Health Sciences

Tackling the health challenges of the future

Health Sciences: Tackling the health challenges of the future

Since 1900, life expectancy in the Netherlands has increased by 30 years. Only five of those years can be attributed to curative medicine; the remaining 25 years are due to public health and prevention measures.

In the Master’s programme in Health Sciences, you will learn to analyse various complex factors that contribute to health. The programme is aimed at mastering knowledge and skills contributing to a multi- or interdisciplinary approach to health problems, health promotion, and healthcare.

The master programme Health Sciences contains five specialisations which encompass the key disciplines in Health Sciences.

The five specializations enable students to focus on a specific domain of Health Sciences and to develop a specific expertise related to methodology (e.g. health economics), content knowledge (e.g. nutrition and infectious disease) context (Dutch or International) and application (intervention, prevention and policy).

The programme MSc Health Sciences is offered on a full-time basis starting in the first semester of the academic year (first week of September). The language of instruction is English, with the exception of 3 courses specifically focused on the Dutch context (see the schedule and the study guide).

The master programme in Health Sciences has a workload of 60 EC European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). The five specialisations of themaster Health Sciences includes the following five specialisations, which aim to enable students to combine research skills with in-depth knowledge in a specificdomain of Health Sciences:

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Disease & Public Health
  • International Public Health
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Prevention & Public Health
  • Route Midwifery Science

Courses (30 EC)

The full time schedule of the Masters program starts with courses, some of which must be completed before starting the internship (see specific course requirements by specialization). The full time course schedule is as follows:

  • two courses for 8 week in September and October
  • two courses for 8 weeks in November and December
  • one full time course for 4 weeks starting in Januari

This schedule, known as 8-8-4, represents a full work load of 5 courses of 6 EC each.

Internship and scientific writing (30 EC)

In Febuary, after meeting the course requirements of the specialization, students begin a five month internship (27 EC) which is taken together with a scientific writing course (3 EC). 

Putting together your program

Depending on your specialisation, there are certain required courses that you have to take. Additonally you can choose between optional courses. See the year schedule for all the specifics. Optional courses enable students to deepen their understanding of a specific field or area. They consist of both theoretical and practical aspects of health science research. The choice is determined by personal interest, specialization and internship. You can choose from the full range of health science subjects provided the course is offered in Health Sciences and you have met the pre-requisites for the course.  Students should check the study guide ahead of time and  ensure they meet the pre-requisites for any courses they plan to take. In case of questions, contact the course coordinator (see the study guide).

Route Midwivery Science

Besides the five specialisations, the M Health Sciences also includes a route Midwifery Science, which is only open for students with a Bachelor in Midwifery Sciences and a Pre-Master Health Sciences. This route includes two specific Advanced Midwivery Science courses. See the year schedule for specifics regarding this route.

Further Information

An overview of the year schedule can be found online.

Note: the following courses are focused on the Dutch context, require a professional degree and/or are only offered in Dutch:

  • Advanced Dietetics (6 ec) AM_1036: Given in Dutch and only available for dietitians.
  • Advanced Health Law (6 ec) AM_470844: Given in Dutch, focusing on the Dutch context.
  • Advanced Midwifery Science 1 Big Four (6 ec) AM_1188: Only available for students with a Midwifery degree.
  • Advanced Midwifery Science 2 Vulnerable Groups (6 ec) AM_1189 : Only available for students with a Midwifery degree.
  • Management in Health Organisation (6 ec) AM_470822: Given in Dutch, focusing on the Dutch context.
  • Prevention and policy (6 ec) AM_470823 Given is English but is focused on the Dutch context. Only recommended for students familiar with the Dutch health care system and interested in the Dutch context.

Specifics about courses being offered in the current academic years Master’s programme in Health Sciences and course descriptions can be found online in our study guide.
Specifics about the requirements of completing the program, by specialization, can be foun in the Teaching- and Exam Regulations Masters's Degree Programm 2017-2018.

