Global Health

Meet the global health challenge

Global Health: a complex challenge

Are you ready to unravel the complexity of global health challenges and contribute to better health for all? Then this Research Masters in Global Health may be the Master’s you are looking for. Our programme offers you the opportunity to learn about and work on global health challenges, by crossing disciplinary boundaries and collaborating with social stakeholders.

The importance of Global Health to the world

New and emerging infectious diseases, such as the Zika virus or zoonoses, changing disease patterns and lifestyles, large-scale migration of vulnerable populations or the rising costs of healthcare; these are examples of problems that add complexity to the already considerable health challenges the world is facing today. Many diseases do not stop at national borders, and most health problems have social, political and economic impacts. With the world’s population becoming increasingly interdependent, there is need for a vision on health that spans the globe and promotes shared responsibility. Global health is defined as the broad field of study, research and practice geared towards improving health and achieving equity in health. Global health researchers need inter- and transdisciplinary approaches in order to study and unravel complex health problems. They need to cross disciplinary boundaries and interact with health professionals, patients, policy-makers, public and private sector stakeholders to gain an in-depth understanding of global health problems. However, their role does not stop here. Global health researchers also need to bring these different stakeholders together to set out cohesive and strategic action to solve these problems.

Lecturers on the Global Health programme

Programme in a nutshell

The Research Master Global Health is a two year, 120 ECTS programme which is fully taught in English. During this master, you embark on an intensive study of cross-cutting aspects of health systems together with students from all over the world. You will obtain the latest insights on infectious and chronic diseases in Master classes and learn all about research methods in our programme courses. You are taught how to design, implement and measure interventions and innovative strategies that address complex health challenges, such as the transmission of HIV from mother to child, and to analyse and compare different health systems. In this Research Master’s, and in particular during the two internships, you learn how to design and conduct research as well as how to analyse, discuss and present your research data. We strongly believe in the added value of offering two internships during the programme. This not only gives you the opportunity to explore different health problems and contexts, it also allows you to put mixed methods and transdisciplinary research into practice. Moreover, you will add relevance to your internship by bringing together different stakeholders to discuss the implications of your research findings for global health policy and practice. During a two-year period, you will receive the best possible preparation for a PhD or research position. While a number of our alumni have seamlessly enrolled into PhD trajectories, we have also seen our alumni successfully securing health policy or advisory positions in governmental and non-governmental agencies after completing the programme. 

First year

In the first year of the programme, courses will focus on the study of complex global health problems in high- and low-income countries. You will learn how to analyse problems, design intervention strategies as well as how to measure the effectiveness of such strategies by using qualitative and quantitative research methods, involving  multiple stakeholders and perspectives. You will also learn how to study health problems and interventions in the broader context of a government’s policy and national health system and to compare between countries. After completing one of the selective courses offered by the programme’s partners, you will conduct a mixed methods research in the Netherlands or abroad.

Second year

In the second year, you will further deepen your knowledge on global health problems and your research skills. The first two courses will focus on advanced quantitative analysis methods and transdisciplinary research. Thereafter, you will learn how to write scientifically and conduct a literature review. After completing a course on ethics, where you will analyse moral dilemmas, you will be guided in writing a research grant proposal. The master programme is rounded off with the Master Thesis, in which you present the research findings from your second internship in a scientific article.

Students on the Global Health programme

Short course descriptions can be found below.
For more detailed information about each individual course, please consult our Study guide.

Year 1

Course
Credits
Period
Research Methods in Global Health6
september
Global Health Interventions6
october
Governance for Global Health6
november
International Comparative Analysis of Health Systems6
december
Optional courses:  Challenges in Health Systems Innovation; Future Medicine; Aids, Medicine and Human Rights in a Cross-Cultural, Medical Anthropological Perspective6
january
Research Project30
feb - june

Year 2

Course
Credits
Period
Addressing Disease Burden in a Global Context6
september
Advanced Methodology: Interactive Learning and Action in Global Health6
october
Scientific writing in English3
november/december
Literature Review (in preparation to the ‘Master’s Thesis’)9
november/december
Ethics in Global Health3
january
Writing Research Grant Proposal (in preparation to ‘Master’s Thesis’)3
january
Master’s Thesis (completion with an article)30
feb - june 


Research Methods in Global health

In this course, the study of Global health is put in a historical perspective. Students learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches for the analysis of global health challenges, as well as learn to study the problem from the perspective of different disciplines. Students acquire knowledge in, and skills for, carrying out different research methods in order to identify, analyse and prioritize health problems.

