NEW: Master of Science in Public Health and Health Equity (MPH-HE)

The Master of Public Health and Health Equity (MPH-HE) is a mid-career Master of Science programme, organised by KIT Royal Tropical Institute and the VU University Amsterdam. It is meant for professionals working in health service delivery or health management, in national health systems or international organisations.

IMPORTANT: This new Master programme is a merger of the former Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master in International Health (MIH) and as from September 2024 it replaces both programmes.

Course dates
09/09/2024 - 29/08/2025
Full time tracks: 1 year
KIT Amsterdam
Course fee
See Tracks
Deadline scholarships
Read below more about funding
Application deadline (when visa required)


The new set-up of the Master in Public Health and Health Equity means a more integral approach of our education programmes to respond better to current developments and needs of our participants. The new Master in Public Health and Health Equity offers five different specalisation tracks. Read below the extensive information.

Public Health and Health Equity in a Changing Environment

Health systems in low- and middle-income countries face a wide range of complex challenges. These include, among others, the inequalities in health and healthcare; the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases; the unfolding demographic transition; and the health needs in fragile and conflict-affected settings. These challenges disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations worldwide, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Addressing these issues requires well-trained professionals, capable of solving complex public health problems systematically, in either a public or private sector organisation responsible for public health. To this end, the MPH-HE programme specifically focusses on health equity in low-resource settings and in high-resource settings with disadvantaged populations, using a gender and inclusive approach.

Course Objectives

The MPH-HE is designed to enable mid-career professionals, working at any level (subnational, national, international, global) within the health system, to use an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to address public health issues. In all programme components, participants are encouraged to interact with participants from other backgrounds and countries, who may face similar issues but with alternative solutions.

After the master’s programme, you will be able to:

  • Critically examine current and emerging health issues, analyse determinants and identify needs, in different population groups.
  • Appraise the role of health systems in terms of goals, functions, actors and performance.
  • Identify research needs, appraise research methods and results, generate ethically sound evidence, and translate results into policy and practice.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor and evaluate, cost-effective, quality, and community-centred programmes and interventions.
  • Analyse, influence, and develop policies, taking into account evidence and context.
  • Professionally collaborate, and network and effectively communicate in a multi-disciplinary, inter-sectoral and multi-cultural setting.
  • Work towards and advocate for the principles of equity and human rights.
  • Critically self-reflect and professionally develop your attitudes, motivations, practices, and values, to act as an agent of change.
  • Programme structure

    The entire MPH-HE programme encompasses three parts of 20 credits (EC) each:
    Core Course, Specialisation Courses, and Thesis.

    Course start dates

    Academic year 2024-2025:

  • 9 September 2024 (all tracks)
  • 3 March 2025 (Selected Challenges and Solutions in Public Health track only)
  • Duration:

  • Full-time tracks: 1 year
  • Selected Challenges and Solutions in Public Health Track: 1-5 years
  • The entire MPH-HE programme encompasses three parts of 20 credits (EC) each: Core Course, Specialisation Courses, and Thesis.

    First trimester

    Core Course in Public Health and Health Equity

    The Core Course consists of the following modules:

  • Equity and Global Health Concerns
  • Research Methods
  • Health Systems and Policy Making
  • Learning and Communication Skills and Professional Development
  • Second trimester

    Specialisation Courses

    After the Core Course, you can choose between several options. You will follow three ‘specialisation courses’ followed by three ‘advanced specialisation courses’. The three initial specialisation courses are the same for all full-time specialisation tracks (Epidemiology, Health Systems and Policy, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights):

  • Health Planning and Programming
  • Qualitative Health Systems Research
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
  • The tailor-made track (full-time) and the Selected Challenges and Solutions in Public Health track (part-time) allow for a flexible choice of specialisation courses.

    All tracks have their specific ‘advanced specialisation courses’, presented below.


    The MPH-HE has five tracks. Four tracks are offered only as full-time, 12-month programmes. These four tracks include three specialisation tracks with predefined modules (Epidemiology, Health Systems and Policy, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights), and one tailor-made track.

    A fifth track, the specialisation on Selected Challenges and Solutions in Public Health, is offered part-time (1-5 years) and allows students to follow modules both at KIT and at member institutions of the tropEd network.

