Master of Public Health/International Course in Health Development; Health Systems Policy and Management track

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Starting date17/09/2018
Duration1 year
Course dates (2018-2019)17-09-2018 until 06-09-2019
KIT application deadline OKP applicants26-02-2018
OKP application deadline26-03-2018
KIT application deadline other funding01-07-2018
Duration1 year
LocationKIT Amsterdam
FeeEUR 16.841 (2018)

This course is targeted at those who aspire to management positions in the public health. This track is designed specifically for those who wish to work at the interface of policy and management, withing different health systems contexts.

The Master of Public Health/International Course in Health Development (MPH/ICHD) is an annual 12-month MPH programme organized by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). Participants can choose from the following two study tracks:

  • Health Systems Policy & Management track
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health track

KIT has launched the ‘Women Leaders in Global Health Development Initiative’  and as part of this initiative we strongly encourage women to apply.

The MPH is accredited by the Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO).


Public health in a changing environment

Health systems in low-and middle-income countries face a wide range of complex challenges. These
challenges include, but are not limited to: the inequalities in health and healthcare; the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases; the challenges presented by the unfolding demographic transition; the health needs in fragile environments, and the call for equity.
The worlds of international and national health governance and financing are also increasingly complex and interconnected. Globally, there is also a greater recognition of, and emphasis upon the importance of working in partnerships, at all times, to provide evidence-based public health solutions for continuously improving the quality and responsiveness of health services. Providing an effective response to these issues requires well-trained professionals able to solve complex public health problems systematically,
using a partnership approach.

Course Objectives

The MPH/ICHD is designed to develop the capacity of senior health managers to use an integrated,
multi-disciplinary approach to address health problems in their country.
At the end of the programme, you will be able to:

  • Critically assess population health status and identify population health problems, risk factors and
    determinants, and determine health needs.
  • Appraise the role of health systems in terms of fundamental goals, functions, actors and performance.
  • Influence effective policy-making and strategic planning concerning interventions aiming at
    improving public health, taking into account scientific evidence, good practice and local context.
  • Creatively implement, cost-effective, quality client-centred strategies and interventions.
  • Monitor and evaluate health interventions by effectively managing human, financial and logistic
    resources in the dynamic global and local context.
  • Work professionally across different sectors, different cultures, disciplines and institutional levels, with private and public actors, and through advocacy, communication and networking.
  • Identify research needs; commission research, and critically analyse and translate research results into policy and practice.
  • Incorporate a pro-poor and equity approach in all actions.
  • Continuously examine and critically self-reflect on their own cultural competence, motivation, practice and values, adjust them accordingly, and act as an agent of change.

MPH/ICHD participants have the option choosing between two tracks:

  • MPH/ICHD track in Health Systems Policy & Management
  • MPH/ICHD track in Sexual and Reproductive Health

First trimester: Core modules for all tracks

  • Introduction
  • Epidemiology and statistics
  • Learning and communication skills
  • Social determinants of Health
  • Health systems and policy making
  • Health planning

The introduction to the MPH/ICHD starts with the learning and communication skills that will be needed throughout the course. These skills include internet searches for health-related information and literature, use of the library, and presentation and writing skills.

In the first trimester, students are introduced to the broad categories of factors that influence health: culture, lifestyle, socio-economic, political and natural environments and the impact of the health care delivery system. Throughout the course we emphasise the gendered nature of these factors.

Participants are introduced to the basic concepts and tools for the analysis and discussion of health problems through modules in health planning and management. These include health economics and financing, epidemiology and statistics. The basic knowledge and skills acquired or reinforced in the first part of the course will be applied to a practical strategic planning exercise carried out in small groups. Towards the end of the first trimester, students begin to clarify the topic of their thesis and investigate the literature related to that topic.

Second trimester: Advanced modules for all tracks

Advanced modules for the MPH track in Health Systems Policy and Management:

In the second trimester the course examines in more depth; human resources development, health policy and financing, and health sector reforms. The module on health systems research includes participatory, qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. It prepares students to assess other’s research proposals and to develop their own. The trimester concludes with modules on sexual and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS and strategies to address communicable and non-communicable diseases, including public health emergencies as well as nutrition. Students write most of their thesis at this stage, and make a class presentation leading to a debate.

