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FAQs: Answers

Enrollment

Who should enroll in the program?
The program is for undergraduates from all departments who are interested in domestic and/or international health. Any rising junior who meets the prerequisites can enroll. This program is especially recommended for students interested in any one or more of the following subjects: the determinants, consequences, and patterns of disease across societies; the role of medical technologies and interventions in health improvements; and the economic, political, and social factors that shape domestic and global public health.

How do I enroll?
Students interested in enrolling should consult the webpage on How to Apply.

What are the prerequisites for enrollment?
Students interested in enrolling should consult the webpage on Prerequisites.

Are the prerequisite course requirements ever waived?
Waivers of the prerequisites are granted only in extraordinary circumstances. Students who have already covered the material covered in the basic prerequisite courses are advised to take advanced prerequisites, listed on the Prerequisites webpage.

I don't meet the minimum grade requirements for enrollment. Should I still apply?
Students who do not meet the minimum grade requirements at the time of application (during the spring semester of the sophomore year) are still encouraged to apply. The program may accept a student with grades below the minimum requirements when the rest of the application is strong and thoughtfully written. Final eligibility to enroll in the program will be determined after the sophomore year grades from the spring semester have been finalized.

Can I use Advanced Placement (AP) credit in lieu of the prerequisites?
If you placed out of the departmental requirement for one of the science or statistics prerequisite courses by receiving a 5 on an AP exam, you may instead complete a higher-level science or statistics course to fulfill the prerequisite, with permission from the GHP program. For a list of recommended advanced prerequisite courses, see the Prerequisites webpage.

Can I take a prerequisite course during my junior year?
Permission to delay a prerequisite course until the junior year is granted only in extraordinary circumstances. In order to ensure that you will complete your prerequisite courses before the end of your sophomore year, you should consult the program's Course Planning guidelines.

Can I take a prerequisite course at another university during the summer before my junior year?
Permission to take a prerequisite course at another university is granted only in extraordinary circumstances. In order to ensure that you will complete your prerequisite courses at Princeton before the end of your sophomore year, you should consult the program's Course Planning guidelines.

Who can apply to the program?
Students from all departments and areas of study can apply to the program in the spring of their sophomore year, provided that they are on track to meet the prerequisites by the end of sophomore year. Students who cannot meet the prerequisites but are interested in global health and health policy may take program courses (although certificate students will have registration priority) and can do summer research and/or a thesis that relates to the program subject matter.

Requirements

What requirements must I complete to get the certificate?
To read the full program requirements for receipt of the certificate, consult the webpage on Program of Study

Are any requirements ever waived?
Program requirements may not be waived, but in exceptional cases students may be allowed to satisfy one or more of the program requirements through alternative coursework or independent study. These allowances are very rare and require special approval from the program co-directors.

Courses

What are the required ("core") courses?
The required courses are GHP 350 (Critical Perspectives on Global Health and Health Policy) and GHP 351 (Epidemiology). For more information on these courses, consult the webpage on Core courses.

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

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 ghpprog@princeton.edu.

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. Permission for advance credit for more than one course may be granted only in exceptional cases, at the discretion of the program co-directors.

Am I required to take certificate program courses for a grade?
Both of the required core courses—GHP 350 (Critical Perspectives on Global Health and Health Policy) and GHP 351 (Epidemiology)—must be taken for a grade. One elective course may be taken with the P/D/F grading option.

In exceptional cases a student may be allowed to utilize the P/D/F grading option for more than one elective course or for a core course; these requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to program approval.

Can I take Global Health and Health Policy courses even if I don't enroll?
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 Global Health and Health Policy courses.

Where do I send requests or ideas for new courses?
Please send your ideas for new courses to ghpprog@princeton.edu.

Summer research project

What constitutes an acceptable summer research project?
For information on what constitutes an acceptable summer research project, consult the webpage on the Research Project Requirement.

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. To meet the certificate program requirement, the research project must be approved by one of the program's co-directors. (In exceptional cases, the student may complete a library research project with special permission from the program co-directors.)

