Certificate FAQs

Program Changes due to COVID-19

Are there any changes to GHP requirements as a result of Covid-19?  The GHP certificate program has made a few temporary changes to program requirements due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They include the following:

  • Until further notice, current and prospective GHP students may take an unlimited number of prerequisites, core courses, and elective courses on a P/D/F basis. This includes courses taken during the spring 2021 semester.
  • The summer research requirement has been made optional for the Class of 2021.  It is encouraged but not required.
  • The summer research requirement has been modified for the Class of 2022. It can be satisfied by a health-focused internship of at least four weeks (which can be remote), by summer health-focused senior thesis research of at least four weeks (which can be remote), or by participation in a GHP-led global health summer book club involving one synchronous moderated group discussion session and a brief response paper.

Coursework

What are the required ("core") courses? The required courses are GHP 350 (Critical Perspectives in Global Health) and GHP 351 (Epidemiology).

Which courses qualify as "health-related" electives? Many courses from departments across the University qualify as "health-related" electives. To see a list of past and current pre-approved GHP electives, consult the health-related courses/electives page. In addition to the courses on the pre-approved list, students may seek credit for other health-related courses, subject to GHP approval.

What if I take a health-related course that does not appear on the list of approved electives? Students may request to fulfill one or more of their elective requirements through completion of other health-related courses that do not appear on the pre-approved list. The course(s) must be at or above the 300-level, and requests for elective credit must be approved by the program.  If you wish to seek credit for a course that is not on the pre-approved list of health-related courses/electives, please contact us. Provide the course name, number, description and link to details on the Registrar's Course Offerings page.

I took some health-related electives before I enrolled in the program. Will these courses count towards the program's elective requirements? You can receive "advance" credit for a maximum of one approved health-related elective that you have completed prior to enrolling in the program.

Am I required to take certificate program courses for a grade? Both of the required core courses (GHP 350 and GHP 351)—must be taken for a grade. One elective course may be taken with the P/D/F grading option. Requests for exceptions to this policy are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to program approval. (Note: this policy has temporarily changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. See above.)

Can I take GHP courses even if I don't enroll in the certificate program? Yes. Non-certificate students are welcome and encouraged to take the core courses, provided that there is space available after all certificate students have enrolled. Certificate students will have priority for most GHP courses.

Where do I send requests or ideas for new courses? Please send your ideas for new courses to ghpprog@princeton.edu. Include the course name, number, description and link to details on the Registrar's Course Offerings page.

Will study abroad courses count towards completion of the certificate?  Maybe. A health-related courses taken on a Princeton study abroad program may count as an elective for the certificate program. All requests for GHP credit for courses taken on study abroad must be reviewed and approved by GHP in advance. In exceptional cases, a course taken at another university may be approved in lieu of one of the core course requirements, with special program approval. If you wish to seek credit for a course offered through a study abroad program or at another university, please contact ghpprog@princeton.edu. Provide the course name, number, description and link to details online.

Which courses qualify as "health-related" electives? Many courses from departments across the University qualify as "health-related" electives. To see a list of past and current pre-approved GHP electives, consult the health-related courses/electives page. In addition to the courses on the pre-approved list, students may seek credit for other health-related courses, subject to GHP approval.

What if I take a health-related course that does not appear on the list of approved electives? Students may request to fulfill one or more of their elective requirements through completion of other health-related courses that do not appear on the pre-approved list. The course(s) must be at or above the 300-level, and requests for elective credit must be approved by the program.  If you wish to seek credit for a course that is not on the pre-approved list of health-related courses/electives, please contact us. Provide the course name, number, description and link to details on the Registrar's Course Offerings page.

Summer Research

What constitutes an acceptable summer research project? To meet the certificate program requirement, the research project must be approved in advance by the program and completed in the summer after junior year. The project must be for a minimum of 8 weeks and must be full-time (at least 35 hours/week) For information on what constitutes an acceptable summer research project, see the GHP certificate requirements(Note: details on summer research projects have temporarily changed during the Covid-19 pandemic. See above. They still may not be carried out before the summer after junior year.)

Can I do my summer research project here in Princeton? Yes. Provided that your research project gives you practical or "hands-on" research experience, you can choose to do your research here in Princeton, including in a lab on campus. 

Can I do my summer research project in another U.S. city or town? Yes. Provided that your research project gives you practical or "hands-on" research experience, you can base your research in a location of your choosing, including another city or town. 

