Careers in Global Health

A career in Global Health can take many different forms and follow many different pathways to success. As with any career track, you should spend time thinking about the kinds of roles you would like to pursue (management, clinical work, implementation, research, advocacy, etc.) and the kinds of topical areas you would like to work in (nutrition, maternal and child health, biological sciences, climate change and health, etc.). Global Health is a very wide field that accommodates lots of different interests, and the greater Seattle area is considered a major hub of growth in global health industries!

For more information about career opportunities, refer to following resources and tools:

International experiences

Many students feel they need to have international experience in order to obtain a career in global health. More and more, however, global health organizations are prioritizing high-quality work and internship experience at home or abroad rather than requiring students to volunteer abroad in order to get a job or get into graduate school.

If you are interested in pursuing an international volunteer opportunity, you should understand that short-term, paid volunteer opportunities are often quite expensive for students and can have minimal benefit for communities. In some cases, they can have significant negative impacts. Seek advice from your advisors about which opportunities can provide the most beneficial experience for you and your host community / organization. Take a look at the 7 key questions you should ask about global health service opportunities. Seeking longer-term positions with trusted institutions can provide valuable skills and training in global health.

For more information about international global health experiences, refer to the following resources:

  • The University of Washington is a top-ranked school for producing graduates who pursue service with the US State Department’s Peace Corps program and the US Fulbright programs. There are many resources at the UW to help you understand and apply for both of these programs. To get started, connect with the UWB Office of Connected Learning.
  • Studying abroad can be a transformational experience for many students. For more information about UW supported study abroad programs, visit the UWB Global Initiative webpage.
  • Omprakash, a local Seattle organization, offers immersive international internship opportunities to students that are affordable and responsive to the needs of community organizations abroad. These are offered in partnership with UW for credit, or directly through Omprakash.
  • If you are interested in service work like the Peace Corps but unable to commit to the time required to be abroad, there are several similar and highly-rated programs that offer paid positions to work in communities in the US.
  • Global Health Corps offers year-long, paid fellowships working with global health organizations around the world. These are sought-after and highly valuable training opportunities.

Advanced degrees

There are many global health programs that offer advanced degrees in the US and abroad. For a fairly comprehensive list, see the Consortium of Universities of Global Health’s database of global health programs.

Additionally, students are encouraged to set up an appointment with your advisor and a Global Health minor faculty member to discuss potential educational pathways and strategies for pursuing an advanced degree.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in a clinical health profession, such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, or pharmacy, make sure to meet with the Pre-Health Professional Pathways Advisor.

Updated June 2023