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 offers students the opportunity to:

  1. learn more about the problems of global & public health in a classroom setting;
  2. experience the issues in global & public health through experiential learning and
  3. explore career & academic pathways in global & public health.

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 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).

There is no intention form required for the Global Health minor. Students should submit the minor verification form during the first semester of their senior year to verify they have completed all the requirements for the minor. 

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 DNS Student Services at

Diagram of the Global Health Minor

                                      A diagram of the requirements for the Global Health minor

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

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

Students must complete three elective courses (each at a minimum of 2 credits), totalling to 9 credits of elective courses. These three courses must be distributed across three out of the five following Elective Course 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)

Approved Electives for the Global Health Minor
Last updated: May 2021
*Not offered in 2021

Category I. Biomedical & Epidemiological Approaches to Global Health

Includes courses encompassing a ‘hard science” approach to the study of disease and epidemiology. Surveys both communicable and parasitic vectors commonly occurring in resource-poor as well as nutritional and environmental foundations of increasingly prevalent non-communicable disease.

BIOMI 2500* Public Health Microbiology (3 credits)
BIOMI 2600 Microbiology of Human Contagious Diseases (3 credits)
BIOMI 2950 Biology of Infectious Disease: From Molecules to Ecosystems (3 credits)
BIOMI 3210 Human Microbes and Health (3 credits)
BIOMI 4040* Pathogenic Bacteriology (2-3 credits)
BIOMI 4090 Principles of Virology (3 credits)
BIOMI 4310 Medical Parasitology (2 credits)
BIOMS 4150 Essential Immunology (3 credits)
BIOMS 4340 Cellular and Molecular Microbial Pathogenesis: The Host/Pathogen Interplay (3 credits)
BIOMS/VETMI 7190* Immunology of Infectious Diseases (2 credits)
ENTOM 2100 Plagues and People (2-3 credits)
FDSC 4220 Functional Foods and Dietary Supplements for Health (2 credits)
NS 3030 Nutrition, Health, and Vegetarian Diets (3 credits)
NS 3060 Nutrition and Global Health (3 credits)
NS 3150 Obesity and the Regulation of Body Weight (3 credits)
NS 3600 Epidemiology (3 credits)
NS 4200 Diet and the Microbiome (3 credits)
NS 4410 Nutrition and Disease (4 credits)
NS 6140 Topics in Maternal and Child Nutrition (3 credits)
PLBRG 4070  Nutritional Quality Improvement of Food Crops (2 credits)


Category II. Social & Ethical Approaches to Global Health

Studies of cultural and social issues affecting the health of global populations including the interplay between a society’s dynamics and the disease and nutritional profile of its populations. Includes courses covering macro and micro community health as well as ethics and human rights which aids in forming a foundation upon which students can build effective policies and frameworks tailored to a population.

AMST 2225/DSOC 2220 Controversies about Inequality (4 credits)
AMST 2280* What is Public Health? (3 credits)
AMST 2722* History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States (3 credits)
AMST 3141 Prisons (4 credits)
ANTHR 2245 Health and Disease in the Ancient World (3 credits)
ANTHR 2421* Worlding Sex and Gender (4 credits)
ANTHR 2468 Medicine, Culture and Society (4 credits)
ANTHR 3465* Anthropology of the Body (4 credits)
ANTHR 4041* What is (an) Epidemic? (4 credits)
ANTHR/ASRC 4682* Healing and Medicine in Africa (4 credits)
ASIAN 2262* Medicine and Healing in China (4 credits)
ASRC 4602 Women and Gender Issues in Africa (4 credits)
BSOC 2051 Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine (4 credits)
BSOC 2061 Ethics and the Environment (4 credits)
BSOC 2071 Introduction to the History of Medicine (3 credits)
BSOC 2201 Society and Natural Resources (3 credits)
BSOC 3011 Life Sciences and Society (4 credits)
CRP 3011* Ethics, Development, and Globalization (3 credits)
DSOC 2010/SOC 2202 Population Dynamics (3 credits)
DSOC 2200 Sociology of Health and Ethnic Minorities (3 credits)
DSOC 3111 Sociology of Medicine (3 credits)
DSOC 3700 Comparative Social Inequalities (3 credits)
DSOC 4230 Gender and Health: Concepts, Data, Theories and Evidence (3 credits)
DSOC 4380* Population and Development (3 credits)
EDUC 2610 The Intergroup Dialogue Project (3 credits)
HD 2510* Social Gerontology: Aging and the Life Course (3 credits)
HD 3570* Social Inequalities in Physical and Mental Health (3 credits)
HD 4570* Health and Social Behavior (3 credits)
NS 2450 Social Science Perspective on Food and Nutrition (3 credits)
NS 3610 Hot and Hidden Topics in Global and Public Health (2 credits)
NS 4420 Implementation of Nutrition Care (3 credits)
NS 4500 Public Health Nutrition (3 credits)
PAM 3180* Health Disparities (3 credits)
PAM 3280 Fundamentals of Population Health (3 credits)
PHIL 2450* Ethics and Healthcare (4 credits)
PLHRT 2350* Food, Fiber, and Fulfillment: Plants and Human Well-Being (2 credits)
SOC 4120 Health and Social Context (3 credits)
STS 4751* Science, Race, and Colonialism (4 credits)

Category III. Political, Economic, Environmental & Food Systems Approaches to Global Health

Addresses local and global economic and political forces which influence the healthcare system of a region and its development. Educates students on subjects ranging from studies of agriculture and food system regulations to formulating balanced policy recommendations. This category focuses mainly on nutritional public policy from its basis in agro-economic theory to specific application to developing political systems.