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. To meet the certificate program requirement, the research project must be approved by one of the program's co-directors. (In exceptional cases, the student may complete a library research project with special permission from the program co-directors.)

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. To meet the certificate program requirement, the research project must be approved by one of the program's co-directors. (In exceptional cases, the student may complete a library research project with special permission from the program co-directors.)

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. Ideally the summer research will 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 funding support through a variety of University channels.

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.

For information on funding options, consult the webpage on summer research project funding.

Where can I find out information about possible research projects and/or internships?
There are several different avenues through which you can identify summer research opportunities. For a list of sources inside and outside of the University, consult the webpage on summer research opportunities.

I am participating in a Health Grand Challenge project on global health and infectious disease. Will this qualify as a summer research project?
Usually, yes. Health Grand Challenges projects are typically designed to give undergraduates practical research experience in topics addressing global health and infectious disease. A Health Grand Challenge research project must still be approved in advance by the program. For more information on Grand Challenges and projects on infectious disease, visit the Grand Challenges website.

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, 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 global health and/or health policy. The thesis must be approved by one of the faculty co-directors.

In cases where the section(s) on global health and health policy falls outside the expertise of the departmental thesis advisor, one of the certificate program's postdoctoral fellows or another faculty member will be assigned to mentor the final chapter. The final-chapter mentor will not be asked to participate in the final thesis exam (unless s/he is also a faculty member in the student's home department and is on the student's thesis committee), but the mentor will be asked to read the chapter and write a one-paragraph evaluation of the work. This evaluation will be taken into consideration as the examiners grade the thesis.

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/or health policy in some way. Students can satisfy this requirement by writing a chapter that either connects their research to global health and health policy, or addresses a topic of their choosing that is directly relevant to global health and health policy. The integration of these two areas will be planned from the outset.

In cases where the section(s) on global health and health policy falls outside the expertise of the departmental thesis advisor, one of the certificate program's postdoctoral fellows or another faculty member will be assigned to mentor the final chapter. The final-chapter mentor will not be asked to participate in the final thesis exam (unless s/he is also a faculty member in the student's home department and is on the student's thesis committee), but the mentor will be asked to read the chapter and write a one-paragraph evaluation of the work. This evaluation will be taken into consideration as the examiners grade the thesis.

The thesis must be approved by one of the faculty co-directors.

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 either connects their research to global health and health policy, or addresses a topic of their choosing that is directly relevant to global health and health policy. The integration of these two areas will be planned from the outset and will involve periodic consultation with the departmental advisor and a "final-chapter mentor".

In cases where the chapter on global health and health policy falls outside the expertise of the departmental thesis advisor, one of the certificate program's postdoctoral fellows or another faculty member will be assigned to mentor the final chapter. The final-chapter mentor will not be asked to participate in the final thesis exam (unless s/he is also a faculty member in the student's home department and is on the student's thesis committee), but the mentor will be asked to read the chapter and write a one-paragraph evaluation of the work. This evaluation will be taken into consideration as the examiners grade the thesis.

The thesis must be approved by one of the faculty co-directors.

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.

Study abroad

Can I participate in the program if I plan to study abroad in my junior year?
Yes, but please plan in advance. Students in the certificate program are expected to take GHP350 and GHP351 before the end of junior year. If you plan to study abroad during any of your junior year, you should contact the program about the option of taking a core course during your sophomore year.

For more information on how to plan to complete the GHP program requirements and study abroad, please refer to the Study Abroad Plan in the Course Planning section of the website.

Will study abroad courses count towards completion of the certificate?
Maybe. Health-related courses taken for a grade as part of a Princeton study abroad program will likely count as electives for the certificate program. Up to one health-related course taken with the P/D/F grading option as part of a study abroad program (either through Princeton or another institution) may also count as an elective for the certificate program. All requests for credit for courses taken on study abroad must be reviewed and approved by the program co-directors.

In exceptional cases, a course taken at another university may be approved in lieu of one of the core course requirements, with special approval from the program.