Third trimester

  • Visit WHO in Geneva
  • Thesis
  • Oral examination

With guidance from an advisor, participants write a thesis on an important health problem they have been involved with in their country. The aim is to systematically analyse the problem and make suggestions for its solution based on qualitative and quantitative information, and on literature review.

The last three months of the course are devoted to finalising the thesis with individual supervision and visiting the World Health Organisation in Geneva. In the week before the oral examinations, students practice presenting their thesis to each other in class.

Learning methods

The content of the course is practice-based and oriented as much as possible to the working situation of participants. Staff/student contact is intensive throughout the course. Students learn through lectures, discussion, group work, individual presentations, case studies, exercises, study visits, an internet-based virtual learning environments and ‘serious gaming’, self-reflection, self-study and written assignments including a thesis.

They receive study material before each module. During the lessons they share information about health issues of countries in which they have worked in and compare experiences. Online repositories are used for learning material; laptops and/or tablets are required.

Study load

A total of 60 EC credit points must be accumulated for successful completion of the MPH programme. The European Credit Transfer System (EC) facilitates transfer of course credits between institutions at the same academic level. 1 EC requires 28 hours of student time, which includes class time and independent study.

Graduation requirements

Each module is assessed by means of either a written examination or a take-home assignment. At the end of the programme an independent external examination committee will assess the thesis and the candidate’s oral examination.

If the overall assessment is satisfactory the degree of Master of Public Health is awarded. Candidates who do not fulfill the requirements for the degree may be eligible for a certificate of attendance.

Part-time programme Master of Public Health

For part-time options click here:
Part-time Master of Public Health


If you are a health professional working or preparing to work, in a managerial capacity in health services at national, regional or decentralised district level, this course is designed for you.

Admission criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic training in either medicine or another field related to health, such as health sciences, economics, social science or nursing.
  • A minimum of three years of experience, including managerial responsibilities in health related services in a low resource country.
  • Proven proficiency in spoken and written English.
  • Computer literacy is expected.

The number of places in this programme is limited. Because there are always more applicants than places in the course, a selection must be made of those meeting the above mentioned criteria. The selection committee takes into account country of origin, experience and professional background in order to compose a group with a mixture of professional and geographical backgrounds.
As part of the ‘Women Leaders in Global Health Development Initiative’ we strongly encourage women with appropriate background to apply.

Application procedure

For students who wish to apply for the Orange Knowlegde Programme (OKP)(former NFP), the entire application package to KIT is due at the latest by 26 February 2018.
OKP application deadline 26 March 2018 2018. See our OKP page for more information.

For other applicants the application package is due two months before the start of the course.

Please upload your application online

The following documents should be uploaded:

  • A one-page letter of motivation
  • Copies of your diplomas and grade reports
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a list of publications if applicable
  • Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)

KIT and VU University Amsterdam require all applicants who have not completed their education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, South Africa, Uganda or who have not obtained an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma to enclose proof of English language proficiency in the form of the internationally recognised TOEFL or IELTS tests.

A minimum TOEFL score of 5.5 or a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 is required. Please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one.

For Dutch participants academic training is sufficient.

Candidates fulfilling the MPH/ICHD entry requirements will receive a letter of admission, admitting them to the course provided that financing can be arranged. Once you have secured financial support and provided evidence of proficiency in English, you will receive a definitive letter of admission.

Note: Participants with a source of guaranteed financing have until 15th of July 2018 to apply to the MPH/ICHD. However, the course is often already full. Also visa applications can take several months to process. Therefore candidates are therefore advised to apply early.


For cancellation within seven days no fee is required and 100 per cent of the fee will be reimbursed if already paid. For cancellation by candidate see cancellation fees.

FAQ Online Application System

Do you have a question about our Online Application System? Then you can find the answer in our FAQ Online Application System:

Go to our FAQ Online Application System-page 


Classes are held at KIT’s training facilities in Amsterdam.


The arrangement of financial support to cover all study costs is the responsibility of the applicant. Please note that KIT does not offer financial support or fellowships.

