Part-time: Master of Public Health/International Course in Health Development

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Starting date17/09/2018
Duration1 year (FT); up to 3 years (PT)
Course dates 2018-2019
Core course 3 months:1st trimester: Sep - Dec 2018
Advanced modules + Geneva visit:2nd trimester: Jan - June 2019
Thesis submission:3rd trimester: Aug 2019 or Aug 2020
See for more detailed information: "Programme"
Fee (part-time) 2018EUR 17.441
LocationKIT Amsterdam
KIT application deadline15/07/2018
NEW: Course dates 2019-2020start 16/09/2019

NEW: If you cannot leave your home/job for one year full-time it is now possible to follow the Master of Public Health (MPH/ICHD) programme in parts. You will take trimester 1 in your first year, trimester 2 in the second year and trimester 3 can be done distance-based in the second or third year.

This course is targeted at those who aspire to management positions in the public health.

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 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 three tracks:

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

It is possible to follow the ICHD programme part-time and spread out the study time over 2-3 years.

The first year you will be studying 3 months of core modules from September till December 2018. The second year you will be studying from January till June 2019 (advanced modules and Geneva visit). You can then continue full-time from home or at KIT and submit your thesis in August of the next year, or the year after.

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

For the full-time programme students can choose between different tracks. Please see the different tracks for the modules that can be taken in the 2nd trimester:

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.

  • Visit to WHO in June

Third trimester

  • 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 (see 2nd trimester). 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 (ECTS) 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.


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

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 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.


The total price of the part-time Master programme will be EUR 17.441.
It is possible to pay the part-time programme in two terms: EUR 10.000 in the first year and the remaining EUR 7.441 in the second year.


For cancellation within seven days no fee is required and 100% 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.

Unfortunately there are no OKP (Orange Knowledge Programme, former NFP) scholarships available for the part-time Master of Public Health.

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.


Please note: housing for 3-4 months may be harder to arrange than housing for 1 year! You are responsible yourself to find housing for the periods when you are in Amsterdam. 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 (90 days) 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.

It is not possible to get a student MVV visa for the part-time MPH/ICHD programme!

You are responsible yourself to see if you need a visa. You need to arrange the short stay (tourist) visa yourself for the period(s) you are going to be in The Netherlands.

For further information about short stay visa, please check the website of the IND (Dutch immigration service) and for up-to-date information:

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.  KIT can offer students health insurance.


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 in International Health (MIH) 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 (ECTS) 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.