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AU Nairobi | Public Health

Program Structure

AU student and supervisor in the lab where student interned

Nairobi, Kenya is the center of medical and health studies for East Africa. For public health students who desire to study in Kenya during the fall semester, this 17-credit AU Nairobi program is a perfect fit.

The AU Nairobi Public Health program provides strong academics, an “on the ground” urban internship experience, and has students create a community health survey for a rural population – all within a well-structured and dynamic setting. Our partnership with the University of Nairobi School of Public Health provides AU Nairobi public health students with a stimulating study environment, and an academic wherewithal to understand issues of public health in Kenya specifically and the developing world in general.

Most courses are front-loaded during the first half of the semester so that students can build up to full-time hours at their internships the second half of the semester. Housing varies between urban and rural homestays, in addition to shared apartment living in a vibrant Nairobi neighborhood. AU Nairobi program excursions in various parts of Kenya deepen academic and personal understanding of all Kenya has to offer.

While AU Nairobi public health students are not allowed to undertake any activities that might be considered practice in medicine, students can shadow the doctors, accompany healthcare providers on home visits, organize and digitize medical records and participate in various public health education campaigns in communities where they intern.

If a public health student has already taken a class from the list below, only in this circumstance is it possible for a student to take a course from the Contemporary Issues in Kenya and Africa program.

Academics (Fall)

Community Public Health

PUBH-330; 3 credits

This course discusses processes involved in a systematic approach to the development, implementation and evaluation of community diagnosis as part of interventions that set out to improve public health, with an emphasis on applications in community settings. Upon completion of the course, students will understand the role of community diagnosis in health planning and evaluation and describe procedures involved in conducting a community diagnosis survey. This course is taught at the University of Nairobi for the AU Nairobi Public Health program with a rural component in western Kenya.


SABD-391; 3 credits

The internship is a vital part of students' growth and knowledge in such an urban African city as Nairobi. Opportunities are plenty for students to intern with organizations which allow "on the ground" experience and direct interaction with partners and managers in the public health arena. Many alumni of the Public Health program have found their Nairobi internship placements to be integral to their academic and professional development in the field.

Environmental Health

ENVS-324; 3 credits

This course will examine the physical, chemical and biological factors in the environment that impact community health and health behaviors. The concept and methods of risk assessment will be discussed, as well as how health‐supportive environments can be created and maintained. This course is taught at the University of Nairobi for the AU Nairobi Public Health program.

Fundamentals of Epidemiology

PUBH-340; 3 credits

This course covers the fundamentals of epidemiology. Epidemiology is one of the disciplines of public health that is concerned with prevention and control of diseases and other health‐related conditions in populations. At the end of the course, students shall be able to apply the basic epidemiological concepts in public health practice. Students need to have taken Basic Statistics prior to registering for this course. This course is taught at the University of Nairobi for the AU Nairobi Public Health program.


SWAH-xxx; 3 credits

Kiswahili is spoken by more than 100 million Africans in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern Congo and northern Mozambique, southern Sudan and several islands off the Indian Ocean. Being able to master basic skills in Kiswahili is rewarding for several reasons -- it allows you to develop a good rapport with Kenyans you meet in your daily interactions, it separates you from tourists, and it opens you up to learning other Bantu-based languages that a third of Africans speak. It’s also fun. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

Immersion in Another Culture

SABD-325; 1 credit

This course is designed to facilitate your immersion into Kenyan culture in order to maximize your study abroad experience. The class will look at aspects of Kenya’s diverse and complex culture in the context of being an international student. We will explore cultural patterns, identity, ethnicity, gender and stereotypes through an anthropological lens. Guest lecturers will be invited to share their expertise on specific topics. Although this course is based at the AU Nairobi Center, all local and extended stay excursions for the semester are part of your earned grade.

Kenya History Survey

SABD-325; 1 credit

This course seeks to provide a history of Kenya through a range of topics from: Pre-colonial Kenya societies; establishment of colonialism, the settlement of Kenya by the Europeans and colonial economy; anti-colonial African nationalism; the world wars and their impacts on Kenya; the Mau Mau revolution; and Kenya in the post-colonial Cold War context. We will also examine the most pressing issues facing Kenya in the period of Neo-liberal reforms and the globalization of the twenty first century. Examining these themes will serve as our introduction to history of Kenya in hope that, this history will give the students a contextual understanding of contemporary Kenya and its peoples. This course is taught at the AU Nairobi Center.

"I would recommend this program to other students because I gained so much from being here. I have grown so much both in knowledge of my field and as a person. I can confidently say that choosing to study abroad in Kenya was the best decision that I made. I have learned so much from my time here; Kenya has changed my life for the better."

- Student Evaluation