The Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity is a three-month course that prepares you to systematically analyse and address complex public health issues, covering epidemiology, health system aspects, and broader social determinants of health. The course focuses on health equity in low-resource settings and high-resource settings with disadvantaged populations. It can be taken as a stand-alone course or as part of the Master of Science in Public Health and Health Equity.
IMPORTANT: This new Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity/NTC is a merger of the former Core Course of Public Health (MPH) and the Netherlands Course on Global Health and Tropical Medicine (NTC) will start from September 2024.
The new core course can be taken as stand-alone course or as the core course of the Master in Public Health and Health Equity (MPH-HE).
In the Netherlands, the Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity/NTC forms part of the post-graduate training programme for physicians leading to a diploma as MD Global Health and Tropical Medicine (AIGT).
After the programme, you will be able to:
The course consists of four modules:
1. Equity and Global Health Concerns
The factors that have an important influence on health are known as determinants of health. Most of these determinants lie outside the direct influence of the health system, such as gender, education, culture, employment, and environment. Understanding these factors is important to effectively design and manage interventions in the public health sector. It is also essential in mitigating the effects of global threats, like pandemics.
This module provides you with an overview of the most relevant health concerns occurring in low-resource settings and/or with marginalised groups. These concerns include but are not limited to, communicable and non-communicable diseases, child health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). You will discuss the key players in addressing these concerns, as well as (interdisciplinary and intersectoral) response strategies to address health issues and inequities.
2. Research Methods
This module familiarises you with quantitative and qualitative research methods and how to critically appraise evidence provided in the relevant literature. Basic principles of statistics, epidemiology, and study design in the field of public health are discussed. A socio-cultural perspective on health, illness, health care, medical anthropology, and sociology are used to study issues such as which population groups have the highest health needs and why. This module also offers participants the opportunity to experience an outbreak investigation simulation.
3. Health Systems and Policy Making
You will look into the health needs of people, the demand for services, and the organisation of health service delivery. What are the factors that influence utilisation of health services and peoples’ health (care) seeking behaviour, especially by the poor and other disadvantaged groups? This module discusses health systems: their boundaries, actors, functions, and goals.
Effective health systems are essential to achieve universal health coverage (UHC), one of the key targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. Strong and resilient health systems enable countries to respond to shocks, such as Ebola and COVID-19, while continuing to deliver essential health services. Understanding and incorporating the voices of the people and communities that rely on a well-functioning (?) health system is central to adapting the system to a changing context, including the demographic transition and a change in disease burden concerning infectious and non-communicable diseases. Many countries have trouble providing access for the poor, due to limited (human) resources. This module explores the roles of the public and private sectors, including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the organisation of health care across the continuum of care, including health promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care, and rehabilitation.
4. Learning and Communication Skills and Professional Development
For a public health professional, it is essential to communicate confidently in intercultural, interdisciplinary, and international settings. Public health work is mostly teamwork. It requires leadership and giving and receiving feedback, to improve the quality and effectiveness of the work.
The first step towards becoming a more effective professional is to think about what kind of professional you aim to be and which core values you want to adhere to in your work. For example, how do you assure integrity and fairness in your (research) practice? In this module, you will reflect upon your personal and professional views and values regarding the ongoing developments in global health and your role in addressing global health issues in your future career.
The Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity is aimed at health professionals, such as doctors, nurses and midwives, as well as social scientists, (health) economists, and other professionals, who already work in public health in low- and middle-income settings and/or with marginalised communities and are seeking a deeper understanding through training in public health. It is also directed at professionals working mostly in health service delivery who are considering a career switch to public health.
In addition, this course would prepare you to work with refugees or disadvantaged populations in a high-income country. You may aim to work at a national or decentralised level (region, district, local authority) with the government or for healthcare programmes with (inter)national NGOs.
