Health affects all aspects of our lives. A healthy population has more chances of being better off economically and socially, while unhealthy ones perform poorer. The other way around stands too – when a population is in financial or political crisis, the population’s health decreases and the crisis deepens. There are health problems across the globe which interact with such factors, and are not only within a few borders, but spread in many countries. Global health is a field which tries to study the relationship between health and other factors of society, as well as how to solve global health crisis.

To become an expert in this field, a Master’s Degree in Global Health is required. But after you’re done with your education, you might still not be sure what career options you have. This guide will provide details on the education, skill requirements and job opportunities regarding a Master’s Degree in Global Health.

  • What is a Master’s Degree in Global Health?
  • What skills do you need to succeed in the job market?
  • Careers with a Master’s Degree in Global Health
  • Job Outlook for Master’s Degree in Global Health
  • Organizations for Global Health

What is a Master’s Degree in Global Health?

The name global health suggests that it is concerned with the health of the world. Indeed, global health tries to surpass borders, religions, cultures, and races to tackle health issues. Global health degrees teach students to focus on health problems that are spread across countries such as infectious diseases, tropical diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, and even mental illnesses.

Students learn how to analyze economic, political, and social factors and how they relate to the spreading of disease and medical problems. In addition, they research solutions and policy proposals that could be implemented by many countries to improve the situation.

The curriculum of a Master’s Degree in Global Health encompasses a multitude of topics and fields. First and foremost students learn the intricacies of public health, global health management, and epidemiology. Then they study global  health from different perspectives by concentrating on the environment, economy, politics, and sociology.

By studying all these topics, those with a master’s degree in global health become skilled at analyzing and proposing various actions to improve global health. They do not only learn how to conduct research and find causes, effects, and relationships, but also how to generate action plans and solutions.

Besides getting an overview of each topic in global health, students can also choose a focus to concentrate and become experts. They can choose for example:

  • Economics and Global Health
  • Policy and Global Health
  • Environment and Global Health
  • Global Health and Sociology
  • Child Development and Global Health
  • Global Health Management and Finance, etc.

Each focus combines one other field with global health so as to tackle various issues. For example Environment and Global Health tries to issue policy solutions and actions that relate to health and water shortages, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and pollution. Policy and Global Health goes beyond into analyzing the effects of war, political instability, social conflict and others with the health of populations in different countries. Which focus you choose depends on your personal interests and skills.

A few courses that graduate degrees in global health might offer are, for example:

  • Complex international emergencies
  • Public nutrition
  • Research and analysis methods
  • Behavioral science and anthropology
  • Policy and demographics
  • Health care management and finance
  • Mental health
  • Program design and evaluation
  • Health and nutrition promotion
  • Epidemiology and infectious diseases
  • Maternity and child care, etc.

Courses are given in lectures and seminars, with evaluations in the form of exams, essay analysis, presentations, etc. In addition to courses and lectures, a Master’s Degree in Global Health also requires completing internships. That is because through internships, students are faced with the reality of what expects them in the future. Internships enhance work experience and can even help with choosing a particular focus.

Depending on the university, students are encouraged to intern and volunteer in non-governmental organizations that deal with global health, or even go abroad in a developing country for a few months to work alongside such organizations.

During their internships, students work with health management systems, do research and field work, and help in drafting policy proposals that tackle health issues. These internships open doors for later careers and higher salaries.

What skills do you need to succeed in the job market?

A Master’s in Global Health equips students with a variety of skills which enable them to succeed in the job market. It is critical for students to have this set of skills if they want a career in their field. According to the pharmacist Anne Thestrup from Australian Bodycare employers are looking for skills such as:

skills required in the field of global health

Careers with a Master’s Degree in Global Health

With a graduate degree in global health and the right skills, you could start a variety of careers. To decide on what you want to do with this degree, it is best to know your potential employers. Organizations which mostly employ graduates with a Master’s in Global Health are as follows:

  • Government Agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Disaster relief organizations
  • International aid and development agencies
  • International health organizations
  • Research and academic institutions
  • Refugee health organizations

Which sector and type of organization you choose to start your career in is up to you. If you are set on a particular type, it is a good idea to do an internship in a company or agency which fits your future plans. That way, when you graduate you will have some experience and it will be easier to find a job in the organization you want.

