Undergraduate Colloquium

Undergraduate colloquium

Diverse skills, academic interests, and experiences are needed to solve global health challenges.

Addressing global health challenges, such as malaria, is increasingly about integration – making connections across disciplines and synthesizing knowledge from across levels of analysis to inform decision-making.

How can we apply the successes of Amazon.com’s and Apple’s supply chain strategies to drug delivery in sub Saharan Africa? What is the correlation between disease burden and economic growth at the country level? What lessons can be learned from the smallpox eradication campaign? How can mathematical models be used to understand transmission? How can parasite biology inform public policy?

Harvard’s new, multidisciplinary undergraduate colloquium—Defeating Malaria: From the Genes to the Globe, offers students a deeper understanding of the complexities of global health challenges by examining an ancient global health problem and analyzing it from a continuum of disciplines and perspectives—all the way from the genes to the globe.

  • Using malaria as a lens to explore complex aspects of global health, students gain a practical understanding of how economic, political, cultural, biological, and historical factors have shaped this disease.
  • Students gain a better understanding of the role different sectors and disciplines play in addressing major global health challenges.
  • The colloquium serves as an important launching point for students’ future career and course planning, pre/post international research/experience preparation, and thesis development.

The colloquium consists of four 2 hour-long evening sessions, where students work closely with expert faculty on different aspects of the challenges and approaches to global malaria eradication, from the biology of the parasite to interventions and environmental factors, as well as economic and policy considerations. The first three sessions provide students with the necessary foundation to actively participate in a case study which occurs during the fourth and final session. Upon completion of all sessions, students receive a letter of recommendation from the organizing faculty affirming their participation in the colloquium.

Why you should participate in the Undergraduate Colloquium.

Students with broad academic interests are encouraged to register for the colloquium; prior coursework in global health is not needed. Students with planned international research/experiential projects, including students who have recently completed an international experience are also encouraged to register. Past or future travel purposes do not need to be related to malaria or global health.

The colloquium is led by faculty from the Harvard T.H. School of Public Health, including the distinguished molecular biologist, Professor Dyann Wirth, recently honored with the Joseph Augustin LePrince Medal, and leading demographer Professor Marcia Castro.

This is a unique opportunity for students to meet leading global health experts from across the university and gain a better understanding of the role different sectors and disciplines play in addressing major global health challenges.


Harvard College students can apply to the Spring 2017 Defeating Malaria Undergraduate Colloquium here. Please contact us with any questions.


Harvard’s Defeating Malaria Undergraduate Colloquium is co-sponsored by Harvard Global Health Institute.