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Introduction to the course

The Global Health with Medical Sciences BSc is a one-year degree open to medical students from Imperial College and students from other relevant degrees (currently: medicine, veterinary medicine, and dentistry) from other UK universities.

The course offers a unique opportunity to learn about Global Health in a world-leading research institution, through:

  • Active and group-based learning methods and more didactic teaching with world-leading academic research teams (Module 1)
  • An experiential learning placement with charity sector organisations addressing the social determinants of health in the local community and a student-led critical group-based appraisal of Global health literature (Module 2)
  • A 13-week BSc research project with one of our research teams or external research collaborators (Module 3)

The course has an orientation towards quantitative, epidemiological and public health methods and approaches, reflecting the strengths of Imperial College, but also includes social sciences approaches (such as sociology, qualitative research, history, policy analysis and anthropology) which underpin our understanding of health and healthcare across the world. Our aim is to develop graduates who are able to navigate across different disciplines and methods in global health, apply critical thinking skills to real-life situations and develop ethical and reflective collaborative and leadership skills.

The Global Health BSc was launched in 2010, in response to a group of motivated students (mainly from Students for Global Health) for an in-house Global Health BSc at Imperial College London. It aims to train future global health leaders and critical thinking professionals working in Global Health and related fields of policy and practice.

What is global health?

Despite major improvements in health, there are still large disparities across the globe, and across regions, countries and local areas. Academic global health is a relatively recent area of scholarship that focuses on inequalities in health and the increasing interconnectedness of the determinants of heath. To enable the study of such diverse issues, the field includes different disciplinary perspectives from epidemiology and public health to a range of social sciences (e.g. politics, economics, sociology and anthropology). 

Course aims

The Global Health BSc aims to support undergraduate students who wish to develop the knowledge and skills to become future leaders in global health or related areas of research, policy or practice. It also enables trainee doctors who wish to develop a better understanding of their clinical context to gain a skillset which will support an academic career in parallel with their clinical career. 

By the end of the Global Health BSc course, students will be able to: 

Professional values and behaviour

  1. Demonstrate and apply the principles and ethics of robust practitioner and ac-ademic integrity and quality (V1)
  2. Foster the curiosity and responsibility for continuing professional development through reflexivity and learning how to learn (V2)
  3. Demonstrate the ability to work and lead both individual and multidisciplinary team-based projects (V3)

Professional skills

  1. Critically interpret quantitative and qualitative research and propose evidence-based approaches to improving global health outcomes (S1)
  2. Apply and reflect upon the principles of asset-based and partnership-driven approaches to improving health outcomes in a local setting (S2)
  3. Explore the ethical tensions involved in biomedical and public health academic and professional practice (S3)
  4. Employ appropriate and practicable research methods to global health chal-lenges (S4)
  5. Integrate different types of information and knowledge to justify a point of view (S5)
  6. Communicate research and evaluation findings effectively to a range of audi-ences (S6)

Professional knowledge

  1. Describe the epidemiology and impact of diseases worldwide, and their rela-tionship with socioeconomic and environmental determinants, access to health care and public policy approaches (K1)
  2. Critically discuss the role of global health actors in responding to historical and emerging global health needs (K2)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the research process, including discussion of the rationale, characteristics and limitations of different research approaches to global health (K3)
  4. Discuss the relationship between evidence, policy and practice in the context of global health at local, national and international levels (K4)

Who is this course for?

We welcome applications from the following students:

  • Medical students from Imperial College London (for Year 4 study)
  • Medical students from a UK medical school, for 3rd year or above (i.e. you can apply once you are in 2nd year, for the following year)
  • Students from other relevant disciplines (dentistry, veterinary medicine or others) currently studying at a UK university

Course structure: Overview

The course comprises of a 9-week taught component (Module 1), followed by two 4-week group work modules (Module 2) after the Christmas holiday: a Community Group Placement with a local organisation, and a small group Literature Review exercise. Finally, students complete a Global Health BSC Research Project full time over a 13-week period. For details on the modules please see Overview of the modules. 

Course structure diagram

WIll a Global Health BSc help my career?

Global Health is an area of scholarship and practice that is well recognised and rapidly expanding. Students on the course gain a solid grounding in the Public Health approaches to Global Health and an introduction to the range of disciplines that contribute to this area of scholarship. They also gain transferrable skills including research skills, collaborative working and critical thinking and reflective skills. We hope that the course provides above all, a valued opportunity for students to learn about an important area of study and develop their own interests and aspirations.

We receive very positive feedback and our students tell us that they enjoy the materials and the approach to learning. A recurring comment is that the course opens students’ minds to new ways of seeing the world. Often students feel motivated to act and engage further in Global Health research and advocacy.

Our alumni follow a range of career paths, from academic medical and surgical trainees, to academic careers in Epidemiology and Public/Global Health, and research or policy work including in third sector (e.g. NGOs and think-tanks).

Our alumni go on to a range of training and work positions:

  • Clinical Medicine: many of our medical alumni go on to become doctors with a Global Health related academic research portfolio
  • International public health academia (e.g. through a Master’s and PhD)
  • Positions in Ministries of Health, Civil Society organisations, and think tanks
  • Civil society organisations

Why should you choose this course?

This one-year course has an orientation towards the interpretation of quantitative, epidemiological and public health data, reflecting the strengths of Imperial College London, and combines this with an exploration of the social sciences’ contribution to understanding health and healthcare across the world.  It offers a unique opportunity to learn about Global Health in a world-leading research institution through active learning approaches, and hands-on apprenticeships in local community health programmes and with global academic research teams. Students in the past have continued to do more research projects after the completion of their BSc research project. 


Students have the opportunity to be nominated for two prizes at the end of the academic year: the Julia Buckingham Prize is awarded to the best performing student on the course and the Evelyn de Rothschild Prize (Best BSc Project) is awarded to the student with the highest scoring project.

How to apply

Find out more about what the course involves and how you can apply in the information provided on the main BSc Intercalated page.