Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy


Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in development studies; public health; or the social, economic, and political sciences, as assessed by SIT. No previous background in French is required. Students with a background in French will have multiple opportunities to practice their French language skills.

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The program’s thematic seminars explore alternative models of public health systems in the context of developed, developing, and transitional societies. Looking at the role of public health within international development requires examination of diverse organizational strategies, programs, and projects of public health policy for major diseases, epidemics, and pandemics. A comparative approach to public health delivery allows a critique of national and international public health agendas and public health support systems. The program also emphasizes the crucial nexus between health, the environment, and development.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Development Policy and Health - syllabus (PDF)
(IPBH 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course explores how public health and development are interrelated using, as a starting point, the evolution from standard theories to modern concepts of development. In particular, the course examines the major determinants of health issues in developing countries and the corresponding responses, as well as the impact of local and international policies on health in developing countries. The course reviews the role of microfinance in local development projects and the role of national and international agencies, as well as nongovernmental agencies, in development planning and project implementation. The course also studies critical aspects of development, such as access to clean water, sanitation, and healthy nutrition.

Perspectives on Global Health - syllabus (PDF)
(IPBH 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course explores the main components and current issues of public health in an international context, drawing on knowledge and point of views from multiple disciplines including epidemiology, pharmacology, and social and medical sciences. The course begins with a review of the main concepts in public health—including epidemiology, cost-effectiveness, relationships of public health, and development—and explores various health systems in an attempt to explain the unequal distribution of health and disease in the world. It then analyzes the rationale for improving global health and the relevant modes of intervention by exploring a number of current and emergent topics, including health in migrant populations, mental health, epidemics management, access to medicine, and health security. The course is interrelated with the program’s other courses to ensure a dynamic and holistic approach to global health and development.

Intensive Language Study: French I- syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: French II - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: French III - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: French IV - syllabus (PDF)
(FREN 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.

Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 /3 credits / 45 class hours)
The Research Methods and Ethics seminar provides the theoretical, conceptual, and practical tools for conducting field research in Switzerland and Morocco. The course also includes several field studies, which give students the chance to apply concepts learned in class. The course helps students to learn about and adapt to different cultures and environments. Emphasis is placed on grappling with cultural differences, as well as on identifying cultural similarities.

The course focuses on strengthening interactive research skills and methods, such as exploring cultural and professional environments; conducting background research; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; applying field study ethics; gathering and organizing data; and maintaining a fieldwork journal. The ethical implications and consequences of observations, interviews, and fieldwork journal assignments are examined and discussed throughout.

The concepts and skills developed in the seminar underlie and reinforce all other program requirements and link directly to the Independent Study Project.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Geneva or another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: development and health in complex emergencies; the health sector in peacebuilding operations; international human rights to health; mental health in developing countries; migration and health; international, national, and regional response to epidemics and pandemics; water and health; the paradox of malnutrition.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Nyon/Geneva

Language Study: French

Prerequisites: Coursework in development studies, public health, or the social, economic, or political sciences. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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