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Program Requirements

MSc Degree Options

Selecting a Thesis or Course-Based Program Plan
All incoming students enter into a general program plan and then choose between the thesis or course-based program plan in September. Below is more information to help you decide between a thesis or course-based plan. This choice has no bearing on whether or not you will be admitted into the program.

Thesis Program Plan

A thesis offers the opportunity to undertake a major piece of investigation on a topic of your choosing. It is a useful learning experience for students who plan to pursue research careers, and may help them along this path. Students are required to:
  • Explore a topic in considerable depth
  • Plan and carry out a project
  • Write up the findings
  • Present the findings to the program and defend in a public academic forum.
Thesis students should expect to continue into at least the following fall or winter term. The average timeframe for submitting and defending a thesis is 16-24 months. Thesis students should only begin contacting potential supervisors in September.
Check out one of our featured graduates from the Thesis Program. 

Course-Based Program Plan

Students in the Course-Based program must complete:
  • A Scholarly Paper, designed to demonstrate the student's ability to integrate ideas that reflect current knowledge in areas of global health theory, practice, education, research, and/or policy. It is an original piece of scholarship in essay form that builds on knowledge and skills acquired from coursework and other program learning activities.
  • A Global Health Practicum, which allows you to further develop and consolidate your knowledge and apply it in a practical setting. You will have the opportunity to gain practical knowledge about various workplace environments, ethics, organizational behaviours and expectations as well as develop a global health professional identity.
Below are the requirements for each program plan: 

Complete your MSc by course work

Completion of the program with at least a B- standing in eleven (11) graduate half courses which must include:
  • GLOBHTH 701 / Global Health Foundations I
  • GLOBHTH 702 / Global Health Foundations II
  • GLOBALST 710 / Globalization: An Introduction
  • GLOBHTH 713 / Research Methods: A Global Health Perspective
  • BUSADMIN C720 / Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health Policy Analysis
  • Two (2) courses from the selected concentration
  • One (1) additional graduate course from the elective offerings
And successful completion of:
  • GLOBHTH 710 / Learning Symposium and Field Orientation
  • GLOBHTH 711 / Scholarly Paper
  • GLOBHTH 712 / Field Practicum

Complete your MSc by thesis

Students must complete the program with at least a B- standing, eight (8) graduate half-courses:
  • GLOBHTH 701 / Global Health Foundations I
  • GLOBHTH 702 / Global Health Foundations II
  • GLOBHTH 713 / Research Methods: A Global Health Perspective
  • GLOBALST 710 / Globalization: An Introduction
  • BUSINESS C720 / Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health Policy Analysis
  • One (1) additional graduate half course decided by the student in conjunction with his/her supervisory committee
And successful completion of:
  • GLOBHTH 710 / Learning Symposium and Field Orientation
  • SGS 700 / Full Time Research and Writing - Completion of a thesis on an approved global health issue and defend the thesis at a final oral examination.

Fall Term Courses

Fall Term (September - December)

Students are introduced to emerging challenges in globalization and health. They take four required courses including Global Health Foundations I – in collaboration with Maastricht University, the Netherlands, which encourages an internationally collaborative learning experience.
Course-based students intending to complete their second term on exchange must apply during this term.
Core Courses
This course addresses policy and interrelated features of the health problems, issues, and concerns that transcend national boundaries. It explores the relationships between policy development in health, health care, education, economic development, and business management using a case-study approach. Ethical issues in global health are also addressed. Students use web-based synchronous learning platforms and learn with students from partner universities in transcontinental small groups (learning pods). The course involves lectures from faculty and leading experts in the fields of global health, along with group work and student presentations. The Foundations I final assignment will be in the form of a group document and a group presentation.
This course introduces students to the cultural, political, social and economic globalizing processes at work in today's world.
This course explores theoretical and methodological perspectives in global health and how these shape research practices aiming to address pressing disease and health care problems worldwide.  We will examine the key concepts and issues relevant to conducting both established and innovative qualitative and quantitative research methods in a variety of global health settings and within the context of overlapping disciplinary boundaries.  Emphasis will be placed on examining the ethical and practical considerations of designing and conducting research in different geographic, social, political, and resource settings.  The course aims to build students’ interdisciplinary global health research competencies which are relevant to a range of research, operational and policy programs in global health.