Global Health Interventions

In the course ‘Global Health Interventions’, attention is paid to the relationship between the analysis of complex health problems and the design, implementation and evaluation of intervention strategies for specific health problems (in particular the determinants of effective health interventions). Research techniques, as well as different methods of monitoring and evaluation, are taught and exercised.

Governance for Global Health

In this course, students gain in-depth insight into important components of health systems, and core concepts of health policy, such as power relations, public versus private sector, change management, as well as the role of research in the process policy making. Students also learn to study interventions in the broader context of government policy and national health systems.

International comparative analysis of health systems

Health systems worldwide are confronted with certain developments that require their realignment. This is investigated in the course ‘International comparative analysis of health systems’ in which students get acquainted with quantitative performance assessment as well as the use of case studies. In group assignments, it is made transparent which economic and socio-cultural characteristics influence the functioning of health systems.

Optional course

Students give their own accent to their programme by choosing one of the three elective courses: ‘Challenges in Health System Innovation’, ‘Future Medicine’, or ‘Aids, Medicine and Human Rights in a Cross-Cultural, Methodological Perspective’.

Research project

Students put to practice the acquired competences by performing a mixed methods research internship. The Research Project anchors the skills and knowledge obtained in the courses, and requires that students analyse a concrete problem according to a descriptive and analytical question. The internship allows students to practice real scientific research in the field of global health.

Addressing Disease Burden in a Global Context

In this course, students gain insight into the challenges of dealing with co-morbid disorders and the ‘double burden of disease’. They learn about interventions and innovation strategies that seek to address this burden and learn how to use more advanced quantitative analysis methods. 

Advanced Methodology

The course ‘Advanced Methodology’ further deepens the students’ research skills through the operationalisation of quality criteria and evaluation of transdisciplinary research projects. Students learn to cope with power differences and learn the art of facilitating discussions amongst homogeneous and heterogeneous groups.

Scientific Writing in English

In Scientific Writing in English students develop skills in order to be able to write scientifically in English.

Global Health Literature review

Under academic supervision, students will independently conduct a literature review in a chosen specialisation.

Ethics in Global Health Research

In ‘Ethics in Global Health Research’, students analyse moral dilemmas, and learn to appreciate different value systems. At the same time, students are trained in the skill of guiding constructive discussions concerning ethical dilemmas and taking responsibility for ethical choices in the design and implementation phases of inter- and transdisciplinary research.

Writing a Research Grant Proposal

In this course, students learn how to write a scientific, transdisciplinary research proposal for submission to a research funding agency. Students can base their proposal on an area in which they could potentially do their PhD research and, at the end of the course, need to present it in a competitive pitch.

Master thesis

The master programme is completed with the Master Thesis, in which students put into practice their acquired competencies by planning and carrying out transdisciplinary research in global health. This internship culminates in the writing of a scientific article.

Global Health courses in study guide.

PhD’s and other research postings

This programme is the only research master in Global Health. The system’s perspective, and its associated transdisciplinary research, is the recurring theme throughout the programme. Research tools, techniques and approaches are an integral part of every course and culminate into two research projects (internships). Furthermore, using the latest knowledge and skills you have acquired in the research master, we will give you the building blocks for composing your own PhD research grant proposal towards the end of the second year. After graduation, our alumni were able to secure quite a variety of jobs. These include lecturer or research positions at Universities - among which PhD trajectories - advisory or consultancy positions, policy or programme officer posts at governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as global health practitioner posts (e.g. managing an overseas health programme).

