Global Health

This specialisation is one of seven included in our Master in International and Development Studies. These specialisations are interconnected curricula that provide the possibility for you to tailor your individual path.

The specialisation in Global Health focuses on power, politics and governance in global health. You will learn how global health issues affect, and are affected by, geopolitics through global institutions and transnational actors, political economy, and epistemological and regulatory regimes. You will also learn how to work across professional disciplines, how to obtain meaningful input from different stakeholders including affected communities, and how to translate knowledge into policy.

how to aPPLY

We really believe in fostering a sense of community and generosity and sharing, and I think that that is a really great learning experience, particularly when you are in the capital of global health, which is Geneva.
Vinh-Kim Nguyen
Head of the Global Health Specialisation

Programme details and objectives 

“Global health” refers to the trans-national distribution of diseases and their social, environmental, political and commercial determinants, the trans-national efforts to address them, and how they play out in the everyday lives of people. Geneva offers a unique, privileged entry-point into the global health system, which is currently anchored around the WHO, which is embedded within a complex ecosystem of public and private organisations, governed by a dense set of international norms, rules and laws. 

This is also a pivotal moment in global health, as the pandemic has revealed global fault-lines and geopolitical re-configurations while constituting on-going political and technical challenges at a historically unprecedented scale. The existential threat of climate change, and the promise and threat of digital transformation, has raised the stakes for global health and will require a new generation of leaders, truly representative of our global diversity, able to address these challenges.

The specialisation offers core training in global health governance, political analysis, diplomacy and negotiation. Our “gateway” course will address key issues (including health equity, the right to health, and global health security), paying attention to the fault lines in the multiple dimensions and purposes of global health. 

At the core of these issues is governance, and you will explore the relevance of its history, meaning and methods to understanding and addressing global health issues today. Our interdisciplinary approach draws on anthropology, sociology, economics, law, international relations and political science, international history and politics.


In this specialisation, you will be able to choose from a portfolio of courses that explore the emerging frontiers of global health:

  • Health and disease in global perspective: rethinking the social determinants of health and health inequities, the governance of pandemics, and the role of biomedical innovations.

  • Global governance: actors, structure and processes; law and legal instruments; access to diagnostics, medicines and vaccines; ethics and justice.

  • People: systemic vulnerability and resilience; decolonisation and racism; gender, diversity, and inclusion.

  • Resources: including rethinking economics; finance, financialisation and global political economy

  • Contexts and futures: shifting geopolitical fault lines; new wars, conflict and security; the climate emergency; digital transformations.

Opportunities and Career Options 

You will acquire the skills and knowledge to become leaders in global and local health organisations, academia, NGOs, and the private sector; on the frontlines, working with communities and affected populations; and in the private sector.

You will also be able to participate in Applied Research Projects (or Capstone Projects) taking place within Global Health organisations based in Geneva, offering an invaluable opportunity to gain practical experience with Global Health decision-makers.