"I am constantly exposed to areas of study outside my primary area of concentration and am therefore able to gain a much broader expertise and understanding of global health than I envisioned when applying to the program."
— Maricianah Onono, PhD student, Global Health Sciences

Global Health Sciences PhD

The PhD in Global Health Sciences is a transdisciplinary program that prepares students to work in and contribute to the field of global health by providing a range of perspectives on global health challenges and solutions. Students are trained in research methods and modes of inquiry drawn from public health, public policy, economics, development studies, implementation science, and the social sciences, to prepare them to address health problems of global importance. Graduates are equipped for careers in academia, policy, and organizational leadership.

The program is structured as a four-year degree. Students spend the first two years in residence at the UCSF Mission Bay campus engaged in coursework, research rotations, and teaching residencies. After completing the core curriculum and passing the qualifying examination, students spend the next two years focused on conducting their dissertation research and engaging in other research and professional growth activities under the guidance of research advisers and faculty mentors.

The UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences (IGHS) was established in 2003 by Haile T. Debas to provide institutional leadership for global health at UCSF. Reporting directly to the chancellor, IGHS is an interdisciplinary educational, research and service organization dedicated to improving health and reducing the burden of disease in the world's most vulnerable populations.

Note that IGHS also offers a Master of Science in Global Health.


An extensive network of faculty, researchers, and global health practitioners works with IGHS to teach, advise, and mentor students in the PhD program. Many of the faculty and mentors in the PhD core faculty group and IGHS Faculty Affiliate Program are leaders in their fields and come from UCSF's four professional schools (medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and nursing) and the Graduate Division, as well as from other UC campuses, Bay Area universities, and the wider global health community.

The IGHS education program office is located at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. Visit the program website for more information.

The Global Health Sciences PhD program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division. Programs at the Institute for Global Health Sciences (IGHS), unlike other programs at UCSF, are not administered by any of the UCSF Schools; IGHS reports directly to the chancellor. Faculty members from all UCSF schools and many departments deliver program courses.


Program Officers
Tammy Spath (admissions)
Darlene Mergillano (progression)

Program Director
Elizabeth Fair, PhD, MPH