Orientation towards a career and the labour market

The research projects help to prepare and familiarize students with the labour market. In addition, students can make use of the VU online career centre and get an introduction to the labour market during Business Days organized by NiBi (the Netherlands Institute for Biology). There are also seminars sponsored by trade and industry. More information on NiBi can be found on the Dutch website


Unique Programme offered by excellent research institutes in Amsterdam 
The Research Master’s in Global Health is a unique programme that opens up a world of possibilities. During a two-year period, you will receive the best possible preparation for a PhD or research position. You will have the opportunity to explore the latest theories and state-of-the-art techniques and research methods in the field of global health, spanning a range of disciplines and encompassing a systems-based perspective. You will receive two years of research training, supervised by professors, and you will be provided with the necessary building blocks to produce your own PhD research grant proposal during the programme. 

What is more, you will benefit from the combined expertise of leading academic institutions that collaborate within the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development: VU Amsterdam, the Academic Medical Centre and the University of Amsterdam.

Transdisciplinary approach 
Besides knowledge from different scientific disciplines, Transdisciplinary Research also incorporates knowledge from societal actors like patients, medical doctors, non-governmental organisations, insurance companies and other institutions.

Outstanding research institutes 
The Master's programme is coordinated by Athena, VU Amsterdam and offered by the partners of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD).

  • Athena (VU University Amsterdam) is a research and teaching department primarily focusing on analysing complex global (health) challenges, designing interventions, and participatory monitoring and evaluation research. The research programme at Athena is focused on the study and design of science-society interfaces and (system) innovation processes.
  • Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) links disciplines, resources and innovative programmes from academic institutions and implementing partners in the developed and developing world with the ultimate aim of providing access to high quality health care for all, throughout the world.  

 

Ingrid

Medical doctor

Ingrid

"My name is Ingrid, I am a medical doctor from Colombia and now alumni student of the Global Health research master’s. I was drawn to the programme because of its broad take on complex Global Health problems, and indeed the courses gave me new perspectives to observe, investigate, analyse and aim to solve these complex, but fascinating, problems. Even though, my professional career had already been enriched by multiple disciplines, during the first year of the programme, it was quite challenging for me to grasp different conceptual frameworks other than the, for me familiar, biomedical model. The two internships during the programme were a great space for fully comprehending the usefulness of these frameworks. Besides this, it was also a great international experience, as one of my internships was in Chennai, India. My other internship was at the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands in Amsterdam, which I can now successfully call my workplace. I am working as a public health advisor in the Health Unit of the Institute, where I coordinate the monitoring and evaluation systems of large projects, for instance on Health system strengthening and on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. These project are implemented in different African countries such as South Sudan, Zambia, Sierra Leone and Guinea."

Study in Holland

Overview Global Health

Language of instruction

English

Duration

2 years

Application deadline

1 June for Dutch students. 1 April for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students.* * EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam University Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

Start date

1 September

Study type

Full-time

Admission requirements

Field of Interest

Behavioural and Social Sciences/Health and Movement

Carolina

Carolina

"My name is Carolina, I am Brazilian, graduated in veterinary medicine and an international student in the second year of the Global Health Master. It has been a great experience so far to perform this master. Firstly, because of the experience of living abroad and the many friendships I have since made with my classmates and other international students from the VU University. Secondly, being closely to the completion of the master’s programme, I can certainly say that I learned a lot and I feel prepared for starting a professional career. The programme is very rich and besides it including a range of research methods, the global health aspects of it are preparing and motivating me to pursue a research position. My specific areas of interest are zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases; something which became even more clear during my internship on the prevention of Salmonella infections at the Veterinary and Agrochemical Belgian Research Center. The internship gave me a good insight into what it would be like to work in this field. My next and final internship will be in South Africa in a project on integrated disease prevention, monitoring and treatment, using the One Health approach. The most challenging part of this programme for me was to learn how to work efficiently in interdisciplinary teams and to organize my internships. My future goal is to do a PhD."

