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Diseases cross borders—and so do our efforts to drive positive change within the global health realm.

Health is a right, not a privilege, and The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Master’s of Health Science (MHS) in Community and Global Health is guided by that core principle. The master’s degree program prepares you to improve access to health locally and globally. You will build the skills and knowledge to promote health around the world through new community-based approaches. You will perform in-depth research and uncover data that illuminates both challenges and solutions. And you will gain the knowledge and confidence to drive policy changes, determine community needs, address health disparities, and solve pressing health-related challenges.

Our state-of-the-art teaching methods and community-based strategies will prepare you for the realities facing disadvantaged populations and give you the tools to lift up those in need. You’ll integrate perspectives from social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental experts to develop robust strategies that address diverse health issues from the Zika virus and drinking water contamination to endemic challenges such as diabetes and mental health.

The Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Master’s of Health Science in Community and Global Health was created with generous assistance from the Leir Charitable Foundations. It is one of an influential portfolio of programs offered by Clark University’s renowned International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department.

Why a Master’s of Health Science in Community and Global Health at Clark University

  • Accelerated degree options – earn a master’s degree in 12 to 15 months. Two other degree tracks are available to earn your degree in 12 to 24 months.
  • Collaborate with faculty who are working with local and global communities, policymakers, and businesses to introduce crucial changes in health research and policy.
  • Gain a competitive professional edge in a department that has been ranked #15 in the world for development studies (based on academic reputation) by QS World University Rankings.
  • Engage in one of nine departmental concentrations, taking classes with students across IDCE’s degree programs, to tackle significant global challenges on projects that cross geographic and cultural boundaries. Learn to work across teams with diverse intellectual and personal backgrounds to become a change maker.
  • Learn data analysis and methodologies that enable you to effect change in roles such as researcher, nonprofit manager, communications director, and policy developer.
  • Build the critical-thinking, research, and technical skills necessary to reimagine and restructure health systems and address the inadequacies of existing programs.
  • Pursue your master’s degree on your terms with options for part-time and full-time study.  Start dates for the program are in Spring, Summer (online only), and Fall.
Play Video

Fixing the Broken Cycle of Healthcare in Ghana

Priscilla Addae-Konadu is a physician in her native Ghana. Through the MHS in Global Health and Community program, she is gaining a better understanding of global healthcare problems and learning to be an effective policy changemaker.

I look at things more from healthcare because that’s what I’m used to, that’s what I’ve studied, and that’s what I practice.

The Essentials

Program Overview

The IDCE department facilitates transdisciplinary collaboration around 10 concentrations that range from climate change and conservation to youth development, urban regeneration, and health equity. We take a problem-first approach, identifying a pressing issue and then bringing together a diverse team of researchers and practitioners who have the collective expertise to tackle it. Students and faculty members within Community and Global Health pursue provocative, far-reaching questions, such as:

  • What makes a city, community, or region healthy?
  • What are the social and environmental causes of disease?
  • What accounts for disparities in the distribution of disease?
  • How can we ensure more equitable access to health-enabling resources?
  • How can we work to best alleviate some of the world’s most pressing health issues?

You have the flexibility to complete your degree at your own pace — either as a full-time or part-time student, beginning in Spring, Summer (online only), or Fall.

Three separate degree tracks provide students with options for completion of an advanced degree.

  • 10 Unit Degree Option – 12 to 15 months –- 10-unit curriculum consisting of three units of core courses, two units of methods and skills courses, four units of concentration courses, and one completion unit.
  • Prior Experience/Service  Option – 12 months –- This option gives academic credit for prior professional work or service experience which would allow qualified students to complete an IDCE degree in eight units, which could take nine to 12 months. This pathway lets those students focus on building the skills they need to advance their careers and to maximize their impact in the world.
  • Research Track Option – 20 to 24 months — IDCE recognizes that a traditional, two-year residential master’s degree remains attractive to those students interested in conducting independent research as preparation for further graduate study. A research degree track will require 12 units for completion. Under this track, students will complete nine units of work across their first three terms (12 to 15 months). This option differs from the 10-unit Degree Option in that students are required to take a third method or skills course and engage in two units of substantial research in their final term.

Core courses will introduce you to vital concepts and methods such as epidemiology and biostatistics, health disparities, health equity, the global burden in communicable and non-communicable diseases, and health systems. You’ll then have the opportunity to focus your studies by choosing electives that address the relationship between health and a number of other areas: development, food, gender, environment, inequality, healthcare policy, and more.

Your 12th credit will be the culmination of your MHS experience. You may develop an individual or team-based project that allows you to translate knowledge into action, or gain mastery over an additional technical skill or method. You can also work with a faculty member on a research project to apply your skills and demonstrate your knowledge of the subject.

  • Understand health issues facing communities locally and globally
  • Act responsibly and with respect for the multi-dimensional nature of health challenges, including social, economic, cultural, political, and environmental factors
  • Apply appropriate research methodologies effectively
  • Appreciate the ethical implications of health research, practice, and governance
  • Identify and address complex health problems with an awareness of real-world contexts
  • Collaborate with local organizations and communities to create equitable, sustainable programs and solutions
  • Health (In)equity: Social Determinants and Policy Solutions
  • Beyond the Population Bomb
  • Community-Based Participatory Health Research
  • Environmental and Social Epidemiology
  • Spatial Analysis for Health
  • The Political Economy of Food and the Ethics of Eating


10 course units

  • 3 core courses
  • 2 methods or skills courses
  • 4 electives within your concentration
  • 1 completion unit (MHS thesis, MHS paper, collaborative project, or methods/skills course)

Course Catalog

Explore what IDCE has to offer