The content of the course is oriented as much as possible to the working situation of the participants. Participants have intensive contact with highly qualified staff who are active in the field. Methods are varied and participants will learn through discussions, group work, lectures, case studies, exercises, serious gaming and self-study. Simulations and role plays are used to familiarise you with problem-solving in cross-cultural management and planning. Reading material is prepared and distributed beforehand. Online repositories are used for learning material; laptops and/or tablets are required.
The study load of the course is 20 EC. The European Credit Transfer System (EC) facilitates transfer of course credits between institutions at the same academic level. One EC requires 28 hours of student time, which includes class time and independent study.
The full-time course takes 14 weeks. If you are unable to take 14 weeks off work, KIT’s course management is open to discuss other feasible possibilities. It is also possible to follow selected module(s) or module sessions of the course separately.
The course is assessed through an open book exam and a written assignment, covering the content of all modules.
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.
Unfortunately there are no Orange Knowledge scholarships (OKP) scholarships available for this course.
Visit our Scholarship information page for possibilities for financial support.
The course is offered twice per year starting in March and September.
Upcoming course dates in 2024-2025:
2024: 9 September until 13 December 2024
2025: 3 March until 6 June 2025
Unless otherwise specified, classes are held at KIT campus in Amsterdam or through our online platform. The KIT campus is located in the heart of Amsterdam.
Admission criteria: Bachelor degree and relevant working experience.
Fees for separate sessions:
Example 1 day (6 hours) of class = 25 + 6*50 = EUR 325
Example 4 days (24 hours) = 25 + 18*50 + 6*35 = EUR 1,135
The Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity is organised by KIT Royal Tropical Institute in collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre (VU) in Amsterdam and the University Hospital of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). It is NVAO and tropEd accredited, as part of the Master in Public Health and Health Equity.
In the Netherlands, the Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity (*) forms part of a post-graduate training programme for physicians, leading to a diploma as MD Global Health and Tropical Medicine (AIGT). For more information, please visit: www.oigt.nl.
(* formerly known as NTC, Netherlands Course on Global Health and Tropical Medicine)
The application package is due two months before the start of the course. Please upload your application online.
For other applicants the application package is due 2 months before the start of the course (unless you need a visa, then it is due 3 months before start of the course).
Please upload your application online
The following documents should be uploaded:
What we expect from your motivation letter:
Please indicate in your motivation letter why you want to follow this specific course, why you want to follow the course at KIT Amsterdam, what do you expect to learn and how you will apply your newly gained competencies from the course in your work, what kind of benefits will it bring to your future career, etc. Describe a relevant problem you have experienced in the last two years that you would like to discuss during this specific course. Your motivation should be about ½-1 page. Please do not repeat your CV again.
Exceptions English proficiency test
Applicants who are exempted from the proof of English language proficiency:
TOEFL-ibt Special Home Edition test
KIT will accept the TOEFL-ibt Special Home Edition test as it is the same research-based, valid and reliable TOEFL iBT test of academic English from ETS.
TOEFL-ibt Special Home Edition is now available in almost all countries, with the exception of Iran.
Candidates fulfilling the entry requirements will receive a ‘conditional letter of admission’, admitting them to the course provided that financing can be arranged. Once you have secured financial support and paid the course fee, you will receive a definitive letter of admission.
Note: Participants with a source of guaranteed financing have until 15th of July of the starting year of their studies to apply to the master programme. However, the course is often already full. Also visa applications are time-consuming and can take several months to process. Therefore candidates are therefore advised to apply and complete the financial process as early as possible (at least 2 months before the start of the course).
For cancellation within 14 days after the date of returning the signed financial statement no fee is required and 100% of the fee will be reimbursed if already paid. For more information on cancellation fees see financial statement.
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:
Why study at KIT?
Up-to-date approach to complex public health issues
Exchange between disciplines
Development of personal and professional competencies
Participants from diverse backgrounds and countries
Teaching by highly qualified specialists
Positively reviewed by tropEd
KIT: international centre of excellence in international health and development
Accredited by NVAO