Master of Public Health (MPH): track in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

The Master of Science in Public Health (MPH), formerly known as ‘International Course in Health Development’ 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.

Starting date
11/09/2023 << FULL COURSE, waiting list available for applicants who do not need visa! >>
1 year
KIT, Amsterdam
Course dates 2023-2024
from 11/09/2023 until 30/08/2024
Course fee 2023 (full-time)
EUR 19.180
Course fee 2023 (part-time)
EUR 19.850
KIT application deadline OKP applicants
28 February 2023
OKP application period (course start Sep-2023)
8 February- 30 March 2023, 16:00 CET
KIT application deadline other funding

This MPH programme is targeted to 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).

    The logo of an NVAO accredited programme

    “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.”

    Peter Baffoe, MD, Senior Specialist Obs/Gyn, MPH Track in SRHR, (Ghana) Currently: Medical Director, Upper East regional hospital

    “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.”

    Roma Karki, Buthan, current MPH student,  on Course on HIV Policy, Governance and Financing (e-learning) which she followed as part of MPH SRHR track.

    “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.”

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

    “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).

    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.”

    Omaima Mirghani Hanafi Mustafa from Sudan, background as Medical Doctor followed the MPH/ICHD Track in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. She is currently working for MoH in Sudan as a liaison manager between (international) NGO’s and national Government.

    “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.”

    John Kingsley Krugu from Ghana, MPH/ICHD 2010, background in biological sciences, now PHD Research Fellow at Maastricht University.

    “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.”

    Swe Swe Aye, MPH/ICHD 2013. Background: Medical Doctor (Myanmar)


    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 unfolding demographic transition; and the health needs in fragile environments.

    The worlds of international and national health governance and financing are increasingly complex and interconnected. The COVID-19 epidemic highlighted the threats of this interconnectedness. Globally, there is more emphasis on 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.

    Course Objectives

    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 interact with participants from other countries who face similar issues but with alternative solutions.

    After the programme you will be able to:

  • Critically assess population health status, 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.
  • Effectively influence policy-making and strategic planning concerning interventions aiming at improving public health, taking into account scientific evidence, good practice and local context.
  • Creatively implement, quality client-centred, cost-effective, 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 your 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
  • Programme

    Course start date academic year:

    from 11 September 2023 until 31 August 2024

    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 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, 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: Specialisation courses for both tracks

  • Qualitative Methods for health systems research
  • Human resources for health
  • Sexual and reproductive health including HIV/AIDS
  • Advanced specialisation courses for track in SRHR

  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Policy, Governance and Finance
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: Organising effective responses
  • In the second trimester the course examines in more depth; human resources development. 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 and rights including HIV/AIDS as well as the focus on Policy, Governance and financial aspects as the organisation of effective responses.
    Students write most of their thesis at this stage, and make a class presentation leading to a debate.

    Third trimester

  • Study tour
  • Thesis
  • Oral examination
  • The thesis is focused on a topic relevant to the track that you chose as well as to your (previous or envisaged) work. Guided by an advisor, you write a thesis on an important health problem you identified in your country. The aim is to systematically analyse the core problem and make suggestions for its solution based on qualitative and quantitative data, literature review or both.
    During the programme, a study tour will be organized to expose students to international organizations and/ or organizations working on public health issues.

    Learning methods

    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.

    Study load

    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.

    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 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

    Admission criteria

  • Admission to the Master’s programme is possible for an applicant who has obtained a Bachelor’s degree obtained at an institution of academic higher education [in] medicine, public health or another related field to health care, such as health sciences, economics, social science or nursing. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree obtained at an institution outside the Netherlands may be asked for additional methods to prove that they meet the admission requirements.
  • Three years of relevant public health work experience, including work managerial responsibilities and experience relevant for low- and middle-income settings
  • 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. (See below for exceptions)
  • Good motivation
  • In addition:

  • 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.

    Application procedure

    For students who wish to apply for the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP), the entire application package to KIT for academic year 2023-2024 is due at the latest by 28 February 2023.
    OKP application deadline in DELTA: to be announced. 8 February – 30 March 2023, 16:00 CET. The OKP regulations recently changed. See our OKP page for latest 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:

    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 2023-2024:
    8 February – 30 March 2023, 16:00 CET

    Please note that the academic application to KIT, Royal Tropical Institute has to be received at the latest 28 February 2023. 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.

    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 (MPH) is organised by the 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 advanced MPH 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 were positively assessed during a review by tropEd.

    There is a possibility that accreditation credits for Dutch (medical) specialisations can be arranged, please contact the course administration 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
  • 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.

    Apply online

    You can find all information about our online application system on this page 

    Apply online now

    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


    Photo of Lisanne Gerstel

    Lisanne Gerstel

    Senior Advisor & Head of International Public Health Programs

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    Photo of Rinia Sahebdin

    Rinia Sahebdin

    Course Administration Officer

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