Some candidates are sponsored by their own governments, universities or employers while others apply for fellowships offered through the United Nations and its specialised agencies such as UNICEF, WHO, WB, UNDP or through other international programmes, such as those of OECD, EU or OAS. For more information on these and other possibilities,  go to the KIT fellowship webpage.

Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) former NFP

One possibility for obtaining a fellowship is through the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP).

The OKP application will have to be done via an online application system (ATLAS). OKP application deadline for 2018-2019: 26 March 2018.

Please note that the academic application to the Royal Tropical Institute has to be received at the latest 1 month before the OKP deadline (so 26 February 2018). You are advised however to apply to KIT as early as possible.
See the detailed instructions on OKP information.

The Netherlands Government does not grant a fellowship unless it is assured that the candidate’s government and employer agree to his or her participation and that the candidate will be admitted to the course. For this reason, it is essential to first gain admission to the MPH before applying for a fellowship.
Talented health professionals from the elible list of 51 OKP countries are especially encouraged to apply.


KIT will secure accommodation for participants with a OKP fellowship and assist others in their search for housing if the request is received before 1 May. After this date we cannot guarantee accommodation. Note that when accommodation is arranged by KIT it is for the duration of the course. A shorter lease period is not allowed. There is a severe shortage of student accommodation in Amsterdam and participants are advised to contact KIT for information.

Visa requirements

Citizens of most EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries do not need a visa to enter the Netherlands. Visit the Nuffic website for the latest information on visa requirements.

Participants from other countries who will stay for longer than three months in the Netherlands will need an ‘Authorization for Temporary Stay’ (MVV) to enter the country. This visa should be applied for through KIT. Upon their arrival in the Netherlands a residency permit has to be requested for them through KIT.

Participants admitted to the course will receive detailed information as well as a list of documents KIT requires to secure their visa. Applicants should take into account that in some countries this procedure may take several months.

Insurance requirements

The Netherlands has no national health insurance. According to Dutch law, all participants of international courses and any accompanying dependents are required to have health, accident and third party insurance.

Unless their current insurance policy covers their stay in the Netherlands, participants must insure themselves and their dependents in the Netherlands. Dutch insurance companies offer reasonable rates to foreign students. Please note that holders of a NFP fellowship are automatically insured but their dependents are not.

For more information on insurance visit the Nuffic website.


The MPH/ICHD is accredited by the Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO).

A number of advanced MPH/ICHD modules are also accredited for the Master’s in International Health programme organised by tropEd, a network of European institutions for higher education in international health. KIT and the MPH/ICHD were positively assessed during a review by tropEd.

European Credits

The European Credit Transfer System (EC) facilitates the transfer of course credits between different institutions of the same academic level. A module comprising 28 hours of formal teaching and private study is equivalent to one EC credit point.


Watch the video

Copyrighted by Michelle Wong PhotoArtistry“Studying at KIT helped me to have a critical mind and to really think out of the box. I work now for the National Cancer Prevention Centre in Zambia. We have  screened close to 200,000 women in the cervical cancer programme which has never happened before in this country. Though the incidence and mortality rates are still high there has been massive awareness on the disease. We have also managed to have international recognition on the programme and have trained people from 11 other African countries. I could not have succeeded in all that without the training in public health at KIT.”

Sharon Kapambwe from Zambia,  MPH, background medical doctor. Currently working as director of National Cancer Prevention Centre

DSC008091rev“The MPH study program was comprehensive and mixed of theories, practices, skills, tools to apply the knowledge, and real examples from developing countries. Program topics were all interesting and relevant to practical work in the field. With what I learned I can contribute to strengthening the policy and strategies relevant to health in Afghanistan.”

Khalid Sharifi from Afghanistan, MPH/ICHD 2010, background medical doctor, now working as Managing Director of Afghan NGO, Social and Health Development Program (SHDP).


“I work as a deputy manager in the Federal Ministry of Health within the department for emergency and humanitarian action. We cover natural disasters and conflict-affected areas, which, sadly, are numerous. By designing and implementing capacity building programmes, and working together with health partners and international donors, we try to improve our public health sector at regional levels. I came to KIT because I wanted to add more knowledge to my experience. I hope that my master’s degree from KIT will help me to influence decision-makers in Sudan.”