Some of the research projects that we have momentarily and in which students can get involved:

  • Each year thousands of refugees enter the Netherlands, but not everyone obtains asylum or makes this requests. Those who stay in the Netherlands without a permit are referred to as ‘undocumented migrants’. How does this group seek health care and what influences their health-seeking behaviour?
  • Low-income countries are increasingly confronted with the double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. How can health systems in Malawi and Vietnam best be re-oriented to ensure access to care and continuity of care at primary health and community levels?
  • Reducing maternal mortality ratios and morbidity rates requires among others that maternal health services are responsive to citizens’ needs. How can we measure the responsiveness of the health system to those needs and improve the engagement of citizens in decision-making processes in Malawi and Mali?
  • The number of people with diabetes mellitus type 2 continues to rise globally. As part of a large cohort study, the prevalence, as well as other aspects, of type 2 diabetes is being compared between Ghanaians residing in Ghana and Ghanaian migrants residing in three European countries. Are there any differences between these two groups in terms of prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of type 2 diabetes?
  • Primary health care is the first point of access to health care for most people, particularly for people in low-income countries. Services should be based on scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology. Projects in India, Uganda and Ghana explore the role and performance of community health workers and the use of mobile technology in primary health care.
  • Projections indicate that the global burden of mental health problems will continue to rise in the coming decades. In India, we have several ongoing research projects on specific mental health problems and on the delivery of mental health services at facility and community levels.
  • Stigma plays an important role as prevents people affected by leprosy from acquiring good quality of life. Which interventions at an individual, community and governmental level can improve the quality of life of people with leprosy in Indonesia?
  • Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and in animal farming are contributing to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. There is however limited data on the magnitude and implications of this antibiotic consumption as surveillance systems tend to be weak in low and middle income countries. A research project in Cameroon seeks to quantify and investigate the use of antibiotics in humans and livestock.

-What is a Research Master’s?
Generally speaking, a Research Master’s is aimed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills for conducting scientific research in a variety of fields. In the Netherlands, a Research Master’s is considered more prestigious than a normal Master’s degree due to its challenging curriculum of international quality. This Research Master’s in Global Health at the VU Amsterdam is unique in that it equips students to investigate complex health problems, using inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to research. 

-What kind of bachelor’s degree should I have to enter into this programme?
Our students come from a range of backgrounds. The best preparation for the Master’s programme is a bachelor in one of the base disciplines of Global Health (e.g., Medical Biology, Health Sciences, Medical Anthropology, Medicine, Health-Economics, Health Management, Pharmacy, Medical Natural Sciences) and basic knowledge of Epidemiology. On a case by case basis, we do consider student applications from other disciplines but cannot guarantee admission to the programme. 

-What is the selection process like?
After the completed application has been submitted through the online portal, it is sent to the admission board who reviews all the documents. Those that are eligible at first assessment receive a web-based entrance exam. Once the exam is completed and sent back, a skype or phone interview is scheduled between the applicant and the director of the programme. The admission board takes all of these factors into account and decides whether the applicant is accepted into the programme.

-What are the classes like?
Class sizes are small due to the selective nature of this programme and centre around discussions between the lecturers and students. Students enjoy a range of lecturers from the VU Amsterdam, and our partner organisations in the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD). We also organise Master Classes for which we invite national and international lecturers and who are leading global health experts.

-What kind of projects do students work on?
Due to the emphasis on transdisciplinarity and collaborative research, students are usually assigned projects in groups. Depending on the course, these vary from designing interventions for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV or a comparative analysis of health care systems in different countries. Note that these projects are not actually implemented, but serve as case studies to bring theory and practice together. They should be regarded as the rehearsal for your  ‘real live’ experience with research projects during the programme’s internships.

-What are internships like?
The Research Master Global Health at the VU Amsterdam is unique in that it allows students to undergo two internships during the two year programme. These are five month internships in an area of global health interest that requires further research. Students have the freedom to choose their own research topic and to do this anywhere around the world, given that the research fulfils certain criteria. The partners in the programme also open up their research projects to students and advertise these placements in advance.

