Independent Field Study

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Students may apply to pursue independent global health study for credit. Independent study can be ideal for students who have prior experience and wish to work independently in a challenging setting. Students must identify a faculty advisor and then register for independent study credit (699 in same department as independent study advisor).

Students also must

  • organize a plan of study with professionals in the host country,
  • review plans with their faculty advisor, and
  • register to study abroad in the Global Health Institute. Independent study should be planned four-six months before travel, with all related paperwork completed no less than eight weeks prior to departure*.

Students who pursue independent global health study must take the prerequisite course PHS640, “Foundations in Global Health Practice,” a 1-credit course that will be offered during the spring semester. Please see the timetable for specific information. Please note that PHS 718 is a prerequisite course for PHS 640.

Students who wish to pursue study in countries on the warning list should fill out the Warning List Travel Policy and Exemption Form and submit it to the Global Health Institute at least 12 weeks prior to the planned study. The request will be reviewed by a committee of faculty. Possible reasons for granting an exemption include: student will be pursing a unique educational experience that cannot be gained elsewhere and that is directly related to their graduate studies or career plans; student is a citizen of the country in question; student has considerable experience in the country in question.

*Please complete the Travel Packet and remit to Betsy Teigland, 4270B HSLC.

Travel Packet

Upon return you will be required to submit an Academic Paper and a Reflection Essay to your academic Advisor as well as the Global Health Institute.

Academic Paper: Select a specific health issue in the country where you will study. Review the literature and select at least 2 articles relevant to the issue. Provide a brief summary of the articles and best practices recommended for this issue. Apply this information to the country where you studied. How was the issue managed in your site? How did the management vary from best practices described in the literature? What were the challenges and limitations to best practice? What would you recommend to improve the management of the issue in the country of study? This paper should be at least 2-10 pages in length (500 words per page).

Reflection Essay: Briefly describe your experience over the course of your independent study. Where did you go? What did you do? What was it like? What did you learn? How do you feel this experience may impact you as a physician or global health professional? You are welcome to include excerpts from your personal journal.

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