Health Students

Pathway Explore Global Health

The Explore option in the Global Health Pathway is meant for UCSF health professional students who have not made a commitment to become part of an official pathway. This option supports students who are investigating global health through short-term clinical or research experiences. These international placements usually range from 1 to 3 months, and often take place in the summer between first and second year, or during the elective periods of third or fourth-year students.  This option seeks to help students connect with placements in areas of specific interest, and provides counseling on health, safety, and funding issues. All such exploring students who seek funding, credit, or who plan on doing research should contact the Explore advisor to schedule a meeting.

Pathway Explore Global Health Requirements

Pathway to Discovery in Global Health

The Pathway to Discovery in Global Health is a program for UCSF health professional students who want to make a commitment to become part of the official pathway. This Pathway supports students who are involved in global health through in-depth course work as well as longer-term clinical or research experiences. Most students take the initial course - GHS101 - in the winter quarter of their first or second year. Students then meet with the Global Health Pathway advisors in the winter of third year and begin looking for a project. Application to the Global Health Pathway occurs in June between third and fourth year, and the project is further developed during the fourth year summer and during the September full-time training and leadership course. International placements typically last 2 months, and take place during fourth-year elective time. This option prepares students to be successful in global health careers. Students who become very engaged in global health may wish to pursue additional courses and international work through yearlong MPH programs, funded fellowships, or the Masters Program in Global Health at UCSF.

Global Health Pathway Requirements

Listed below are the core Global Health Pathway requirements. For additional requirements of the MDwD in Global Health click here.

  • GHS 101 in first or second year
  • GHS 103 in or before final year
  • Works In Progress Sessions throughout the fourth year 
  • Project completion with close faculty mentorship
  • Final project presentation with abstract and poster before graduation in May

In addition to program requirements, all health students who go abroad must complete Pre-Departure and Post-Return Safety and Security Requirements.


Course Offerings

The Pathway to Discovery in Global Health presently offers the following courses. Future additions will be developed as the program continues to grow.

  • Introduction to Global Health (GHS 101, W Q).
  • Global Health Pathway Core Skills and Project Development (GHS 103, F Q).
  • A Longitudinal Works-in-Progress Series. During these sessions, students who are working on projects will present their work and receive feedback, as well as further develop global health leadership skills. The series will meet quarterly, and attendance and participation will be required for Pathways completion.
  • IDS 140.20 - Pathway learners can apply for academic credit for independent project work here. Learners must apply for academic credit at least three weeks prior to the start of the period in which they want to earn credit.

Global Health Pathways Projects and Legacies

The legacy product is a required for students enrolled in the Pathway to Global Health, including Global Clinical Health Scholars. This scholarly project can be focused on research, education or health interventions. The legacy projects will be evaluated by a committee, including members of the Graduate Group in Global Health Sciences. Most projects incorporate an experiential component, as explained below (some schools/programs do not support this). In addition to scholarly academic merit, global health legacy products should demonstrate benefit to the country or populations within which they are conducted, along with a degree of longevity or sustainability.


June 1st Deadline: The Pathways to Discovery Application & Project Proposal Form


Legacy Products

Examples of topics

Legacy products can include:

  • building or adding to ongoing longitudinal research projects
  • health intervention programs
  • educational efforts at the various field sites
  • evaluation of the above types of projects
  • policy briefs

Examples of formats

  Project Format Evaluation

A publication, or quality manuscript that adds knowledge to the field, is an original review of a topic area, and is of publishable quality.

Judged purely on research value, but the benefit to the research subjects and how the research results will be disseminated back to them will also be considered.
2 When time and other constraints may limit the ability to collect sufficient original data, an adequate review of relevant literature along with a full report on the research activity may be considered an adequate legacy. Judged to be publishable according to the standard set by the Graduate Group, including the expectation that the manuscript adds knowledge to the field, and is an original review of a topic area.
3 Curricular project with clear linkage to the Pathways such as a formal case study for use in the curriculum or a short course that is actually conducted, with its efficacy assessed and included in a report. Peer review in an appropriate venue such as MedEd Portal.
4 A policy document that serves the needs of a host country, agency, or project; for example, a program evaluation with measurable outcomes and recommendations for improvement. Judged to be publishable according to the standard set by the Graduate Group.


Role of mentors and other faculty in evaluation

To help the Pathways leadership with product evaluations, we will require standardized reports from a UCSF mentor. If a project is done at an international site, an evaluation report is sent from that site by a UCSF faculty member, or a host site supervisor. To identify potential mentors, visit this link.


Experiential Component

  • Students can use work in international settings for development or implementation of projects, including clinical work, research, program evaluation or implementation, and medical education programs.
  • Timing of these activities will be shaped partly by the specific school and/or program of each trainee.
  • Students can increase this experiential time by adding an extra year to their training, enrolling in the UCSF Masters Program in Global Health, obtaining an MPH, or pursuing other options for a 5th year, including a variety of fellowship/funded opportunities.
  • Opportunities will be preferentially focused in areas where UCSF has established or is establishing long-term relationships.
  • Recent pathways scholars are available here.


All learners present their work in at least one venue appropriate to their project and career plans.

  • All students will present their projects at the Pathways Symposium in May of Pathway completion year.
  • Global Health learners can also present their projects at professional conferences related to their project.