AEM 1600 The Business of Modern Medicine (1 credit)
AEM 2000* Contemporary Controversies in the Global Economy (3 credits)
AEM 3385 Social Entrepreneurship Practicum: Anabel’s Grocery (3 credits)
AEM 4310* Agricultural and Food Policy (3 credits)
AEM/NS 4450 Towards a Sustainable Global Food System: Food Policy for Developing Countries (3 credits)
AMST 4280 Health and Environmental Justice (4 credits)
ANSC 4000* Feeding the World: The Biological and Quantitative Analyses of Livestock and Crop Systems (4 credits)
COMM 2850 Communication, Environment, Science, and Health (3 credits)
DSOC 2030* Global Garbage (3 credits)
DSOC 2050/SOC 2206* International Development (3-4 credits)
DSOC 3020 Political Ecologies of Health (3 credits)
DSOC 3400 Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice (3 credits)
EAS 2021* Humans and Climate Change (3 credits)
ECON 3710/PAM 4280* The Economics of Risky Health Behaviors (4 credits)
ECON 3910/NS 4570* Health, Poverty, and Inequality: A Global Perspective (3 credits)
ECON 4640* Economics of Agricultural Development (3 credits)
ECON 6410* Health Economics I (3 credits)
ECON 6420 Health Economics II (3 credits)
ECON 7711 Microeconomics of Development: Applications to Health, Nutrition, and Education (3 credits)
ENTOM/TOX 3070* Pesticides, the Environment, and Human Health (2 credits)
FDSC/IARD 4020* Agriculture in Developing Nations I (2 credits)
FDSC/IARD 4800* Global Seminar: Building Sustainable Environments and Secure Food Systems for a Modern World (3 credits)
FDSC/IARD 6020* International Agriculture in Developing Nations (3 credits)
HIST 2791* International Humanitarianism (4 credits)
IARD 1100* Perspectives on International Agriculture and Rural Development (3 credits)
IARD 4140 Global Cropping Systems and Sustainable Development (3 credits)
NS 4480 Economics of Food and Malnutrition (3 credits)
NS 4630 Global Health, Development, and Policy Issues in Tanzania (4 credits)
NS 4631 Global Health Practice and Policy Research in Zambia (4 credits)
PAM 2350 The U.S. Healthcare System (3 credits)
PAM 3780 Sick Around the World? Comparing Healthcare Systems Around the World (3 credits)
PAM 3870* Economic Evaluations in Health Care (3 credits)
PAM 4110* Pollution, Climate Change, and Health (3 credits)
PAM 4140* Global Health Economics and Policy (3 credits)
PAM 4370* The Economics of Healthcare Markets (3 credits)

Category IV. Health Systems & Programmatic Approaches to Global Health

Intervention and methodology studies designed to provide students with the skills, tools and frameworks upon which to implement sustainable development. Focuses techniques for engineering effective infrastructure to affect public health initiatives.

AEM 4880 Global Food, Energy, and Water Nexus: Engage the US, China, and India for Sustainability (3-4 credits)
BEE/ENGRD 2510 Engineering Processes for Environmental Sustainability (3 credits)
BEE 3299 Sustainable Development (3 credits)
BME 4110* Science and Technology Approaches to Problems in Human Health (3 credits)
BEE 4760 Solid Waste Engineering (3 credits)
ENGRG 3400 Engineering Student Project Teams: PRJ 601 - AguaClara Cornell (3 credits)
CEE 4540* Sustainable Municipal Drinking Water Treatment (3 credits)
CEE 5970* Risk Analysis and Management (3 credits)
DEA 2700* Healthy Places: Design, Planning and Public Health (3 credits)
DEA 5305 Health and Healing Studio (4 credits)
ILRHR 6605 Nonprofit Management and Finance (4 credits)
ILRIC 3342* Workplace Health and Safety as a Human Right (4 credits)
ILROB 4710* Social Science Research Methods (4 credits)
NS 4030 Teaching Apprenticeship (1-3 credits) – only for NS 2600, 3610, 4600, 4620, 4630 or 4631
NS 4630 Global Health, Development, and Policy Issues in Tanzania (4 credits)
NS 4631 Global Health Practice and Policy Research in Zambia (4 credits)
NS 4650 Leadership Development in Global and Public Health (1 credit)
PADM 5449 Systems Thinking in Public Affairs (3 credits)
PLBIO 2100 Medical Ethnobotany (3 credits)
PLBIO 3100 Medicinal Botany and Drug Discovery (2 credits)
STS 4311* From Surgery to Simulation (4 credits)

Category V. Area Specific and Independent Studies (Petition Only)

Students may petition to fulfill an elective requirement with a course that examines specific regions or populations relating to the location of their field experience or their career interests. Students are encouraged to study regional languages that they may use during their field experiences but language courses cannot fulfill an elective requirement for the minor. The Global Health Program also intends to create a culture that will encourage students to design and conduct independent studies that will supplement their academic and field experiences as a global health minor.

If you learn about other upper level courses that would be appropriate for our list of elective courses, please submit an Elective Petition Form.

The petition can be used for Category V 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.

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 NS 4600.
  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 Program (India, Tanzania, or Zambia), or arranging an independent ELO. If you are interested in pursuing an independent ELO, please submit this petition form.

Before completing an ELO, students must:

  • Successfully complete NS 2600: Introduction to Global Health.
  • Apply to a Global Health Program or submit an Independent ELO Petition form for review by Global health staff.
  • Apply for funding - please reach out to the Global and Public Health Fellow ( for more information regarding funding opportunities.

After completing an ELO, students must:

  • Successfully complete NS 4600.