a joint offering with Maastricht University in The Netherlands—brings together faculties of social sciences, health sciences, business and humanities, and links with institutions across multiple continents.

Together with our growing network of global partners, we are working in support of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Learn more about our network of partners.

The Global Health program is committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. Annually, the program attracts students from around the world who bring a diverse range of cultural perspectives. In the 2020-2021 academic year, students represented over 25 different countries and cultures. For more information about the program and the university’s commitment to supporting diversity and inclusion, please refer to McMaster’s EDI Strategy. To further support and ensure equitable admissions, we outline a facilitated admissions process for First Nations, Inuit and Métis applicants that can be found here.

View the MSc Global Health program brochure.

A Global Skillset

Over 12 months, students gain the skills and experience required for leadership careers within key international health organizations, government and non-government agencies, and the private sector.

  • Self-management in a virtual work culture — A global skill set demands an entrepreneurial mindset. Online learning reflects the challenges of today’s virtual work environments, where accountability and self-motivation are paramount.
  • Cross-cultural intuition in diverse group settings — You will develop strategies to ‘read’ diverse group situations and overcome communication and cultural barriers—interpersonal skills that can only be acquired through practical experience.
  • ​Incisive decision-making in complex working environments — The program culminates in a simulated international symposium in India and, for those pursuing the course-based stream, work-integrated learning through practicums in global health workplaces in Canada and around the world.
  • Analysis and evaluation of policies — Assessing public policies, you will learn how to structure policy briefs, short commentaries and longer papers—essential written communication skills for global projects and complex negotiations.


Transcontinental Teams

The program follows the 'McMaster Model'—student-centred, problem-based learning (PBL)—which has been adopted by universities around the world. What makes it unique is its transcontinental approach. The program combines in-person classroom experiences with online collaboration in virtual teams, and mobility to The Netherlands, Colombia and Norway in the winter term for eligible students. The program offers educational opportunities in different languages, specifically within the Foundations 1 and Foundations 2 courses where groups may operate in French or Spanish, depending on enrolment.

Using Canvas, MS Teams, Zoom, Google+ Hangouts and Avenue to Learn among other online learning tools, lectures are delivered to students in the classroom at McMaster while broadcasting it to students in The Netherlands, Norway, India, Thailand, Colombia, and Sudan. This immersive learning environment fosters internationalization at home or abroad and builds career skills for a globalized world.


You will have the opportunity to specialize in one of the program's seven Fields of Study offered at McMaster or via an outbound mobility option:

From international flows of capital, to the role of corporations, to global social movements, this field examines how the ebb and flow of globalizing processes affect politics and policies, economic development, trade, health, health care, and education around the globe. You will investigate and learn about the socio-economic and political moorings that inform and shape global health. You will acquire career-relevant skills relating to policy analysis and formulation in a global context. 

You will learn about the business of global health, developing essential knowledge related to health, health care, economic development and education viewed through the disciplinary lenses of the business of health systems. You will acquire career-relevant skills ranging from healthcare marketing to strategic and financial decision-making at a macro level. 

You will study critical challenges within global health from a health sciences perspective. Learning from a network of leading professionals, you will examine the threat to public health from existing, new, and re-emerging diseases that spread through immigration, travel, and global trade. 

Global Health Symposium/Field Orientation

The culmination of the program is the Global Health Symposium/Field Orientation in India (conditions permitting), where students from partner universities present their research, receiving critical feedback from health policy-makers, activists, and expert researchers in the global health field. At the symposium, students:

  • Experience international work environments — This symposium mirrors the complex international work situations you will face in the real world.
  • Network and gather feedback — You will join over 250 students and faculty members from McMaster, Maastricht, Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and from other global consortium institutions for a two week course in Manipal, India, conditions permitting. You will work collaboratively with peers to create a system map of a particular health topic, present an abstract of your research, gather feedback on your research from experts as well as the peers who will become your future professional colleagues. As a part of the larger research projects ongoing at Manipal University, you will work collaboratively in groups to observe in various health care facilities, government agencies, or other stakeholder settings.
  • Apply cross-cultural intuition — The ability to observe and adapt to different cultural contexts is essential for success in the global workforce. You will learn to draw on this insight to operate effectively in a diverse group setting.

Following the symposium, course-based students branch off to complete global health work-integrated learning practicums while thesis students continue their thesis research and begin preparing for defense.

Work-Integrated Learning

During the summer term, course-based students will complete a global health work-integrated learning practicum that is approved both by your advisor and the program. The practicum requires you to work in an approved public or private organization related to your identified area.
Work-integrated learning facilitates the development of an understanding of the many facets of real-life implementation of global health and fosters development of innovative ideas, which you can expand upon in your scholarly paper. The work-integrated learning practicum and the scholarly paper are separate but can be complementary degree requirements for course-based students. Students gain valuable experience within organizations that put into practice the theory, concepts, and methods taught in the Master's program, with activities targeted to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals
Note: Students participating in work-integrated opportunities outside of Canada will complete a Risk Management Form (available on our internal platform). Students participating in a field placement/internship within Canada will complete a letter of declaration to let the placement know they have coverage via WSIB or Chubb Insurance (formally ACE).

Global Health Advisory Board

The Global Health Advisory Board—with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands as Honorary Chair, provides ongoing stewardship to the program. Made up of leaders from the business world, international NGOs and healthcare consultancies as far-spread as Japan, Africa and Switzerland, the board oversees the partnership between McMaster and Maastricht and provides the program’s strategic direction.

Meet the Board members


Partner Universities

The MSc Global Health program is delivered through a network of partner universities. These partner universities provide a broad field of expertise, and the opportunity to interact with expert researchers who are active in globalization and international health. Partner institutions include:

Learn more about the network of partners.


The program is 12 months, held over three terms: Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer. Courses run through the Fall and Winter Terms; the Winter Term culminates with a two-week international Learning Symposium / Field Orientation in Manipal, India, conditions permitting. During the subsequent Spring/Summer Term, course-based students complete a global health work-integrated learning practicum and scholarly paper while thesis students work on their dissertation. Thesis students will often extend into the following Fall and Winter Terms.

This document provides helpful tools and information that will assist you in determining your cost of living in Hamilton while attending a graduate program at McMaster University. Please note that although the document includes the common items that you will need to pay for, the list is not all inclusive and the amounts are estimates and actual costs may vary.
We will include financial support, if available, within the letter of offer. Limited financial support is available for full-time students on a competitive basis. We cannot provide financial support to students who are employed on a full-time basis, as these students are deemed ineligible for scholarship support. We encourage applicants to apply for external scholarship funding.

No. Given the intensity of a 12-month MSc program, students must be prepared to make a full-time commitment.

No. Faculty who are either members or associate members of the Faculty of Health Sciences will guide students to ensure the field concentration is within their scope.
Yes. Course-based students who have maintained a B+ average in their first term may have the opportunity to complete their second term at Maastricht University in The Netherlands, the University of Southeastern Norway, or the Universidad del Rosario in Colombia. We will provide details about this arrangement during the first term.
Alternatives will be found for students for whom travel to India might cause undue hardship.
Globalization affects everyone, so preparing students for a career that addresses a range of interrelated issues is beneficial for individuals wishing to work in all parts of the world. Additionally, there is a critical relationship among health, healthcare, education, economic development, business leadership and management that can have global impact, even if experienced at a local level.
Graduates will be able to continue in further education, work for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities and/or various levels of government. With the prevalence of globalization, our growing international collaboration, and the extensive integrated scope of the program, graduates have many career options.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, all classes are taught online in synchronous and asynchronous modes.