Students examine the field of health policy analysis – specifically as it relates to clinical, administrative and government policy. After establishing a framework by which to analyze policy — which includes consideration of stakeholders, pressure groups, values, institutions, and the media — students study various tools as a means of formulating and evaluating policy. The course applies techniques from business, political science, economics, sociology, epidemiology, and history. Specific policy topics will be presented as illustrations of this management art.

Winter Term Courses

Winter Term (January – April)

Course-based students can specialize in one of the program’s six (6) concentrations, three (3) of which are available at McMaster, two (2) at Maastricht University, and one (1) offered at the University of Southeastern Norway. All students continue to work collaboratively in transcontinental groups.
  • Course-based students choose two (2) courses from their selected field of study plus one (1) course from the elective course offerings.
  • Thesis students take one (1) course from their selected field of interest. By the end of the winter term, thesis students should have completed their proposals and may have already begun their research projects.
GLOBHTH 702 - Global Health Foundations II (in collaboration with Maastricht)
This course introduces students to project development and program management in global health. Building on policy analysis learnt in Foundations I, students use a case study approach to develop innovative proposals to address health disparities. Students learn to translate theory into practice in the context of global health. Incisive decision-making and cross-cultural negotiations are key elements of the process. Students continue to learn in transcontinental learning pods, participate in seminars led by faculty and other experts in the field, and make presentations which synthesize the course materials.
The program offers a diverse range of elective offerings in the Winter term, exploring issues including migration, climate change, health law, and allowing students to further pursue an area of interest. Students may select one of the core courses from one of the ‘Fields of Study’ (e.g. GLOBHTH 709 Refugee Health) or one of the following suggested electives:
  • • GLOBHTH 715 / Independent Study Course
    • HTHRSM 770 / Mixed Methods Research Designs for Health Services and Policy Research
    • PUBHLTH 706 / Introduction to Health and Public Health Economics
    • BUSADMIN 725 / Managing Communications in Health Care
    • BUSADMIN 750 / Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care
    • SOCSCI 702 / Indigenous Ways of Knowing in Research
    • ANTHROPOLOGY 796 / RELIGIOUS STUDIES 786 / Ritual and Symbolic Healing
    • GLOBAL ST 725 / Political Economy of Global Climate Change
    • GLOBAL ST 732 / Global Environment and Health Policy
    • GEOG 734 / Qualitative Approaches to Health Geography
    • HRM 726 / The Science and Practice of Knowledge Translation: Foundations
*Additional electives may be approved by the program to fulfill the elective requirement.
Fields of Study / Concentration
BUSADMIN C710 - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health Economics and Evaluation
This course applies economic principles to policy-relevant questions in the area of health and healthcare. Topics include: applied health economics, demand and supply of healthcare and insurance, healthcare system financing, alternative payment schemes, economic regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses, QALY's, and means by which to improve value-for-money in the health sector.
BUSADMIN C715 -Health Care Funding and Resource Allocation
This course will examine the allocation of resources for health care and health promotion in Canada. Students will develop a clear understanding of the components of health systems, and how the financial, human and capital resources are financed (where the money comes from), how resources are allocated across the system (funding) and the influence of health professional remuneration (payment) on service delivery. Canadian approaches will be compared with those in selected other countries within a global context. Issues of financial sustainability and efficiency in health care systems will be examined along with proposals for system reform to improve quality and control cost increases in Canada and elsewhere. Topics will include hospital funding, physician payment, pharmaceutical pricing, alternate financing approaches, and the role of provincial and regional structures in allocating funding for long-term care, rehabilitation and community health programs.
BUSADMIN C740 - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health Care Marketing
This course provides an in-depth understanding of the key concepts of marketing and their application to the rapidly changing public and private health care environment. Students build practical skills in analyzing marketing problems in for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations in Canadian, U.S. and other international settings. They also learn strategies to apply marketing tools and principles (such as pricing, promotion, products/services, consumer behavior, branding, segmentation, social marketing and health promotion). Students also increase their appreciation of the role of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and management in health care marketing decisions. The course consists of case discussion, lectures, guest speakers, readings (cases, articles, textbook), and practical field experience whereby student teams undertake marketing consulting projects in local health care organizations.
BUSADMIN C722 - Management of Population Health
This course takes a meta-approach to health issues, focusing on strategies to improve health and wellbeing while controlling costs. Students examine concepts and frameworks around the health of different populations, the stages of the life cycle, and the burden of illness on society. Several frameworks will be critiqued and concepts studied will include, but will not be limited to, the correlates of the health of different populations, the stages of the life cycle, the burden of illness for society, contagions and public health, the congruence between evidence and policy, prevention, community action, and the development of students' critical appraisal skills.
