Children playing in a river in Bangladesh

About 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 (e.g. veterinary sciences, dentistry) from other UK universities.

The course offers a unique opportunity to learn about Global Health in a world-leading research institution, through active learning methods, including hands-on apprenticeships in local community health programmes and with global academic research teams.

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 contribute to our understanding of health and healthcare across the world.

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 also across regions, countries and local areas. Academic Global Health is a relatively young 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 (politics, economics, sociology, anthropology). 

Course aims

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).

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. 

Overall aims for students are:

  1. To develop an awareness of the major issues in Global Health scholarship from a global public health perspective and be able to discuss these, including their theoretical foundation
  2. To be able to integrate the contribution of different academic disciplines to the study of Global Health issues including those of anthropology, sociology, ethics, international development, history and economics
  3. To learn to apply specific scientific methods relevant to the study of Global Health or interpret their use critically
  4. To be able to critically discuss the ethical and political dimensions of Global Health
  5. To be informed, analytical and able to identify challenges in Global Health and advocate for solutions based on critical assessment of evidence
  6. To acquire, through theory and practice, reflexivity of approach and ability to communicate these ideas effectively to a range of audiences
  7. To develop a curiosity towards Global Health issues, develop creativity, originality and innovation and be able to apply these in future career

Who is this course for?

We welcome applications from the following students:

  • Medical students from Imperial College (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 science or other) currently studying at a UK university

Course structures

The course comprises of a 9-week taught component (Module 1), followed by two 4-week group work module (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 14-week period. 

Module 1

Taught course and assessment across key Global Health content in the following themes:

Causes of disease, morbidity and mortality – communicable and non-communicable diseases and their determinants, evidence and interventions for these.
Global Health Governance – Global health governance and institutions, systems, policies and financing, politics of Global Health 
Skills and Methods for Global Health – Data, methods and critical appraisal of evidence generated for global health 

Module 2

Literature review task in small groups, and Community Group Placements.

Module 3

Self-directed research project exploring a global health research question (primary/secondary data analysis, systematic reviews, including qualitative/mixed method research). 

Course Structure: Overview

Chart showing an overview of the structure of the BSc in Global Health


WIll a Global Health BSc help my career?

Global Health is an area of scholarship and practice that is well recognised and quickly 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 good feedback and our students tell us that they enjoy the material and the approach to learning. A common 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 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 Masters 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, 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.

Two recent graduates from Imperial College London's BSc in Global Health discuss their experiences on the course.

BSc Global Health

Two recent graduates from Imperial College London's BSc in Global Health discuss their experiences on the course.

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.