Master's in Global Child Health Curriculum

Male graduate student in classroom

An integrated learning environment

The Global Child Health program maximizes student potential through guided learning with mentorship by world-renowned faculty. Students find the program integrates academic training and experiential learning, with online classes for academic credit blended with on-campus programming. Students build an understanding of current and future developments in global child health.

During the program, students learn to:

  • collect, analyze and synthesize relevant data to generate evidence using scientific analytical frameworks
  • demonstrate knowledge of child health issues, socioeconomic and political determinants and approaches to management and control of diseases
  • conduct analyses of disease burdens, and evaluate intervention strategies and approaches that address major child health issues, characterizing them 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 conception through innovative thinking and solutions that will strengthen health systems and address catastrophic childhood illnesses
  • apply leadership and management tools to effectively and efficiently implement programs and policies
  • enable positive change to strengthen health systems, improve health of children globally and reduce health inequities

The program provides students learning opportunities to identify and implement the necessary systems level changes that improve the treatment and care of childhood cancers and catastrophic illnesses. These competencies empower the students to apply their education at the local, regional and global level, across multiple settings, and to accomplish identified goals in complex settings.

Core Competencies

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 students 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

Students are trained in three core competency domains: foundational knowledge, translational tools and implementation skills.

Foundational knowledge includes training in the fundamentals of biostatistics and epidemiology, social sciences and child health issues in the context of global health and health systems. Students learn to translate their foundational knowledge into applied research, and evidence-based policies and programs. Implementation skills ultimately guide students towards becoming agents of change by strengthening their communication, leadership and management abilities.

Foundational Knowledge
(Concept and Theories)
Translational Tools
(Methods, Analysis and Synthesis)
Implementation Skills
Identify and Analyze Data Develop Evidence Based Policies and Programs Get Things Done in Complex Health Systems
  • Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • Social sciences including Health Economics and Political Economy
  • Global Health and Health Systems
  • Quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methods 
  • Policy Analysis and Development
  • Policy Analysis and Development
  • Evidence-based innovative thinking and solutions
  • Leadership, management and communication skills

Courses and Schedule

Year 1
On-Campus Orientation & Summer Intersession
(2-3 weeks; July-August 2021)
Introduction to Online Learning and Math Preparation
Ethical issues in Global Child Health and Research
Leadership, Management, and Communication Workshops
Fall Semester
(September-December 2021)
Principles of Biostatistics
Introduction to Epidemiology
Foundations of Global Child Health
On-Campus Winter Intersession
(2 weeks; January 2022)
Leadership, Management, and Communication Workshops
Spring Semester
(January-May 2022)
Research Methods in Global Health
Health Economics
Introduction to Health Systems
Year 2
On-Campus Summer Intersession
(2 weeks; July-August 2022)
Leadership, Management, and Communication Workshops
Introduction to the Thesis 
Fall Semester
(September-December 2022)
Organizational Leadership and Health Communication
Political Economy of Global Health
Thesis Seminar
On-Campus Winter Intersession
(2 weeks; January 2023)
Leadership, Management, and Communication Workshops
Mid-term Thesis Report
Spring Semester
(January-May 2023)
Strategic Management of Child Health Programs
Child Health and Health Systems Innovation
Thesis Practicum
June 2023 Graduation
August 2023-Beyond Postgraduate Capstone Project Implementation


Credit-bearing courses

Each course is delivered online through two weekly sessions of direct instruction, a maximum of three hours per week and an estimated six hours per week of out-of-class preparation over 15 to 16 weeks. Assignments are posted online, and students complete and upload them 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 during office hours and by appointment. Multiple ways of communicating are available, although the primary mode is through emails with occasional video chats.

Non-credit courses, on-site programming

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

  1. Learning Online: 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: includes addressing issues related to self-mastery, team building, organizational and systems-level leadership and conflict management.
  3. Communication: focuses on public speaking, persuasive presentations and effective writing, including basic principles of effective prose and argument in advocacy and opinion pieces and policy writing.
  4. Ethics in Global Health: includes presentations on ethical principles of scientific research, clinical care and global health.

During the four intersessions, students will build skills in leadership, management, and communication.  Topics to be covered include issues related to self-mastery, team building, organizational and systems-level leadership, conflict management, public speaking, persuasive presentations, effective writing, basic principles of effective prose and argument in advocacy, opinion pieces, and policy writing.  The leadership, management, and communication training over the four Intersessions (Summer 1, Winter 1, Summer 2, and Winter 2) follows the format in the linked PDF.

Download the Framework

Master's Thesis

The thesis is the culmination of studies and the primary locus for translation of knowledge and skills that students 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. Theses selected for funding will be implemented as “Capstone Projects.”

The Thesis Seminar and Practicum supports students in producing a thesis of high academic standard, guiding them through structured and collaborative approaches to develop a project idea. Students are introduced to the challenges of writing and presenting a thesis. Resources are provided to support students through the process. The Thesis Seminar and Practicum also helps students learn to review scientific literature, collaborate with diverse stakeholders, design action plans, develop proposals and write a final thesis.  

Each student is assigned a thesis adviser to provide supportive supervision.

Theses have two main components:

  • A project proposal addressing a global child health issue, including background, justification, process and 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.
  • A personal journey statement designed to be an opportunity for the student to reflect on personal growth and development that has occurred throughout the program.

For a complete overview of the two-year curriculum of the MSc in Global Child Health, view the linked PDF.

Download the Course Map