GLOBHTH 707 - Global Burden of Disease
This course introduces students to the concepts of the global burden of disease. The course consists of two explanatory components that aim to examine how disease burden is measured and the causes of morbidity and mortality on a global scale. Students will gain an overview of diseases and conditions responsible for a significant portion of the global disease burden, focusing on epidemiology, clinical aspects, management and prevention. The course employs a combination of lecture and group presentation.
GLOBHTH 709 - Refugee Health Policies and Practice
Students will explore refugee health from a social determinants lens including causes and antecedents of refugee movements, current policies and practices about managing displacements within source countries and in receiving countries. Students will use web-based data sources for numeric and narrative information about refugee health. This will include non-Canadian source data and a review of receiving country performance in meeting expectations as set out in the 1951 Convention relating to the status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol related to the status of refugees.
MEDSCI 717 - Vaccines and Vaccine Immunology
Vaccines and vaccine immunology have become an important sub-discipline of modern biomedical practice and research. It becomes increasingly important to both prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and allergic diseases. This course is designed to provide graduate students with the basic concepts of current human vaccination programs, methods used to develop various forms of new vaccines, and vaccine immunology.
MOLBIO 6P03 - Medical Microbiology
Microbial infectious diseases of humans: ecology, evolution, epidemiology, immunity, pathogenesis, and the treatment of these diseases.
GLOBALST 704 - Global Social Policy
This interdisciplinary course introduces students to key concepts and issues of global social policy and its connections with globalization processes. It examines trends in global social policy and the diverse experiences of different welfare regimes across the world. Locating social policy within the context of global inequalities, this course also seeks a deeper understanding of the issues of poverty, social exclusion, and deprivation from an international perspective. In discussing the challenges and possibilities regarding the future of welfare, the roles of various non-state sectors (e.g. transnational corporations, international organizations, and international NGOs) in pursuing social justice and human rights in the global context are also addressed.  
GLOBALST 777 - Global Governance
Students explore the institutions and processes of international governance. The course considers different theoretical approaches to understanding rule creation and maintenance on a global scale. Approaches and issues examined include neoliberal and neorealist regime theory, critical theory approaches, international law, the role of corporations and private authority and the activity of global civil society.
GLOBHTH 708 - Global Health Equity
In the early 21st century, global health equity has come into sharper focus as processes of globalization accelerate the impact of global disease threats and magnify the impact of global health policy changes. In the Global North, researchers and policy makers are exploring ways to reduce public financing and delivery of health care and move towards greater private sector provision of health services while in the Global South, countries are implementing reforms that broaden access to care through the introduction of 'universal health coverage' and the strengthening primary health care systems. At the same time, the traditional role of institutions like the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization is eroding at the policy level in the face of increasingly powerful private foundations and 'Funds' who are actively participating in creating a new global agenda for health. This course will focus on the constituent elements of global health equity including global health ethics, diplomacy, health systems strengthening, indigenous health, and immigrant & refugee health.
GLOBHTH 709 - Refugee Health Policies and Practice
Students will explore refugee health from a social determinants lens including causes and antecedents of refugee movements, current policies and practices about managing displacements within source countries and in receiving countries. Students will use web-based data sources for numeric and narrative information about refugee health. This will include non-Canadian source data and a review of receiving country performance in meeting expectations as set out in the 1951 Convention relating to the status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol related to the status of Refugees.
POLSCI 782 - Development Theory & Administration
This course aims to critically examine the key issues and debates related to the process of development and how they impact upon public administration in developing countries. Drawing upon the various approaches to the process of administration, the course will highlight some of the principal concerns that have emerged over the years. The focus will be on the institutions, structures, processes and interactions that help or hinder the process of development.
Students will have an opportunity to analyze and reflect upon the linkages between public administration and development, and present fresh perspective on existing ideas. They will be required to write research essays and participate actively in the deliberations on a regular basis. The outcome should be a sound understanding of the concept, goals and strategies of development and enhanced familiarity with the problems and issues faced on the ground. There will be an opportunity to conduct original research on various sectors of development.
  • Implementing Innovations on a Global Scale
  • Global Health Leadership and Organization