Health Sciences touches on many aspects of society, so you can pursue a career in lots of different areas. With excellent analytical skills, a comprehensive overview of the healthcare system and specialized knowledge and skills, you will be a valuable asset to many employers in the healthcare sector.

Your job prospects after your Master’s include:

  • Researcher at a university, TNO (Applied Research Institute) or RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment)
  • Health insurance policy officer with a health insurer
  • Sickness prevention policy officer at a branch of the Municipal Health Services
  • Communication advisor on health issues
  • Manager at a work activity centre or healthcare institution
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health advisor for an NGO
  • Consultant 

Once you have completed your Master’s programme in Health Sciences, you may also decide to continue your studies at a more advanced level. The options include post-doctorate courses at the Netherlands School of Primary Care Research (CaRe) or the Netherlands Institute for Health Sciences (NIHES). You can also apply to a PhD programme at a university or research institute.

Salus Career Event

Each year student association Salus organizes a Career Event. A wide range of companies are represented at the event. The career event offers lectures and workshops to enable students to meet with future employers.

More information on Salus can be obtained at

More information on the Career Event can be obtained at

Health Sciences touches on many aspects of society, so you can pursue a career in lots of different areas. With excellent analytical skills, a comprehensive overview of the healthcare system and specialized knowledge and skills, you will be a valuable asset to many employers in the healthcare sector.

We are located at the Zuidas campus in Amsterdam, which is very well connected to the inner city of Amsterdam, Schiphol international airport, and the rest of the Netherlands.

Lily van Neer

Utrecht Public Health Service GG&GD

Overview Health Sciences




1 year


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 VU Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.


First week of September




Policy and Organization of Healthcare / Prevention and Public Health / Infectious Diseases and Health / Nutrition and Health / International Public Health


Health and Movement

Internship opportunities

Half of your Master’s programme will consist of an internship. This allows you to participate in a current research project, put your newly acquired knowledge into practice, gain valuable work experience and obtain a good impression of your future field of action.

Four quality criteria apply to this research:

  • it should focus on a challenging, verifiable research question
  • it should be carried out according to a sound experimental design
  • it should have a firm theoretical basis
  • the result is a scientific English article

The emphasis is on gaining insight into the relationship between the various components of the research process, hypothesizing, data collection, interpreting and reporting. The research should preferably have a clear social relevance.

More information on internships can be found under each specialization.

The one-year Master’s in Health Sciences is intended to educate students as specialist in the field of health care, public health and disease prevention. The study load is 60 EC credits.

Within the Master’s in Health Sciences you can choose one out of five specializations. Another option is to select your own courses to create your personal Master’s degree (with the approval of the examination board). The five specializations correspond with the research areas at the Department of Health Sciences:

  • Policy and Organisation of Health Care
  • Prevention and Public Health
  • Infectious Diseases and Public Health
  • Nutrition and Health
  • International Public Health

The master Health Sciences offers a special route for Midwifery Science. This route offers the possibility to enlarge and deepen your Maternity care knowledge at scientific level.

We encourage our students to think ahead and gear their programme to the placement or research project that they would like to do. For example, Clinical Nutrition provides a good basis for tackling projects in clinical settings, while Public Health Nutrition prepares you for projects in organizations such as Municipal Health Services (GGD) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Students in all specializations are required to complete an internship and write an article.

Course descriptions can be found in the study guide.


  • In this specialization students will learn approaches to optimize a health system such as the Dutch health system. Students will learn the economics of healthcare provision, the selection of treatments to cover with insurance. Moreover, the specialization allows students to study the science of policymaking and organization of healthcare. This provides an insight into the perspectives of providers, purchasers, patients and authorities. Another optional course is Dutch health law, which deals with all the laws that govern the participants in the Dutch healthcare system. 

