The Master of Public Health (MPH), formerly known as International Course in Health Development (ICHD) is an annual 12-month Master of Public Health programme organised by the KIT Royal Tropical Institute and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).
This track is specifically designed for those who wish to work in SRHR focus domains which may include HIV and AIDS.
This MPH programme is targeted at those who aspire to management positions in the public health. The track in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is specifically designed for those who wish to work in SRHR focus domains which may include HIV and AIDS.
Participants can choose from the following study tracks:
- Health Systems Policy & Management track
- Sexual and Reproductive Health track (this page)
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 organised by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and is accredited by the Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO).
“As a manager and a clinician, the ICHD has given me the skills to formulate and implement programs and interventions to resolve pertinent health problems at national and community levels. For example, the knowledge and skills acquired from the HIV responds module and the findings of my thesis constitute the basics advocate for policy change in PMTCT of HIV in Ghana. Overall, the course has given me the confidence to analyze a public health situations and formulate policies to address the bottlenecks.
I am delighted that I am no more limited to seeing patients at consulting rooms and theatres but also prepared to influence policy to impact positively on the health of the Ghanaian society at large.”
“This course gave me a great opportunity to learn and analyse experiences from different countries as everyone shares his/her country’s practices. The web lectures were interesting and I always looked forward to watch them.”
“Studying at KIT helped me to have a critical mind adn 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.”
“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.”
“My year at KIT was a non-stop learning experience. I expected to earn a Masters’ degree, to further my career in community based medicine and hopefully continue towards a Ph.D. Actually: I got so much more! I must admit: the course was tense. Every three to four weeks, we had exams. I have been stressed and nervous a lot. But it helped. I learned to be better in time-management and found ways to collect data and find enough time to reflect and analyse the facts.
The course was so practically implemented. It is so “easy” to talk about theory, but to actually implement it is ten times harder. We were constantly challenged to think how to include theory in real life situations. The Health Planning Game was one of the interactive teaching tools that really helped.”
“In our time, organizations and technology are evolving so rapidly that health care professionals must continually seek new skills and perspectives that enable them not only to respond to change, but also to anticipate it. And this is exactly what we were trained in KIT. Besides these academic competencies that are making a lot of difference in what I do now, staying and studying in Amsterdam also had positive effects in many ways; the principles of ‘equal opportunity for all people, irrespective of gender, age, race or religion’ were visible in all aspects of the Dutch life.”
“Every single module in this ICHD/MPH program has been practically very useful for me. During the course, I completed 8 writing assignments of different public health issues that boosted my interest and confidence in academic writing. In addition to the topics which polished my existing capacity in programming, I got new knowledge and practical skills on financing, human resource, research and statistics which are also of equal importance for the success of programs. This course has upgraded my capacity in public health to be able to work with more professional manner while ensuring equitable and effective implementation using the scarce resources that we have.”
Public health in a changing environment
Health systems in low-and middle-income countries face a wide range of complex challenges. These challenges include: 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 to provide evidence-based public health solutions for continuously improving the quality and responsiveness of health services. Addressing these issues requires well-trained professionals capable of solving complex public health problems systematically, using a partnership approach.
The MPH is designed to develop the capacity of senior health managers to use an integrated multi-disciplinary approach to address health problems in their country. In all programme components participants are encouraged to compare with participants from other countries who face similare issues but with alternative solutions.
After the programme 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 participants have the option choosing between two tracks:
- MPH track in Sexual and Reproductive Health (this page)
- MPH track in Health Systems Policy & Management
Course start date academic year:
from 12 September 2022 until 1 September 2023
First trimester: Core modules for all tracks
- Epidemiology and statistics
- Learning and communication skills
- Social determinants of Health
- Health systems and policy making
- Health planning
The introduction to the MPH starts with learning and communication skills that will be needed throughout the course. These include skills in internet searches for health-related information and literature, 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 there is a strong emphasis on the gendered nature of many of these factors.