    Participants can choose from the following 5 study tracks:

    • Track 1: Health Systems and Policy
      09/09/2024 – 29/08/2025
      1 year
       EUR 20.600,-
      To be confirmed, probably Feb-Mar 2024

      This track will enable you to analyse complexities in health systems and address the growing interconnectedness of national and international health policies, governance, and financing, as well as challenges around human resources for health highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, in recognition of post-colonial legacies, there is growing emphasis on organising people-centred and community-based responses to solving complex public health problems systematically and strategically. You will learn to better address these issues, providing evidence-based public health solutions for continuously improving the quality and responsiveness of health services, using an equal partnerships approach.

      Advanced specialisation courses:

    • Track 2: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
      09/09/2024 – 29/08/2025
      1 year
       EUR 20.600,-
      To be confirmed, probably Feb-Mar 2024

      Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are essential to fulfilling people’s rights to health and well-being, as well as to advance the related social development goals. Indeed, more and more national, and international policies, research, and programming are dedicated to the field of SRHR. Yet, challenges to SRHR persist, and in some cases are even exacerbated, due to resource constraints, political issues, conflict, as well as gender and other inequalities. In this track, you will examine the complexities of addressing SRHR challenges, with a particular focus on marginalised populations.
      The SRHR track invites you to use a range of conceptual and inter-disciplinary perspectives, to critically (re-)consider how to develop and assess responses and policies that address SRHR. Cross-cutting throughout the track are discussions on the influence of gender, power, rights, equity, sexuality, disability, stigma, and ethics in advancing SRHR.

      Advanced specialisation courses:

      • SRHR, including HIV and AIDS: analysing causes, consequences, and patterns
      • SRHR: Organising Equitable Responses
      • SRHR: Policy, Governance, and Financing
    • Track 3: Epidemiology
      09/09/2024 – 29/08/2025
      1 year
       EUR 20.600,-
      To be confirmed, probably Feb-Mar 2024

      The epidemiology track offers a comprehensive curriculum, designed to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively analyse, evaluate, and address public health challenges from an epidemiological perspective. The track focuses on utilising geographic information systems to understand the spatial distribution of diseases, identify high-risk areas, and inform targeted interventions. It also provides you with the tools to design and analyse epidemiological studies, generate evidence for public health responses, and assess the effectiveness of interventions. Finally, it explores methodologies to assess the impact of health interventions, policies, and programmes to promote health equity and strengthen health systems. Through this track, you will develop a solid foundation in epidemiology and gain practical skills to contribute to evidence-based public health strategies and policies, aimed at achieving health equity on a global scale.

      Advanced specialisation courses:

    • Track 4: Tailor-made track
      09/09/2024 – 29/08/2025
      1 year
       EUR 20.600,-
      To be confirmed, probably Feb-Mar 2024

      The tailor-made track is a full-time track that allows you to develop a balanced and personalised programme, based at KIT in Amsterdam. This track is specifically relevant for participants who wish to study at KIT without a pre-defined specialisation and want to tailor the MPH-HE programme to their professional needs.

      Specialisation courses:
      After the Core Course, you will make a personalised plan to meet the objectives of the master’s programme, looking at your specific expertise and education needs. You can opt for modules from any of the full-time specialisations and/or include other short courses at KIT, such as Digital Health, Geographical Information Systems for Global Health, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Analysing Disrupted Health Systems in Countries in Crisis.

    • Track 5: Selected Challenges and Solutions in Public Health
      1-5 years
      EUR 13.200,-
      EUR 13.850,-
      OKP Funding is not possible for this track

      Public health is a broad field of work and specific challenges require a diversity of competencies to contribute to solutions and improved health outcomes. This track is flexible, and can be completed within one year (full-time) or up to five years (part-time). This course is for you if you are eager to plan, take initiative, and even travel during your master’s programme. Because of its flexible scheduling, this track is also very suitable for people who want to combine study with work and other responsibilities.

      Specialisation courses:
      After your Core Course, you can design your learning trajectory to suit your interests and professional ambitions. Not only can you choose from courses offered by KIT for the other three specialisations, but also from hundreds of accredited advanced modules from tropEd. tropEd is a network of educational institutions based all over the world, that offer face-to-face or distance-based courses from a range of natural and social science disciplines, such as health economics, health promotion, leadership skills, and more. Where relevant, you can also take NVAO-accredited master-level courses at the VU and other universities in the Netherlands and Belgium.

    Third trimester

    The third trimester consist of the following three parts:

  • Study tour
  • Thesis
  • Oral examination
  • The thesis is focused on a topic relevant to the track chosen, and to the current or envisaged work environment. Guided by a thesis advisor, you write a thesis on an important health issue you identified in your country or another geographical scope of your choice.