For more information, visit their Program Website

Global transitions within local communities. Small places, big changes.

Health issues, both public and personal, are strongly affected by global transition. Accelerated and intensified contact - a defining characteristic of globalization - leads to migration and environmental degradation, and places constraints on the livelihood of many in local communities. Such rapid changes can often lead to tensions, contradictions, conflicts and changed opportunities in ways that affect local people’s lives and health.

You will learn about the background of central global transitions, and about the various models of national welfare systems. You will be able to focus on one particular geographical area or community, looking at its public health and living conditions, and thereafter compare this place to others in the world.

The course is divided into three main sections:

  • Global processes and migration
  • Welfare systems and health care
  • Challenges in local communities

View the 2018 outline here.

Community Health in Moving Populations

Working with Public Health Masters students at the Universidad del Rosario, students develop an in-depth understanding of health needs of Colombians living in poverty, recent migrants and internally displaced peoples. Colombia's experience of dealing with mobile populations moving through/within its borders for economic, environmental and political reasons offers students learning on mental health, maternal-child health, gender and class, among social determinants that impact the health and wellbeing of people. Applying state-of-the-art theoretical knowledge learned in the program, this field-based group-oriented opportunity offers students the ability to build practical skills within an immersive educational environment. This elective option is one semester within the Master's in Public Health program. Basic knowledge of Spanish is essential.

Summer Term Courses

Summer Term (May – August)

All students are required to attend GLOBHTH 710, a Global Health Learning Symposium and Field Orientation in India with students from partner universities, including seminars by experts in global and public health, student presentations on selected research topics, and fields visits to sites that involve aspects related to global health.
After the Learning Experience in India, students will proceed to their field placements or continue with their thesis research. The field placements can be anywhere from eight to ten weeks depending on the student's learning objectives.
The objective of this course is to consolidate collaboration and decision-making in transcontinental teams. All students are required to complete this course, which includes the following components:
  • Global Health Symposium requires each student to submit an abstract and present the plan for his/her scholarly paper/thesis research project in a real life, peer reviewed environment. The presentation is interactive and students are challenged to integrate critical feedback from interdisciplinary faculty members and experts in the global health field, as well as from their peers.
  • Field Orientation is designed to deepen critical thinking and practice interviewing in a real life setting. It provides the opportunity to enhance assessment and cross-cultural working skills and learn about and practice systems mapping in a diverse and complex environment. The experience includes field visits and small group work, report writing and presentations, and allows an opportunity for personal reflection.

This course is designed as an opportunity for students to demonstrate in writing, their ability to integrate ideas that reflect current knowledge in Global Health. Students will identify a topic, and in consultation with an advisor, develop a proposal that is individualized to their area of interest. Students will complete a 30-50 page written scholarly essay on an approved topic. It is critical to the course-based MSc students to demonstrate a mastery of the theoretical and methodological understandings that have been acquired during the course work.

This course is designed to allow the student to tailor learning to a selected practicum in clinical, education, research or administration, which meets their specific educational needs. Students must work with an approved public or private organization working in a field of global health either locally or internationally. The placement links the theory, concepts, and health research methods taught in the program to real life-practices.

Please Note:

If there is a discrepancy between the program/course information on this website, and the McMaster University Graduate Calendar, please follow the current Graduate calendar.