Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy

Key Features

SIT Student at the UN Library

Engage with experts in the health and development sectors in the exciting environment of Geneva.
Students have outstanding opportunities throughout the semester to learn from and engage with experts from academic and international organizations headquartered in Geneva. The knowledge and field experience of key program contacts provides students with concrete illustrations of public health, development policy implementation, and best practices in the area of health and development.

NGOs with which interactions may be possible include: The International Centre for Migration Health and Development, Red Cross Geneva, The Global Institute for Water Environment and Health, and Althea. Engagement with a particular NGO may or may not require French language ability.

Students receive an individual pass to the United Nations library, which they can use for the entire semester.  Most of the program’s lectures and French classes take place on a campus-like environment in Nyon, a charming city located on the shores of Lake Geneva. Nyon is located between Geneva (a 15-minute train ride) and Lausanne (a 25-minute train ride).

Study in contrasting environments.
As a result of the program’s comparative approach, students are able to consider the complexity of healthcare systems, and health and development policy, from diverse vantage points. Students witness global health systems from a centralized policy and decision-making perspective in Geneva as well as localized applications of health and development programs in a rural setting in Morocco.

Gain new competencies in French.
The program fully accommodates beginner, intermediate, and advanced students of French. French instruction—offered at a variety of language levels—is an important part of the overall curriculum. All French courses emphasize speaking and comprehension skills. The excursion to Morocco exposes students to the subtleties and diversity of the French language.

Complete an independent research project.
Students spend four weeks near the end of the semester working on an Independent Study Project (ISP), pursuing original research on a selected topic of interest to them. The ISP is conducted in Geneva or in another approved location appropriate to the project.

Sample topic areas include:

  • 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

Several students choose to work with an ISP advisor, an individual who has expertise in the student's field of interest. In the past, advisors have included the program’s academic director or academic coordinator, policy experts, program practitioners, medical professionals, and other experts. In addition to providing needed expertise, the advisor works with his/her student on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the student’s research project.

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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