Can I do my summer research project in another country? Yes. Provided that your research project gives you practical or "hands-on" research experience, you can base your research in a location of your choosing, including another country. For international research in particular, we strongly advise you to carry out your project with the support and guidance of a faculty member, an organization that has an office in the country where you will work, and/or a local contact at a host institution with which Princeton has strong ties. This will make it easier to have a positive and productive research experience. Students traveling overseas will be required to participate in a pre-departure orientation and comply with all University policies and procedures regarding international travel.

I want to do a service internship during the summer between my junior and senior year. Can I do this and still fulfill my summer research project requirement? You may do a "service" internship in global health and health policy if the internship includes a research component (i.e., an independent research project conducted as part of the service internship). To meet the certificate program requirement, the internship and research component must be approved by the program in advance.

Does my summer research project have to be part of my senior thesis? No. The summer research will often relate to the research question to be addressed in the senior thesis, but this is not required for the certificate program. Experience has shown, however, that some of the richest thesis projects begin before or during the summer before senior year, and it is generally to the student's advantage to choose a summer research topic that may develop into a thesis.

Do I need to find my own funding for my summer research project? Maybe. Funding for the summer research project depends on the internship or research project being pursued. Some projects and internships come with funding "built-in", and others are unpaid. For unpaid projects or internships, students may apply for funding support through a variety of University channels. The best place to begin is SAFE, Princeton's Student Activities Funding Engine. The certificate program does not guarantee funding support for the summer research project. Each student is responsible for identifying, applying for and receiving the necessary support for her/his summer research project.

I am participating in an internship through a Princeton program. Will this qualify as a summer research project? If the internship is health-related, offers exposure to research and is completed in the summer after junior year, it will usually fulfill the GHP summer requirement. Many internships offered through the International Internship Program, Princeton Internships in Civic Service and the Community-Based Learning Initiative are pre-approved for GHP. View our pre-approved internship list.

I am participating in a faculty member's project that relates to global health and/or health policy. Will this qualify as a summer research project? Usually, yes, provided that participation in the faculty member's research project gives you practical or "hands-on" research experience, and provided the work is full-time (at least 35 hours/week), this will likely meet the certificate program requirement. The research project must still be approved by the program in advance.

Senior Thesis

Do I write my senior thesis in my home department? 
Yes. All students enrolled in the certificate program must complete a senior thesis in their home department that relates to health and/or health policy, with a domestic or international focus. The thesis topic must be approved by the program in the fall of the senior year. In cases where the health-related content of the thesis falls outside the expertise of the departmental advisor, one of the certificate program's postdoctoral fellows or another faculty member may be assigned as an informal mentor.

What constitutes an acceptable senior thesis? 
An acceptable senior thesis is one that is completed in the student's home department and relates to global health and health policy in some way. The focus of the thesis can be domestic or international. Students can satisfy this requirement by writing a chapter that connects the research to health and health policy, or they can addresses a topic of their choosing that is directly relevant to health and health policy. The integration of the thesis to health and health policy will be planned from the outset. The thesis topic must be approved by the program in the fall of the senior year.

I want to do a laboratory research thesis, or "bench" thesis. How can I fulfill the requirement that my senior thesis address or relate to global health and health policy? ​
Students doing laboratory-based ("bench") theses can satisfy this requirement by writing a chapter that connects the research to domestic and/or international health and health policy. If the departmental thesis advisor is not a GHP affiliate and wishes to involve the GHP program, the GHP program will offer a postdoctoral fellow or faculty affiliate to mentor the GHP chapter. If the mentor is not on the student's thesis committee, s/he will read the chapter and will assess whether it fulfills the GHP requirement. The thesis topic must be approved by the program in the fall of the senior year.

I want to do my thesis on a non-health topic. How can I fulfill the requirement that my senior thesis address or relate to global health and health policy? 
Students doing theses on non-health topics can satisfy this requirement by writing a separate research paper on a topic of the student’s choosing that is directly relevant to domestic and/or international health and health policy.  The GHP program will offer a postdoctoral fellow or faculty affiliate to mentor the GHP research paper. The mentor will read the paper and will assess whether it fulfills the GHP requirement. The paper topic must be approved by the program in the fall of the senior year.

Does my summer research project have to be part of my senior thesis? ​
No. Ideally the summer research will inspire the research question to be addressed in the senior thesis, but this is not required for the certificate program. Experience has shown, however, that some of the richest thesis projects begin before or during the summer before senior year, and it is generally to the student's advantage to choose a summer research topic that may develop into a thesis.