Global and Comparative Public Health

Global and Comparative Public Health Concentration

A concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health (GCPH) prepares students to be active participants in improving the health of their own and other communities worldwide. Students will gain an understanding of the determinants of the health of populations; the available options to improve the health of populations; and the evidence demonstrating the efficacy of these options.

Through the GCPH concentration, students will learn to:

  1. Identify the determinants of health.  These determinants will include but are not limited to biological, environmental, economic, political, institutional and social factors;
  2. Describe the various public health interventions that may influence the health of populations and differentiate between them; 
  3. Explain how the health status of a given population is interdependent with the health of all populations globally; 
  4. Explain and give examples of how culture relates to health and apply this knowledge to conversations about health in different settings; 
  5. Explain how the indicators of health of a given population may be assessed; 
  6. Analyze the relationship between health and social justice; 
  7. Describe the factors (social and cultural) that affect the relevant behaviors of a population; 
  8. Devise the questions that may be asked to examine the health of a population;
  9. Apply evidence-based thinking to population health concerns.

The GCPH concentration complements various majors, including Biology, BCMB, Pharmacy, Health Sciences, International Relations, Politics, Law, Politics and Society, Sociology, Environmental Science and Policy and Philosophy. Students who complete the program will be well prepared for graduate study and/or careers in fields related to public health. 

Download Drake's GCPH Advising Handbook

Masters of Jurisprudence in Health Law (Drake University Law School)

Certificate in Health Law  (Drake University Law School)

Pharm.D./Masters in Public Health (Drake University and Des Moines University)

Careers in Public Health

Graduate Programs in Public Health

Masters in Public Health

Ph.D. Programs in Public Health

Resources in Public Health

International Volunteer Opportunities

Public Health Online

Ranking of public health programs

World Health Organization

Global Health Council Job Board

Center for Disease Control Jobs

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

Public Health Jobs and Careers

Explore Health Careers


Requirements for the Concentration:

A total of 21 credits are required, distributed as follows (see course catalogue to identify any prerequisites for listed courses):

Required courses (9 credits):

Hsci 144 Introduction to Public Health 

Pols 127 Global Health 

Hsci 143 Epidemiology 

Electives (12 credits): Take at least one from Natural Sciences list and one from Social Sciences/Humanities list:*

Natural Sciences:

Bio 021 Biological Basis of Disease

Bio 092 Introduction to Ethnobotany

Bio 111 Evolved Foodways

Bio 108 Infectious Diseases

Bio 182 Immunology

Chem 012 Food and Health

Social Sciences and Humanities:

Hist 194 Public Health History

Hsci 142 Community Health Education (2 credits)

Hsci 153 Health and Development

Phil 124 Health and Social Justice

Phil 151 Environmental Justice

Pols 169 Critical Perspectives on Public Health Policy

SCSS 071 Environmentalism in the United States

SCSS 076 Inequality and Public Health

SCSA 138 Global Reproductive Politics

SCSS 145 Food and Society

Span 165 Spanish for Health Care Providers

WLC 148 Intercultural Communication 


*Experiential Learning (Local or international) Experiential learning is NOT a required part of the concentration. However, credit-bearing experiences that have been approved ahead of time may count as an elective under either Natural Sciences or Social Sciences/Humanities, depending upon content.

With the exception of the pre-approved experiences listed below, the following guidelines apply: 1. Experiences that do not receive academic credit cannot be counted. 2. Academic credit must be arranged beforehand either through Drake (e.g., an internship or independent study arranged through a college, school or department and supervised by an instructor) or through a study abroad provider, 3. The student requesting that a credited experience be counted toward GCPH elective requirements must present the GCPH Director with a description of the experience, a brief written justification explaining why the student believes that the experience meet the learning objectives of the GCPH program and a letter of support from either the student’s academic adviser or the instructor who will supervise the experience. These materials must be submitted prior to the experience. The GCPH Director will make the final determination of whether the experience qualifies for GCPH elective credit. 4. Experiential credit may replace one elective course, but not more than one.

The following courses - open to Pharmacy students only - are pre-approved for 3 credits under experiential learning for GCPH elective credit under Natural Science:

Phar 285 Hillside Clinic - Belize 
Phar 285 Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences - India 
Phar 285 University of KwaZulu-Natal - South Africa

Students may declare the concentration by filling out a form through your college administrative office. Inquires should be directed to Professor David Skidmore, Director, The Principal Financial Group Center for Global Citizenship.

Drake University is a member of the Heartland Global Health Consortium.

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November 20, 2015
The Comparison Project will host a community interfaith dialogue on death and dying on Thursday, Dec. 3, at Iles' Funeral Home, Dunn's Chapel, 2121 Grand Ave.