-How is course work assessed?
In most of the courses, knowledge and skills are assessed using a combination of tests. We have written exams, testing the individual knowledge and capacity of students and group-based grading in which group work is being assessed. This may include a presentation, an essay, report or poster in which a group’s assignment is presented for assessment to the course coordinator and supervisors. Depending on the course, but as a rule of thumb, the written exams comprise 50% of the course grade, while practical assignments comprise the other 50% of the grade.

-What kind of career do students pursue after the completion of the degree?
Our students have entered a range of career paths, including doctoral programmes, lecturer and research positions, policy and advisory positions as well as practitioner posts in global health.

Due to the emphasis on transdisciplinarity and collaborative research, students are usually assigned projects in groups. Depending on the course, these vary from designing interventions for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV or a comparative analysis of health care systems in different countries. Note that these projects are not actually implemented, but serve as case studies to bring theory and practice together. They should be regarded as the rehearsal for your  ‘real live’ experience with research projects during the programme’s internships.

-What are internships like?
The Research Master Global Health at the VU Amsterdam is unique in that it allows students to undergo two internships during the two year programme. These are five month internships in an area of global health interest that requires further research. Students have the freedom to choose their own research topic and to do this anywhere around the world, given that the research fulfils certain criteria. The partners in the programme also open up their research projects to students and advertise these placements in advance.

-How is course work assessed?
In most of the courses, knowledge and skills are assessed using a combination of tests. We have written exams, testing the individual knowledge and capacity of students and group-based grading in which group work is being assessed. This may include a presentation, an essay, report or poster in which a group’s assignment is presented for assessment to the course coordinator and supervisors. Depending on the course, but as a rule of thumb, the written exams comprise 50% of the course grade, while practical assignments comprise the other 50% of the grade.

-What kind of career do students pursue after the completion of the degree?
Our students have entered a range of career paths, including doctoral programmes, lecturer and research positions, policy and advisory positions as well as practitioner posts in global health.

Christine

Christine

''I am Christine from Denmark and I have a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. After having worked in a hospital for more than a year, I left for Ecuador where I volunteered as a member of a health team. While doing health promotion in Ecuador, my interest in Global Health was really sparked. I am now in my first years of the Research Master in Global Health at the VU and am enjoying the various guest lecturers in this Master programme. One of the most challenging things I found so far is the workload of the programme. I am currently doing my first internship at the Athena Institute, in a large research project on health professionals’ accountability towards women who are receiving maternal healthcare in Malawi. The opportunity of doing a research internship twice during a Masters, was the main reason for me to choose this particular programme at the VU. After graduation, I hope to secure a position at an organisation where I can combine research with my practical skills from Nursing."

Esmée

Esmee

"My name is Esmée and I am a first year student of the Global Health research master’s. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in European Public Health at Maastricht University, I was looking for an academic challenge in which I would be exploring a study field other than health policy and instead of translating research findings into new policies I was curious to learn more about the research process itself. What I like about this programme is that it is small scale and that it brings together students from diverse academic backgrounds and nationalities. The ‘hands-on approach’ in the courses, through intense and dynamic group work, has taken my learning beyond theory and is making me feel better prepared to go into the field. I will do my first internship at the Medical Research Council in The Gambia, Africa. Through an exploration of different stakeholder perspectives on efforts to effectively reduce antimalarial drug resistance, we hope to provide the Ministry of Health with recommendations for a timely intervention. In future, I would love to work for the European Commission or the World Health Organisation. I am fascinated by international health threats and how to tackle them. My aim is to combine best of both worlds: field work and a job in policy & governance."