The graduate of the specialisation Health Policy:

  • Has comprehension and appreciation of main healthcare issues, - including but not limited to - rising healthcare costs, healthcare system efficiency, market incentives, rationing, coverage of cost effective interventions, access of vulnerable groups, quality of healthcare, labor limitations and patient rights;
  • Is aware of the structure that govern the Dutch healthcare system, including the stakeholders and interest group landscape and the governance structure with quality and competition authorities and internal (in organization) governance;
  • Is able to apply economic theories to analyse healthcare issues at healthcare system, organizational and intervention level, and from both societal and stakeholder perspectives;
  • Is able to identify, select, evaluate and summarize relevant scientific evidence and translate it into evidence based healthcare policy.
  • Is able to select research designs to study health policy subjects.

Compulsory courses:

  • Care and Prevention Research
  • Advanced Health Economics
  • Scientific Writing in English

Students must take at least two from the following electives:

  • Advanced Statistics
  • Regulation and Organization of Healthcare
  • Economic Evolution
  • Advanced Health Law
  • Management in Health Organization


For more information about the program, please contact dr. Xander Koolman


  • This specialization will give you a broad overview of the biology of pathogenic organisms, the interaction between pathogens and their hosts. You will focus on the epidemiology and control of infectious diseases in the Netherlands and abroad. 

The graduate of the specialisation Infectious Disease & Public Health:

  • Possesses knowledge of the immunological aspects, development and expression of infectious disease and of the epidemiology, control and elimination of various infectious pathogens, as well as of the appropriate vaccinations;
  • Knows the life cycle, virulence and transmission of infectious pathogens, and of the outcome of diseases, in addition to being able to describe the various diagnostic laboratory tests for parasitic infections;
  • Is able to describe the relationship between nutrition and the appearance/development of infectious diseases, knows the causes and effects of malnutrition and over-nutrition in relation to infectious diseases with a special focus on vulnerable groups and/or populations.

Compulsory courses:

  • Care and Prevention Research
  • Nutrition and Infectious Disease
  • Parasitology
  • Scientific Writing in English

Students must take at least one from the following electives:

  • Containment Strategies Infectious Diseases
  • Advanced Statistics


For more information about the program, please contact dr. Colleen Doak


  • This specialization will train you to cooperate and communicate with professionals from various scientific and medical disciplines as well as representatives of public health and related organizations (such as patient organizations), focusing on health problems in a global context. 

 The graduate of the specialisation International Public Health:

  • Is familiar with the relevant methods and techniques (and with their value and limitations) needed to analyse international health issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, and is familiar with the limitations of these methods and techniques;
  • Possesses proven knowledge and understanding of interdisciplinary research aimed at solving international public health issues;
  • Possesses knowledge and understanding of the concepts and theories that underpin effective communication and collaboration.  

Compulsory courses

  • Research Methods for Needs Assessment
  • Containment Strategies Infectious Diseases
  • Policy, Management and Organisation in IPH
  • Scientific Writing in English 

 Students must take at least one from the following electives:

  • Disability and Developmen
  • Health, Globalisation and Human Rights
  • International Comparative Analysis of Health Care Systems
  • Nutrition and Infectious Disease 


For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Dirk Essink


  • This specialization focuses on the role of diet in health and in disease. You may, for example, concentrate on promoting good health through primary and secondary prevention of nutrition-related illness in the population, on nutritional problems in the clinical setting, on nutrition and infectious diseases, and/or on nutritional problems in developing and developed countries.

The graduate of the spesialization Nutrition and Health:

  • Has knowledge on the role of nutrition in the maintenance and promotion of health;
  • Has knowledge on the role of nutrition in the development of chronic disorders, like obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and frailty;
  • Understands the role of nutrition in health and development of chronic disorders within the scope of other life style factors;
  • Is able to identify qualitative or quantitative research designs for nutrition related research questions;
  • Has knowledge on the impact of preventive or therapeutic nutritional interventions both in terms of their potential and actual health benefits.

Compulsory courses

  • Care and Prevention Research
  • Puplic Health Nutrition
  • Scientific Wrinting in English

Students must take at least two from the following electives:

  • Nutrition in Health and Disease
  • Nutrition in Clinical Practice
  • Nutrition and Infectious Diseases
  • Advanced Dietetics. This course is only available for dietitians.