    The purpose is for you to learn how to critically analyse and discuss public health issues at an academic level. You systematically analyse the core problem and make suggestions for its solution or focus on evidence for potential solutions entirely; based on qualitative and quantitative data, literature review, or both.

    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-HE 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 Science in Public Health and Health Equity is awarded. Candidates who do not fulfill the requirements for the degree may be eligible for a certificate of attendance.


    The arrangement of financial support to cover all study costs is the responsibility of the applicant.

    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. There are scholarship opportunities from World Bank, MENA and KIT Fund. For more information on these and other possibilities,  go to the KIT scholarship web page.

    Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP)

    Unfortunately the OKP programme has ended. For 2024 there are no scholarship rounds. 
    Read more on the OKP page.

    Practical information


    Classes are held at KIT’s campus located in the heart of Amsterdam.


    KIT will secure accommodation for participants with an OKP or KIT Fund scholarship and assist others in their search for housing with some practical information. Note that when accommodation is arranged by KIT it is for the full duration of the course. A shorter rental 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 a visa and residence permit. 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.

    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 assist with arranging insurance for participants.


    The Master of Public Health and Health Equity (MPH-HE) is organised by KIT Royal Tropical Institute 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 specialisation courses are also accredited by tropEd, a network of European institutions for higher education in international health. 

    There is a possibility that accreditation credits for Dutch (medical) specialisations can be arranged, please contact the course secretariat ( for more information at least 3 months before start of the course.

    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.

    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
  • 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.


    Your profile

    The Master’s 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 (or a degree) 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 programme 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 you may want to participate in healthcare projects with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

    If you would like to finish your programme in one year and remain in KIT during the year, you can apply for the full-time programme, indicating your preference for one of the four tracks described above. If you would like to take more time, be flexible, and possibly take courses outside KIT, you can apply for the track Selected Challenges and Solutions in Public Health.

    Admission criteria

    The admission criteria are the same for all tracks:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent academic training in either medicine or another field related to health care, such as health sciences, health economics, social sciences, or nursing.
  • A minimum of three years of health-related working experience in health systems, not limited to (organisation of) individual patient care, but including an involvement with public/global health, in resource constrained settings and/or with marginalized communities, and proven interest in these areas.
  • Proof of English language proficiency: 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. (See below for exceptions).
  • Computer literacy is essential: we use a virtual learning platform and digital tools in our education and assignments and exams are conducted online.
  • 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 Knowledge Programme (OKP), the entire application package to KIT for academic year 2024-2025 is due at the latest by 28 February 2024.
    OKP application deadline in DELTA: between February-March 2024 (exact dates to be confirmed by Nuffic)

    The OKP regulations may change. See our OKP page for latest updates.

    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
  • Copies of academic transcripts, that are part of your diploma
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae and a list of publications if applicable
  • Proof of English proficiency (if applicable, see exemptions below)
  • 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:

  • completed an English-taught secondary or higher education degree 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
  • have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an English-taught programme accredited by NVAO in the Netherlands, or have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in another member state of the European Union
  • Note: 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 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 1st 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.


    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.


    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 KIT Royal Tropical Institute and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and is accredited by the Netherlands-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO).

    The logo of an NVAO accredited programme

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    Ready to apply? Submit your application through our online system.

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    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

    Why study at KIT?

    • Up-to-date approach to complex public health issues

    • Practice-oriented

    • Exchange between disciplines

    • Interactive Education

    • Development of personal and professional competencies

    • Network building

    • Participants from diverse backgrounds and countries

    • Personal tutoring

    • Teaching by highly qualified specialists

    • Positively reviewed by tropEd

    • KIT: international centre of excellence in international health and development

    • Accredited by NVAO

    Coordinators & Support

    Photo of Hermen Ormel

    Hermen Ormel

    Senior Advisor & Head of Master's Programmes

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    Photo of Lisanne Gerstel

    Lisanne Gerstel

    Senior Advisor Master's Programmes

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    Photo of Elaine Rabello

    Elaine Rabello

    Master’s Programme Coordinator

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    Photo of Francine Egberts

    Francine Egberts

    Advisor and Coordinator Master's Programmes

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    Photo of Fernando Maldonado Costa

    Fernando Maldonado Costa

    Education Coordinator and Head of MIH programme

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    Photo of Rinia Sahebdin

    Rinia Sahebdin

    Course Administration Officer

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    Photo of Susan Huider

    Susan Huider

    Course Administration Officer

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    Photo of Meta Willems

    Meta Willems

    Course Administration Officer

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    Photo of Maud Molenaar

    Maud Molenaar

    Course Administration Officer

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