Dutch students

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. Specific admission requirements for the MSc Global Health programme: Every year 25 students are admitted to the Global Health Research Master’s programme. If you meet the application criteria you will be invited for an interview with the director of the Master’s programme (either in person or by skype). Admission requirements for the Research Master’s programme in Global Health are as follows:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in one of the base disciplines of Global Health (e.g., Medical Biology, Health Sciences, Medical Anthropology, Medicine, Health-Economics, Health Management, Pharmacy, Medical Natural Sciences) with basic knowledge of epidemiology.
  • A GPA of 3.5 (7.5 in the Dutch grading system) or higher. Students with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.5 may be considered if they have followed highly relevant specializations or honours programmes as part of their bachelor education.
  • Two reference letters (one from the supervisor of the bachelor thesis or internship).
  • Pass the web-based entry examination question.
  • Receive a positive recommendation on the basis of an interview with the programme director.

Contact 
In case you wish to contact the Master's coordinator for information or advice you need to know that no rights can be derived from the reply given by the coordinator regarding your admission. Only with the “admission email” you will be officially notified about your conditional or unconditional admission. 

Language Requirements 
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam also requires all applicants to take an English test. You can, however, begin your application without having the test results. Please be aware of the fact that it can take a long time to receive the results of English proficiency tests, so plan your test on time! In case you haven’t taken a test yet, we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Deadlines for submitting the English test are as follows: Students who require a visa: June 1 Students who do not require a visa: August 30 

Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the Global Health programme: 
IELTS (academic): · Minimum Overall Band Score 6.5 
TOEFL: · Paper-based test 580 · Internet-based test 92 
Cambridge English: · Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C · Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C 

Please refer to the Language Requirements webpage for the general requirements regarding language proficiency.

Copies of your English test results can be sent to the following addresses: 
•    For Dutch degree holders: toelating.beta@vu.nl 
•    For non-Dutch degree holders: admissionsfels@vu.nl 

Check all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here


If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria 

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Transcript (Provide a certified translation if it is not in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education · Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature) · 2 Letters of Recommendation After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. Once you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation about what to do after admission. When all conditions of your admission have been met, you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam! You can read more about practical matters and starting your studies in the Netherlands in our ‘Getting Started’ guide.


Further information is also available about:

Scholarships

Accommodation

Visa

Tuition fees


Information about the programme

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the master coordinator

VU University Amsterdam 
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences 
Dr. Elena Syurina 
De Boelelaan 1085, room TU-501
1081 HV Amsterdam 
T +31 (0)20 59 86271
E globalhealth@vu.nl

The master coordinator can also link you to a student enrolled in the programme for additional information.

For general information about VU University Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.

International students

Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. 

In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. We do not require a GRE or GMAT test score. Specific admission requirements for the MSc Global Health programme: Every year 25 students are admitted to the Global Health Research Master’s programme. If you meet the application criteria you will be invited for an interview with the director of the Master’s programme (either in person or by skype). Admission requirements for the Research Master’s programme in Global Health are as follows:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in one of the base disciplines of Global Health (e.g., Medical Biology, Health Sciences, Medical Anthropology, Medicine, Health-Economics, Health Management, Pharmacy, Medical Natural Sciences) with basic knowledge of epidemiology.
  • A GPA of 3.5 (7.5 in the Dutch grading system) or higher. Students with a GPA between 3.0 and 3.5 may be considered if they have followed highly relevant specializations or honours programmes as part of their bachelor education.
  • Two reference letters (one from the supervisor of the bachelor thesis or internship).
  • Pass the web-based entry examination question.
  • Receive a positive recommendation on the basis of an interview with the programme director.

Contact 
In case you wish to contact the Master's coordinator for information or advice you need to know that no rights can be derived from the reply given by the coordinator regarding your admission. Only with the “admission email” you will be officially notified about your conditional or unconditional admission. 

Language Requirements 
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam also requires all applicants to take an English test. You can, however, begin your application without having the test results. Please be aware of the fact that it can take a long time to receive the results of English proficiency tests, so plan your test on time! In case you haven’t taken a test yet, we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Deadlines for submitting the English test are as follows: Students who require a visa: June 1 Students who do not require a visa: August 30 

Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the Global Health programme: 
IELTS (academic): · Minimum Overall Band Score 6.5 
TOEFL: · Paper-based test 580 · Internet-based test 92 
Cambridge English: · Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C · Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C 

Please refer to the Language Requirements webpage for the general requirements regarding language proficiency.