Shaza Sidahmed from Sudan, MPH/ICHD 2012, background medical doctor. Working for Federal Ministry of Health.

Omidvari Abarghouei, Amirhoushang“The International Course in Health Development was a great opportunity for me to enhance my understanding of health systems, policy making, health planning, determinants of health and interventions particularly in low and middle-income countries. In the context of this programme, I took part in group works and discussion with other participants with different background, an experience that taught me to look at public health issues from different aspects.”

Amirhoushang Omidvari from Iran, MPH/ICHD 2013, background Medical Doctor, now working as a Clinical Research Training Fellow in Global Health at School of Public Health, Imperial College London.


“At KIT I was particularly impressed about the course content, the teaching staff composed of world class public health experts and leading academics and researchers, as well as the support staff whose teaching, guidance and administrative support combined to improve my academic orientation and shape my thoughts about public health and its practice.”
Francis-Xavier Andoh-Adjei from Ghana, MPH/ICHD 2010, now working as Deputy Director for Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation and International Relations at the National Health Insurance Authority in Ghana. He is enrolled at Radboud University Medical Centre-Nijmegen as PHD Researcher in Health Systems and Policy.

Stella small“I worked as a psychologist in public general hospitals and as a researcher in the human resources department of secretariat of São Paulo, southeast of Brazil. My experience there exposed me to the challenges faced by the population and health workers within the health sector.

In professional and personal terms, I believe that the course provided me many opportunities to discuss and see public health issues in different ways. Today I can see my country from a new perspective: from micro to macro vision. My colleagues helped me view Brazil within an international context, which made me rediscover it. Now I can see beyond the difficulties and appreciate what we have achieved.

It was a very intense year; I worked hard, I have matured since then and I think that many insights will come. I was able to build relationships with affection and respect within the group. I am satisfied with my performance. I have many challenges ahead, but I can recognize better my own value; I feel more confident and professionally prepared for future challenges.”

Stella Parreira from Brazil, MPH, worked as psychologist in public general hospitals and as researcher in HR department in Sao Paulo.

“I followed the ICHD/MPH, Health systems and management track.
I liked that the training is focused more on learning to change professional behavior in order to make impact. Critical appraisal skills, self-reflection techniques, ‘thinking outside the box’ approach and how to understand contextual issues on public health problems and interventions were most valuable to me.
The training programme was very relevant to my professional development and it has equipped me with relevant knowledge and skills that will be useful to improve my performance at my work.”

Mkhokheli Ngwenya from Zimbabwe followed the MPH/ICHD, Track in Health Systems and Management. Medical Practitioner, working for Ministry of Health and Child Care

Basimaki, Emma Francis“I have learnt a lot at KIT, MPH/ICHD program was comprehensive and well organised. As a medical doctor I know ‘Prevention is better than cure and very important to have a healthy community’. MPH/ICHD being an international course provided me with great opportunity to learn more about health systems of different countries which has helped bringing positive changes in my organisation. Further, the KIT staffs are very interactive and supportive which made it easy for me to make it during my study period.”

Emma Basimaki from Tanzania, MPH/ICHD 2013, background medical doctor, working with Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Radwan Bangladeshrev“The Masters of Public Health (MPH) course at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) equipped me with not only theories in public health but also provided hands on learning through simulation of assignments and real-life scenarios. The course modules are designed as such with the existing and emerging global health priorities and to provide useful training to get in-depth insights of the topics. I was also amazed with the wide internationalization of the course participants and learning multi-cultural perspectives. In my public health research career the MPH course is playing an immense role with improved knowledge on public health theories and, more importantly, with critical thinking and wider analyses of the public health issues.”

Mohammad Radwanur Rahman Talukder from Bangladesh, MPH/ICHD 2010/11. Currently working as
Project Research Manager in Centre for Child and Adolescent Health International Centre, Bangladesh (ICDDR) & PhD Candidate Centre for Environment and Population, Health School of Environment Griffith University, Australia