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.
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).
“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 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.
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
Course start date academic year:
from 11 September 2023 until 31 August 2024
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 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.
- 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 (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.
MPH participants are invited to a study trip to Geneva to visit the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international organisations working in the health sector.
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
- 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
- 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 2023-2024 is due at the latest by 28 February 2024.
OKP application deadline in DELTA: to be announced. Usually February – March 2023.
The OKP regulations may change. 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:
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. Please do not repeat your CV again.
Exceptions English proficiency test
Applicants who are excempted 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 MPH 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 of the year you start your studies to apply to the MPH. However, visa applications can take several months to process and candidates are therefore advised to apply as early as possible.
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 Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. KIT is located in the heart of Amsterdam on beautiful historical premises.
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. 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 2023-2024:
To be announced. Usually February – March 2023
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.
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.
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.
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