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Doctoral Seminar, Collaborative Specialization in Global Health

Course Number
5700 (Global Health)
Course Instructor(s)
Erica Di Ruggiero

Course Description

This global health seminar is designed to deepen the knowledge base of doctoral students about interdisciplinary approaches and responses to global health issues and challenges, provide career training opportunities related to global health research, policy and practice, and help students develop skills that advance their research objectives. The overarching theme for the course is: Delivering on the bold policy agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The course will consist of a mix of faculty- and student-led seminars. Seminar speakers will address one or more of the following sub-themes related to the SDGs: governance, intersectoral action, public/private partnerships, sustainability, scale-up of interventions, human rights, equity, etc. from their respective disciplinary and topical perspectives.  Students enrolled in the seminar will also be encouraged to attend related Collaborative Specialization in Global Health (CSGH) global health events. Networking and informal mentoring between students and faculty are encouraged inside and outside of the classroom.

Course Objectives

Students will:

1) Gain substantive knowledge about global health issues and challenges, and how different disciplinary approaches can be applied to address them;

2) Engage in dynamic and critical knowledge exchange, skills-building and networking in areas relevant to global health and related research, policy and practice;

3) Develop academic and professional skills, and gain insights about how to build careers in global health research, policy, and practice.

Methods of Assessment

This is a pass/fail course. In order to receive a passing grade, students must do the following:

1) Participation

Actively participate in 90% of seminars during the fall and winter terms. I. Students are expected to act as a discussant for one seminar during the year. Each student should prepare remarks and a few discussion questions based on the readings and the speaker’s presentation topic. Each student should sign up for one of the fall/winter semester seminars as soon as possible. Depending on student enrollment, more than one student may be assigned to each presenter.
II. All students are expected to participate in at least two global health events, conferences, symposia, activities, etc. outside of the seminar for the duration of the course. Students will receive regular emails about global health relevant events at U of T and in the GTA. Students should send a brief note to the instructor listing which two events they attended when they submit their final assignment.

2) Writing Assignments: Deadlines: see below

Students will be expected to complete two assignments. Students are encouraged to consult the course instructor early and often about their assignments. For students who fully participate in either a major co-curricular activity (e.g. Case Competition, Mock World Health Assembly (WHA) initiative, Global Health Challenge organized by the Centre for Global Health), their participation will count as one of the two assignments and for their other assignment, they can choose an option from those listed under second assignment.

I. First Assignment

i) All students will be required to prepare an article for submission to Juxtaposition ( The objective of this assignment is to develop skills for communicating research to non-academic audiences. Students are encouraged to consider articles related to current events, talks, symposia, and their own research. With permission from the instructor, students can also prepare an article for submission to another publication venue. 

II. Second Assignment – please select one from the following options This assignment aims to develop skills in effectively communicating research to different audiences (researchers, donors, peers, etc.) Students must confirm which assignment they will complete with the course instructor.

i) Commentary on a global health research topic for submission to a peer review journal of your choice. Students will need to defend their choice of journal and prepare a draft commentary according to journal requirements. ii) Global health research proposal to a donor of your choice. Students must also provide a brief rationale for selecting the donor and information on which call for funding their proposal responds to.

3) Presentation

I. All students must present on their own research. This is great opportunity to test-run a thesis proposal presentation, an approach to analyzing your findings or to share a preliminary draft of a conference paper, and get feedback from an interdisciplinary group of your peers and the course instructor. There will be sessions set aside for student presentations at the end of each semester (see class schedule).