The Part-Time Track

The M.S. in Global Health program offers a flexible option for working professionals without sacrificing academic quality.  This page describes the part-time track and its benefits.

The M.S. in Global Health degree can be completed on two main paths.  The full-time track requires two semesters on campus in DC, then a full semester conducting field research abroad – a minimum of 13 months to degree completion.

The part-time track extends on-campus coursework to four semesters, and the ensuing Field Research Module requirement remains unchanged.  In total, the part-time track takes a minimum of two years to complete.  All part-time students are required to complete a plan-of-study through consultation with the graduate program director – Dr. Bernhard Liese – at the time of their matriculation.

Applicants to the M.S. in Global Health program do not need to commit to full- or part-time study at the time of their application.  In fact, students can wait until the month of their matriculation to make that decision.  Dr. Liese, is happy to meet with students who are deliberating between these two options.

Please note that most non-U.S. citizens on a student visa are ineligible to pursue the M.S. in Global Health on a part-time track.  (Full-time study is generally acceptable.)  International students should consult with the Office of Global Services to verify their eligibility.

There are several advantages to pursuing the M.S. in Global Health degree on a part-time track:

Optimal Course Schedule Enables Full-Time Work

Almost all core courses – and many electives – take place during weeknights.  This enables a part-time student to have a full-time job or internship during the day. 

Moreover, the part-time track allows students to take two or three courses (five to seven credits) per semester, which is a manageable load to pair with a full-time job, internship, or family obligations.

Greater Financial Flexibility

Georgetown graduate students pay tuition based on the number of credits they are taking in a given semester.  Part-time students, then, pay a reduced tuition cost each semester as compared to full-timers. 

For most of our part-time students, these cost savings are supplemented by a steady income from a full-time job.  In many cases, this obviates the need for student loans.

Additional Time in the Department

While all M.S. in Global Health students are closely linked to the Department and its faculty, part-time students are particularly connected.  An additional year in the program facilitates closer relationships with professors.  Indeed, our faculty are understanding about the challenges of balancing work and school – many have earned degrees in this precise manner!

This connectivity is not limited to faculty and staff.  Our program has a small enrollment of students, in large part to foster a collaborative and personal learning environment.  Part-time students are fully integrated into the two graduate cohorts that span their on-campus coursework at Georgetown.  Consequently, part-timers are able to forge relationships with a greater number of classmates and participate in myriad University activities and events. 

Increased Exposure to Field Research Possibilities

More relevant to the degree itself, students on the part-time track have additional time to consider field research interests.  An extra year in the program allows part-time students to attend further rounds of Field Research Module presentations from students returning from abroad.

Important Notes about the Part-Time Track

  • The number of part-time students fluctuates year-to-year.  In 2019-2020, there were seven part-time students (and three accelerated undergraduates) out of a total enrollment of 31 on-campus students.
  • Part-time students are equally eligible for department-awarded merit-based scholarships.  The faculty review committee does not discriminate based on full- or part-time enrollment status.
  • Part-time students must procure a leave of absence from their full-time job during the Field Research Module.  In our experience, part-time students do not have difficulty procuring permission from their employers, since they are typically providing two years’ advance warning. 
  • Students technically change to full-time status for the Field Research Module, which enables disbursement of the non-service stipend, as well as health insurance coverage while abroad.
  • Once a student begins coursework on campus, it is possible to switch from full-time study to part-time.  However, the reverse is not an option. 
  • Leaves of absence on the part-time track are possible for documented medical reasons and military duty assignments.

Part-Time MSGH Testimonials

“I would recommend the part-time track to any student who is employed full-time.  Being part-time allowed me to pursue other interests like interning at the FDA’s Center for Medical Policy, working on antibiotic resistance and drug repurposing across the globe.  After that, I worked with a government data collection company.  The course schedule worked perfectly for me because most of the classes were offered at night, and were therefore manageable. The professors were also really helpful in ensuring that we succeeded.  My transition from part-time courses to the Field Research Module was uninterrupted because my employer was understanding on the importance of my going abroad.  Making plans ahead of time is very important.” 
Rhoda Wright ‘16 (FRM: Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana)

“I had many paid and unpaid internships while studying part-time, including with the Pan-American Health Organization, United Nations, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Institute for Reproductive Health, and Save the Children.  I was also a global health research fellow with GU’s Berkley Center.  While this sounds like a lot, the balance was very manageable and I performed very well in all my classes.  I think that it would have been more of a challenge if I was a full-time student.” 
Albara Elshaer ‘19 (FRM: Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana)

“I was a full-time parent with four children while pursuing the MSGH part-time.  It worked best for me to attend morning classes while the kids were at school, but I did attend some night classes which required more planning.  My studies often filled the late hours when the children were asleep, particularly during mid-terms and finals, but those timeframes were followed by academic breaks which eased stress.”  
Ann Danelski ‘16 (FRM: Pact, Namibia)

“Pursuing the Master of Science in Global Health part-time was one of the best decisions I made at Georgetown!  With the majority of program courses offered on weeknight evenings, I worked during days at one of the many global health organizations based in Washington.  I felt empowered to apply classroom knowledge almost immediately into practice.  In my final semester, I completed my Field Research Module abroad on a full-time basis (as is required).  I found field research to be a welcome change of routine, especially as I learned of the intensive nature of undertaking global health research in an applied and rigorous context.  I believe that the part-time program is ideal for a global health student who is eager to make the most of Washington at once, both professionally and academically. And as a part-time student, you will not be deprived of a fulfilling experience abroad or from participating in the multitude of interdisciplinary courses offered across campus. Go Hoyas!”  
Mark Lee ‘17 (FRM: ECOSUR, Mexico)