After you’ve chosen the sector you want to work in, you then have different job positions that you can take. As a Master’s in Global Health you could work in positions such as:

Health Policy Advisor

Public and private organizations that deal with global health often have a team of people that come up with different policies. There might even be a director who makes the final decisions. These people need experts to advise them on the best course of action, and a health policy advisor does that. Since you have the global health background and an understanding of policy decisions, you would be able to advise your supervisors and team what policy actions to take.

Health Policy Analyst

The health policy advisor recommends certain policies to implement, while the analyst does the work that leads up to that recommendation. Health policy analysts go through different types of policies and scenarios, analyze them and the current situation and together with the advisor, make a plan to follow. In addition, health policy analysts also analyze current implemented policies and the impact they have had in the global health setting.

Program Developer

International health agencies develop different programs which tackle issues of global health. For example, an organization could have a plan to intervene in a developing country to help with the HIV/AIDS crisis. The Program Developer in this case would set up a complete plan on how to organize the certain program. They would set objectives, an action plan, a resource and budget plan, as well as monitoring and evaluation criteria.

Health Program Managers

The program developer comes up with the program, while the health program manager oversees it. The health program manager supervises the program that is implemented. This person is responsible for day to day work, the staff and budget, and reports on the achieved objectives. They also might be required to monitor and evaluate the whole program at the end and analyze the impact.

Health Promotion Official

Most countries, developing ones especially, need to increase their knowledge on health related issues. That is why the government, different organizations, and companies start health promotion campaigns on a certain health topic. This could include infectious diseases, maternity and child care, sexually transmitted diseases and others. The Health Promotion Official works with a team to come up with an effective awareness raising campaign. They try to inform the public as best they can about potential causes, symptoms, treatments, and even policy decisions regarding a certain health topic.

Researcher and University Professor

If you are more into academic work, you can go on and work as a researcher or university professor. Researchers, besides working in universities, could also work in different think tanks. They develop methods, collect, and analyze data on global health and report situations in different countries and on different issues. They could at the same time be University Professors and teach courses in global health.

Job Outlook for Master’s Degree in Global Health

Since health care is such an important topic, you might also want to know what the job outlook and average salary is for job positions with a Master’s Degree in Global Health. In general, the average salary for global health job positions is between $31,000 to $86,000. However, as you will see there are many positions which surpass that. Below you will find a table with some other job positions, their average salary, and the growth potential by the year 2022. The data are reported from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Position Average Salary Job Growth by year 2022
Community Health Official $38,180 25.1%
Health Promoter/Educator $55,260 19%
Health Program Manager $103,680 23.2%
Global Health Professor $112,950 36.1%
Mental Health Counselor $43,990 28.5%
Epidemiologist $74,120 10.2%

As you can see, the salaries for such job positions are quite high. What is even better, is the fact that the job growth is expected to be immense. Global health will continue to become a more important topic and organizations and agencies will constantly look for such experts.

Organizations and Job Opportunities for Global Health

To give you a head start if you are looking for places to work with a Master’s Degree in Global Health, here you can find a list of organizations and websites where you can find different job positions that relate to your degree. Most job opportunities require a few years of experience, but if you have done internships and volunteer work by the time you graduate, you will be ready to get hired into any organization you set your mind to.

Africare American Public Health Organization (APHA) American Red Cross
American Refugee Committee (ARC) Abt Associates Bread for the World
CARE Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) Christian Children’s Fund (CCF)
CONCERN Worldwide U.S Doctors Without Borders European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP)
Family Health International (FHI) Gates Foundation Global Health Council
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Mercy Corps
Medical Research Council (MRC) Medicine Sans Frontieres (MSF) Oxfam
Oxford Policy Management Oxford University Tropical Medicine Department Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Partners in Health (PIH) Project HOPE Save the Children
UNAIDS United Nations USAID
World Health Organization

In addition to these organizations, you can also visit these websites for listings of jobs on global health around the world:

Whichever organization you choose to start your career as a new graduate with a Master’s in Global Health, you will always have opportunities to get on a good career track with a high salary, and with which you impact world health.