Focus Areas

The White Gravenor building on Georgetown's campus with fall foliage in the foreground.

Disease Prevention and Control

Disease Prevention and Control will provide in depth training on the epidemiology, impact and control of infectious, as well as non-communicable and chronic diseases. Students who choose this area will develop competency on topics as diverse as global emerging and re-emerging diseases, the threat of bioterrorism, large-scale international disease control partnerships, global environmental health issues, and the growing double burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases in low- to middle-income countries.

Health Financing

Health Financing will prepare graduates for quantitative financial and policy work in support of governments in low- and middle-income countries. Students will learn to analyze and assess health insurance and other risk-pooling systems. They will master the techniques of health economics and acquire a framework for analyzing health care systems and designing strategies for system reform.

Health and Development

Health and Development provides students with training on critical aspects of African development from a demographic, economic, political, social, environmental, cultural, and health perspective. The area offers historical analysis as well as a vision for the future of African development. Students will analyze the causes and consequences of poverty, key issues in African population health, the impact of rapid urbanization on health and development, and the state of African health systems.

This broad area allows graduates to select a current health and development-related topic and study it in more detail.  It prepares graduates to perform analytical work and to evaluate policy interventions in the selected area. Students can address a wide range of topics, such as rapidly growing and also contracting populations; population aging and the youth bulge; urbanization, slum formation, urban health planning intensifying migration flows that affect both sender and recipient countries; plus issues of climate change, national and international security, inequity, gender imbalance, and poverty. Graduates will have the necessary skills to link general development trends and issues to the broader framework of global health and to support developing countries in the planning and implementation of evidence-based policies and programs.

Global Health Governance

This area introduces graduates to the institutions and actors shaping global health, the relationship and impact of laws designed to protect and promote human health, and global health governance. Graduates will apply political science and policy studies methods to examine the economic, social, technological, and political dimensions of global health. They will analyze how globalization and the international trade regime impact national regulation, the provision of healthcare, and global public health. The role of nation-states, international organizations, local governments, social movements, NGOs, and international legal instruments will be reviewed.


Students who complete a specific set of courses in area of the Health and Development in Africa have the opportunity to earn the Certificate in African Studies from the School of Foreign Service at no additional charge.  Requirements for the certificate include completion of the Field Research Module in Africa, as well as demonstrated proficiency in any language spoken on the African continent.  More information about the language requirement is provided during orientation.


Elective course are offered by the program and are updated each year. Course offerings are subject to change, year-to-year. 

Students may enroll in courses offered by other Georgetown programs with approval from the Program Director.