graduation caps flying through the air

B.A. Program

The Global and Community Health (GCH) B.A. program serves students who aspire to a wide range of careers in:

  • Healthcare
  • Health policy
  • Public health
  • Community-based work (either locally or globally) related to the social  determinants of health.

Biosocial emphasis

It is possible to go on to apply to Medical School if you take our BA, so long as you also complete a sub-set of the GCH BS science pre-req courses.  But beyond a traditional biomedical training, the biosocial emphasis of our BA creates pathways into a diverse set of other health-related careers as well.

What you’ll learn

Students in the degree learn about the social, cultural, political and economic determinants of health and health policy as they  intersect with biological and environmental influences across scales from the molecular to the planetary. They are taught how to put local community experiences of healthcare and health vulnerability into national and global contexts, and they develop critical cultural, legal and historical literacy about associated narratives and representations of disease, well-being and health rights.

B.S. Program

The Global and Community Health (GCH) B.S. program serves students who aspire to a wide range  of careers ranging from:

  • Direct patient care
  • Health policies
  • Translational research
  • Disease surveillance

Biological emphasis

Students learn about the biological bases of health and disease and how social, political, economic and environmental factors interact with the biology to create patterns of disease in communities and societies. Students also complete an internship in a healthcare setting.

What you’ll learn

Students may choose from two concentrations. The Biomedical Concentration is directed at students who are intent on gaining rigorous preparation for  professional training in direct patient care (e.g., medical, dentistry, pharmacy schools). The Public and Community Health Concentration, while still compatible with many professional school programs, is designed for students who wish to receive a broader education that will prepare them to understand both the biological and environmental determinants of health as they relate to disease surveillance and wider political and economic influences. 

In both degree programs, B.A. and B.S., students are required to complete a capstone course entitled ‘Global and Community Health Task Force’ (GCH 190) in which they work in interdisciplinary teams to research a real world health challenge and collaborate in writing a report that recommends responses.

Photo of two female students at graduation, walking and smiling.

Our Goal

Just as healthcare and public health are interdisciplinary endeavors, so is our Global and Community Health program. Faculty from across all five academic divisions teach and participate with us, and students in the B.A. and B.S. work together in interdisciplinary classes in the beginning, middle and end of their degree programs. Our goal is for GCH students to leave UCSC with a broad and sophisticated understanding of what health means for individuals, communities, nations and the planet.

Last modified: Jan 16, 2024