Basic concepts and tools for the analysis and discussion of health problems through modules in health planning and management are introduced, including health economics and financing and 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 their thesis topics and investigate the literature related to those topics.
Second trimester: advanced modules for all tracks
Advanced modules for track in SRHR
- Sexual and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Policy, Governance and Finance
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Organising effective responses
Students write most of their thesis at this stage, and make a class presentation leading to a debate.
- Visit WHO in Geneva
- Oral examination
The thesis is focused on a topic relevant to the track that you chose as well as to your work. With guidance from an advisor, you write a thesis on an important health problem that you have been involved with in your 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.
Students are invited to a study trip to Geneva to visit the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international organsiations working in the health sector.
In the week before the oral examinations, students practice presenting their thesis to each other in class.
The content of the course is practice-based and oriented as much as possible to the working situation of participants. Contact between teaching staff and students is intensive throughout the course. Students learn through lectures, discussions, group work, individual presentations, case studies, exercises, study visits, an internet-based virtual learning environment and ‘serious gaming’, self-reflection, self-study and written assignments including a thesis. They receive study material before each module. During the lessons students share information about health issues of countries in which they have worked and compare experiences. Online repositories are used for learning material. Laptops and/or tablets are required.
A total of 60 EC credit points must be accumulated for successful completion of the ICHD/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.
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 assesses 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 meet 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
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic training in either medicine or another field related to health care, such as health sciences, economics, social science or nursing.
- A minimum of three years of relevant working experience, including managerial responsibilities in health related services in a low resource country and including some experience in public health.
- Proven proficiency in spoken and written English academic TOEFL or IELTS test. A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required.
- Computer literacy is essential as we use a virtual learning platform in our education programme.
The number of participants in this programme is limited. Because there are always more applicants than seats 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.
For students who wish to apply for the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP), the entire application package to KIT for academic year 2022-2023 is due at the latest by 24 February 2022.
OKP application deadline in DELTA: 23 March 2022.
See our OKP page for more information.
For other applicants the application package is due two 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:
- 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)
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.
KIT and VU University Amsterdam require all Master programme applicants, who have not completed their education in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Philippines, India, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia, 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. (See VU website for more information)
A minimum written TOEFL score of 550, iBT TOEFL score of 80, computer based TOEFL score of 213, or an IELTS academic score of 6.0 is required.
Please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one.
We only accept official TOEFL or IELTS test results, which are not older than 3 years.
For Dutch participants academic training is sufficient.
TOEFL-ibt Special Home Edition test
Due to the global Covid-19 situation 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 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 1 July 2020 to apply to the MPH/ICHD. However, visa applications can take several months to process and 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:
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 scholarship webpage.
Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP)
One possibility for obtaining a scholarship is through the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP).
The OKP application will have to be done via an online application system. Applicants who have received academic admission will receive the link to apply for the scholarship automatically when the application period opens: OKP application period for academic year 2022-2023:
February – March 2022
Please note that the academic application to KIT, Royal Tropical Institute has to be received at the latest 24 February 2021. 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 scholarship.
Talented health professionals from the list of OKP countries are especially encouraged to apply.
KIT will secure accommodation for participants with an 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.
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) and residence permit to enter the country. This visa should be applied for 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.
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 Master of Public Health (MPH/ICHD) is organised by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and is accredited under VU by the Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO) under CROHO code 70047. For the full report follow the link.
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.
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.
Code of Conduct
KIT Royal Tropical Institute follows the Code of Conduct International Student in Dutch Higher Education. By signing the Code of Conduct, the institutions of higher education oblige themselves to offer international students education of good quality. Follow the link to the website with the following information:
- Full document of the Code of Conduct Rules and Regulations
- Brochure for International Students on the Code of Conduct
- More information on complaints procedures.
In addition KIT has a formal complaint procedure in place that is fully in line with the Code of Conduct and guidelines of VU. Students receive these complaints procedures in the Course Handbook and exam regulations before the start of the academic year.
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
Senior Advisor & Head of International Public Health ProgramsRead more