Copies of your English test results can be sent to the following addresses: 
•    For Dutch degree holders: toelating.beta@vu.nl 
•    For non-Dutch degree holders: admissionsfels@vu.nl 

Check all general information on admission and application to Master's programmes here.

If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.

Step 1: Meet admission criteria 

Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (only for EU residents)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Transcript (Provide a certified translation if it is not in English)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education · Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature) · 2 Letters of Recommendation After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. Once you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via email.

Step 3: Await decision on admission

The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!

Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!

Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation about what to do after admission. When all conditions of your admission have been met, you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam! You can read more about practical matters and starting your studies in the Netherlands in our ‘Getting Started’ guide.


Further information is also available about:

Scholarships

Accommodation

Visa

Tuition fees


There are a number of possibilities for scholarships, varying widely in terms of eligibility, amount of money involved, duration, etcetera. For details, please visit the respective websites of the organisations. The first one mentioned below, scholarshipportal, is your gateway to a large number of scholarships. The second is the Nuffic Grant finder, next you find a list of useful website of different funding options. 

This webportal is a great place to start looking for scholarships; it integrates the funding opportunities for studying, working or performing research in one of the European nations. The portal aims to stimulate and help students worldwide to find and select appropriate scholarships to study in Europe.

Nuffic Grantfinder

The Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education (Nuffic) has their own portal to look for scholarships, the Nuffic Grantfinder

Other funding options

 

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the master coordinator.

VU University Amsterdam 
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences 
Dr. Elena Syurina 
De Boelelaan 1085, room TU-501
1081 HV Amsterdam 
T +31 (0)20 59 86271
E globalhealth@vu.nl

The master coordinator can also link you to a student enrolled in the programme for additional information.

For questions regarding your application, registration or general inquiries, please contact the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences International Student Advisor: 

Sandra van Daalen 
T: +31 (0)20 59 87459 
E: admissionsfels@vu.nl

For general information about VU University Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 10:00 to 12:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.empty

Kirsten

Kirsten

"My name is Kirsten. I have a background in Health Sciences and am an Alumni student since September 2015. During the programme, I learned how to apply the principles of transdisciplinary research, and saw the importance of including relevant stakeholders in research. I also learned how to conduct research independently as well as in multidisciplinary research teams. My first internship was at the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development (AIGHD) where I evaluated the implementation of HIV/TB guidelines in Dutch HIV care centers as well as studied the prevalence and under-reporting of TB/HIV co-infection in Dutch national registration databases. In the second year of the programme, I did my internship at the department of Public and Occupational Health of the VU medical center (VUmc) where I studied nurses’ experiences with palliative care in mental health facilities, using mixed-methods. One of the most challenging things I was faced with during my studies was trying to discover what topics appealed most to me, who I am as a researcher, and what I wanted to do after completing the programme. Upon graduation, I was offered a PhD position at my last internship placement, where I am now working  on the third evaluation of the Dutch Euthanasia Law. This is a multicenter ZonMw project, involving multiple stakeholders and multiple (e.g. medical, ethical and legal) perspectives. I will also start with the Epidemiology Master’s Programme at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatisctics at the VUmc."

Wouter

Wouter

"My name is Wouter and I am a 2nd year Global Health research master-student. After obtaining my master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Ghent, Belgium, I wanted to continue with research. As the research master Global Health is a very unique and respected course, I was really pleased to be admitted to the programme. In the past two years, the programme has satisfied most of my expectations. I had the opportunity of doing two separate internships in India, where I learned how to conduct all research phases as well as how to deal with all the aspects that surround it while working together with different actors. By choosing to do my internships in India, I encountered a lot of difficulties which I may not have faced if I would have stayed in Europe. Even though these difficulties were very challenging at times, they also helped me grow as a person and as an academic. For the future,  I would like to put my research skills to good use and help those who really need it."