The Division of Nutritional Sciences offers a Global Health Minor for undergraduate students. The Global Health Minor is intended to complement any academic major offered at Cornell and provide students with basic knowledge about global health as well as offer opportunities in experiential learning.

The Global Health Minor is designed around three specific educational objectives:
1) to learn more about the problems of global health in a classroom setting;
2) to experience the issues in global health firsthand in a field setting;
3) and to be exposed to the variety of careers in global health by working with graduate students and faculty currently engaged in the field.

Upon completion of the Global Health Minor, students are able to:

  • Analyze global health problems, issues and controversies using multiple disciplinary perspectives and conceptual frameworks,
  • Integrate knowledge from academic study and experiential learning toward being active and informed citizens in a global community,
  • Demonstrate the capacity to critically reflect on one's own values, ethics, assumptions and actions in the context of cultures, collaborations and institutions,
  • Demonstrate the capacity to collaborate across differences (e.g. cultural, social, personal, economic, values, religious).

Global Health Minor Requirements (15 credits total):

  1. Core Course #1 (3 credits): NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health (offered every spring semester, must be completed before your experiential learning opportunity)
  2. 3 Elective Courses (9 credits): Students must take three elective courses distributed across the five Elective Course categories. While it is recommended that you complete this coursework prior to embarking on your experiential learning, it is not required.
  3. Experiential Learning Opportunity: ELOs must be at least 8 weeks in duration, located/working with a resource-limited or underserved setting/population, and relevant to a global health issue of interest to the student. The Global Health Program offers three summer programs that meet these criteria in Tanzania, Zambia, and India. Some students opt to complete an Independent ELO, which requires review by the Global Health Program staff.
  4. Core Course #2 (3 credits): NS 4600: Explorations in Global and Public Health (offered every fall semester).

Be sure to join the Global Health Mailing List to receive important information about experiential learning opportunities and deadlines. To join the mailing list, or for any questions, please contact the Global Health Program at

NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health (Spring, 3 credits), must be taken before the student embarks on their Experiential Learning Opportunity (ELO). Enrollment priority is given to freshmen and sophomores. Juniors should contact the Director or Fellow to be placed on the waitlist and come to the first day of class.

Explore contemporary issues, problems, and controversies in global health through an interdisciplinary perspective. Introduces the global burden of disease and then examines complex social, economic, political, environmental, and biological factors that structure the origins, consequences, and possible treatments of global health problems. A limited number of problems are explored in depth (e.g., HIV, maternal mortality, malaria). This course will be offered each Spring.

NS 4600: Explorations in Global and Public Health (Fall, 3 credits), must be taken in the Fall semester immediately after completing the ELO. While it is recommended that students complete their electives before taking this course, it is not required.

This capstone course for global health minors assists students in exploring their topical interests in global health and integrating these interests with their field experiences, core knowledge in global health, ethical frameworks, and personal values. Course content is driven largely by student topical interests and experiences, and selected guest speakers. Explorations are done through individual work, team projects, and classroom discussions.

This course provides guidance, conceptual tools, feedback and a dedicated space in the schedule for students to design, complete and communicate a capstone project on a topic of their choosing that allows them to demonstrate their mastery of the learning outcomes for the Global and Public Health Sciences major or Global Health minor.

Note: Both core courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Three elective courses must be completed for the Global Health Minor.

Students must complete Electives from three of the five following categories:

Category I. Biomedical & Epidemiological Approaches to Global Health
Category II. Social & Ethical Approaches to Global Health
Category III. Political, Economic & Food Systems Approaches to Global Health
Category IV. Health Systems & Programmatic Approaches to Global Health
Category V. Area-Specific Studies (Petition-Only)

See the courses in each category in the List of Elective Courses.

If you learn about other upper level courses that would be appropriate for our list of elective courses, please contact the Global and Public Health Fellow ( for an Elective Petition Form.

This petition can be used for Category 5 electives or any other course that you think should count for your minor coursework. Petitions must be approved by Global Health Program staff to count for the minor.

Note: All elective courses used to fulfill the minor requirements must be taken for a letter grade.

A critical element of the Global Health Minor is an approved, eight-week experiential learning opportunity (ELO) during which students engage with a resource-limited population either in the United States or abroad. Students are challenged to apply their classroom learning to a field setting and deepen their understanding of the health problems that disproportionately affect underserved communities.

The learning outcomes of the ELO are as follows:
At the completion of this experiential learning opportunity, students will be able to:

  1. Identify a global or public health issue, through engagement in practice, policy, or research, which you intend to analyze in great depth in NS4600.
  2. Examine and explain the key characteristics and interests of host organization, hospital, institution, or research project, and how they relate to specific global or public health issues of interest.
  3. Analyze a global or public health issue integrating academic knowledge and experiential learning.
  4. Document and explain how the applied experience advanced academic, professional, and personal learning goals.

Students pursuing the Global Health Minor have the option of applying to participate in a Cornell Global Health Summer Program (India, Tanzania, or Zambia), or arranging an independent ELO. If you are interested in arranging an independent ELO, please contact the Global and Public Health Fellow ( to get more information and access to the petition form.

Before completing an ELO, students must:

  • Successfully complete NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health.
  • Apply to a Global Health Summer Program or submit an Independent ELO Petition form for review by Global health staff.
  • Apply for funding - see funding opportunities here.

After completing an ELO, students must:

  • Successfully complete NS 4600.
  • Submit a student story and photos to the Global Health Program.
  • Complete a final report detailing the experience.