MS in Global Child Health Curriculum

Integrate online study and experiential learning


The competency-based curriculum focuses on basic and applied research skills, global health systems and innovation, and population science, tailored to the context of child health. The program equips you with a distinctive blend of:

  • Knowledge, tools and skills to assemble and assimilate scientific evidence
  • Applied analytical tools and integrative thinking to develop evidence-based policies and programs
  • Leadership and management skills to bring about positive change

Relevant Data, Global Lessons and World-Renowned Mentors

The program integrates online classes with on-campus programming. World-renowned faculty guide your learning and provide mentorship as you develop leadership skills. You build an evidence-based understanding of current and future developments in global child health.

During the program, you learn to:

  • Collect, analyze and synthesize relevant data to generate evidence using scientific analytical frameworks
  • Synthesize knowledge of child health issues, socioeconomic and political determinants, and approaches to management and control of diseases
  • Analyze disease burdens and evaluate intervention strategies that address major child health issues within the context of health systems
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, structures and implementation principles of global health systems, and application of lessons learned in different countries
  • Develop evidence-based programs and policies, from concept through innovative solutions that strengthen health systems and address catastrophic childhood illnesses
  • Apply leadership and management tools to implement programs and policies effectively and efficiently
  • Enable positive change to strengthen health systems, improve health of children globally and reduce health inequities

The program provides opportunities to identify the necessary systems level changes to improve the treatment and care of childhood cancers and catastrophic illnesses. The competencies you develop empower you to apply your education at the local, regional and global level across multiple settings. Upon completion, you will be equipped to accomplish identified goals in complex settings.

Knowledge, Tools and Implementation

You gain competency in three core domains: foundational knowledge, translational tools and implementation skills.

Foundational knowledge includes training to identify and analyze data. Your foundational courses cover:

  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • Social sciences including Health Economics and Political Economy
  • Global Health and Health Systems

You learn to translate this foundational knowledge into applied research and evidence-based policies and programs. Coursework covers methods, analysis and synthesis, your translational tools:

  • Quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methods 
  • Policy Analysis and Development

You strengthen your communication, leadership and management skills to implement change more effectively in complex health systems. You study:

  • Policy Analysis and Development
  • Evidence-based innovative thinking and solutions
  • Leadership, management and communication skills

Course Sequence and Schedule

Types of Coursework

The Master’s in Global Child Health integrates online study (credit-bearing), on-site programming (non-credit, required courses) and a culminating master’s thesis.

Credit-Bearing Courses

Each 15- to 16-week online course requires:

  • Two weekly sessions of direct instruction (maximum three hours per week)
  • Out-of-class preparation (estimated at six hours per week)

Assignments are posted online, and you complete and upload assignments to the course website within a stipulated time. Some courses may include group activities and team projects to foster a sense of community and collaboration. Instructors are available to help you during office hours and by appointment. You are able to communicate with instructors a variety of ways, with email and occasional video chats the main method of communication. 

Non-Credit Courses: Required On-site Programming

You have mandatory non-credit workshops and seminars during your on-campus visits to the St. Jude Graduate School. Orientation and visits during winter and summer intersessions focus on:

  1. Learning Online: This includes components of online learning, analysis of different types of learning environments and assisting the students plan for a personal learning environment. It also helps identify areas of personal adjustment and time management required for success in online learning.
  2. Leadership and Management: Learn about addressing issues related to self-mastery, team building, organizational and systems-level leadership, and conflict management.
  3. Communication: Focus on public speaking, persuasive presentations and effective writing, including basic principles of effective prose and argument in advocacy, opinion pieces and policy writing.
  4. Ethics in Global Health: This includes presentations on ethical principles of scientific research, clinical care and global health.

The thesis seminar (Year 2, summer and winter intersessions) supports you in producing a thesis of high academic standard, guiding through structured and collaborative approaches to develop a project idea.

You are introduced to the challenges of writing and presenting a thesis. Resources are provided to support you through the process. The thesis seminar also helps you learn to review scientific literature, collaborate with diverse stakeholders, design action plans, develop proposals and write a final thesis.  

Master's Thesis

The thesis is the culmination of studies and the primary locus for translation of knowledge and skills that you have acquired through the program. A selection of theses is considered for funding by the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, after successful degree completion. You are assigned a thesis adviser to provide supportive supervision.

Theses consist of a project proposal addressing a global child health issue and a personal journey statement. The project proposal includes:

  • Background
  • Justification
  • Process
  • Measurable results expected to make positive change

Impact may be achieved through direct action to improve outcomes in populations and organizations or the creation of significant translational action that has potential to influence the change. This includes creating, implementing or evaluating a child health initiative; managing and enhancing existing initiatives; developing an organization’s strategy or policy initiatives; or conducting relevant applied research in select locations.

Your personal journey statement allows you to reflect on personal growth and development that has occurred throughout the program.

Keep Me Posted on the Global Child Health Program

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is authorized for operation as a postsecondary educational institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. In order to view detailed job placement and graduation information on the programs offered by the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, please visit