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Global Health & Development Policy

Explore global health issues and compare public health systems within the framework of international and sustainable development, humanitarian action, human rights, and social justice.

At a Glance





Language of Study


Courses taught in



Jun 3 – Jul 16

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being


Why study abroad in Switzerland?

Geneva is the world capital of public health and sustainable development organizations, making it the ideal place to study global health and development policy. You will build your understanding of these issues through a combination of in-class lectures by academic and policy experts and site visits and briefings with leading intergovernmental and nongovernmental health and development agencies in Geneva. While on your program, you may have opportunities to meet with experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), International Committee of the Red Cross, and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), among others.


  • Attend on-site briefings with experts at intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations like WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières.
  • Explore Switzerland with a travel pass offering free public transportation.
  • Rapidly improve your French language skills through intensive instruction.
  • Examine public health issues through site visits and lectures from professionals in the field.


None required, but students with at least basic French proficiency will be at a linguistic advantage.

program map


Site Visits in Geneva

While on the program, you will visit leading global health agencies in Geneva, the global capital for intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations focused on health, humanitarian action, and human rights. The city is home to agencies including the World Health Organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Stop TB, the Global Fund, United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, the World Food Program, the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Environmental Program, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and the South Centre*, among others. These site visits will provide opportunities to learn from and engage with experts on issues related to public health, development, and social justice, through briefings and lectures.

*SIT Study Abroad will arrange site visits with a number of the organizations above, as well as others that may not be listed here. However, site visits with specific organizations cannot be guaranteed at this time and are subject to change based on scheduling and availability.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Identify the roles and mandates of leading global health and development agencies. 
  • Analyze the relationship between global and local health challenges. 
  • Illustrate how determinants of health impact the burden of disease in various settings. 
  • Assess the impact of development policies and initiatives on public and global health. 
  • Explain the nexus between public health and food security and nutrition. 
  • Increase speaking, listening, and writing proficiency in French. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


Access virtual library guide.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. 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.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Health security and international health regulations
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  • Links between health, human rights, the environment, and development
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  • Understanding vulnerable groups, such as migrants and refugees
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  • Healthcare interventions in complex emergencies

Global Health and Development Policy

Global Health and Development Policy – syllabus
(IPBH-3000 / 3 credits)

This course introduces global health while elaborating on the institutional and government complexities of Geneva as the world capital city of health and humanitarian action, while also investigating the specific contribution and impact of development agencies on public and global health. The specific experiential learning approach combines in-class lectures by academic and policy experts and site visits and briefings at the headquarters of intergovernmental and nongovernmental health and development agencies.


Beginning French I – syllabus
(FREN-1003 / 3 credits)

Intermediate French I – syllabus
(FREN-2003 / 3 credits)

Advanced French I – syllabus
(FREN-3003 / 3 credits)



You’ll spend six weeks living with a Swiss or international family outside Nyon. During the homestay, you may enjoy outings with your host family for activities like tennis, swimming, or hiking, or to attend cultural attractions such as music festivals, art exhibitions, museums, or theaters.

Homestay families are usually middle class and reflect the cultural diversity of Switzerland; many speak more than one language (often German, English, and/or Italian) in addition to French. Living with your homestay family will help you improve your French language skills and gain insight into the traditional values of Switzerland, such as tolerance, federalism, neutrality, and direct democracy.

Nyon is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, about 15 miles from downtown Geneva, and most homestay families live within the surrounding area. You will commute to classes and program activities in Nyon and Geneva just like the locals, using the region’s excellent public transportation system.

Career Paths

A diverse group of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience with SIT. Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:

  • Innovations analyst at Duke University’s Innovation and Technology Policy Lab, Durham, NC

  • Associate consultant with Bain and Company, Boston, MA

  • Research intern at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

  • Intern at the World Health Organization, Venice, Italy

  • Intern at MD Anderson Cancer Institute, Houston, TX

Faculty & Staff

Switzerland: Global Health & Development Policy

Alexandre Lambert, PhD bio link
Alexandre Lambert, PhD
Academic Director
Françoise Flourens, MA bio link
Françoise Flourens, MA
Academic Coordinator
 bio link

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to ensuring that international education is within reach for all students. We believe in the transformative power of immersive, intercultural experiences and are dedicated to supporting students in their educational journey.

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    A critical step in preparing for your study abroad program is planning how you will maintain your health and wellbeing. Please review the following information carefully and contact [email protected] with any questions or concerns.

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