For more information about the program, please contact dr. Margreet Olthof


  • This specialization is intended for students who want to specialize in health promotion and disease prevention. You will gain a broad overview of the theory, research and practice in the field of prevention and public health. The focus is on health behavior, disease prevention, communication, lifestyle interventions and environmental interventions.

The graduate of the specialisation Prevention & Public Health:

  • Has knowledge of health promotion & disease prevention; concepts, definitions and history.
  • Can identify those individual, environmental and lifestyle factors which affects the health of individuals/populations in the short and long term (primary and secondary prevention);
  • Knows which psychosocial aspects are important in the treatment and management of (chronic) diseases, such as therapy compliance and patient communication (tertiary prevention);
  • Is familiar with the relevant behavioural change theories/models relating to the development of healthy behaviour, perceptions of illness, and self-regulation;
  • Knows how knowledge about health and prevention can contribute to the development of local and national policy.  

Compulsory courses

  • Care and Prevention Research
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Scientific Writing in English

 Students must take at least onefrom the following electives:

  • Communication Campaigns and Research
  • Health Psychology
  • Prevention and Policy
  • Prevention of Mental Health Problems


For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Willemieke Kroeze

Mine Yildirim

Institute for Health and Care Research EMGO+

Student experiences

Laura Shields  Specialization: International Public Health

  Prepatory training:
  1) Bachelor's in Psychology
  2) Bachelor's in International Development 



Perfect bridge between studies, work experience and career interests

I chose the International Public Health masters because it was the perfect bridge between my studies, previous work experience and career interests. I started off as a student in psychology and international development in Canada and the UK, and my interests became more interdisciplinary as time went on. After working in mental health at the national level in the UK and on an international level for an NGO focusing on psychiatry and human rights in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, my interests became focused on health systems, policies, service delivery, and increasing accessibility to health services. Knowing that my interests spanned across different health disciplines, I sought out a program where I could gain a deeper insight into complex health problems on an international scale.

Flexible Master’s Programme

The flexibility of this master's programme meant that I could tailor the programme to my interests. I still was able to acquire a broad set of analytical skills in public health and epidemiology, while simultaneously focusing on my particular interest of global mental health.  The flexibility of the programme also allowed me to work throughout my studies in my field. 
The modules throughout the masters enabled me to grasp many different facets of public health – research, epidemiology, policy, management, health systems, human rights, and communicable and non-communicable diseases. This was beneficial as it allows you to consider multiple perspectives, approaches, and factors when problem-solving complex issues in public health. It was also quite a challenge adjusting to a new educational system where the majority of people speak a different language than you!

Internship at WHO in Geneva

For my internship and thesis portion of my masters, I independently applied to be an intern at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. I contributed to writing needs assessments for countries in the Western pacific Region, which assessed the status of mental health in the respective country and identified next steps (primarily in policy, organization of health services, and human resources). It was primarily qualitative work in policy and epidemiology, and identifying opportunities and gaps within a country's mental heath system.

It was an amazing opportunity which provided me with insight into global mental health. It was also fantastic to interact with health professionals at the forefront of global health, attend seminars, contribute to publications, and build some excellent contacts. Lastly, it was an inspiring experience to be surrounded by a diverse workplace that all maintained a common goal of improving global health.

Multiple perspectives

Currently, I am just finishing a contract at the Trimbos Institute (the national institute of mental health and addiction), and will be collaborating on research looking at community mental health, policy, and mental health and human rights in India. I intend to complete a doctoral degree in public health specialising in international mental health and ideally, apply my skills and become a mental health advisor, working on health in resource-poor settings and implementing mental health strategies.

Tessa van Loenen Specialization: Policy and Organization of Health Care

 Prepatory education: Bachelor’s in Health Sciences




How I came to be interested in policy and organization of health care

After completing my pre-university education, I actually wanted to go into Medicine. However, I wasn’t chosen for the course and had to choose another programme. I decided to study Health Sciences because I was interested in studying human health from a variety of different perspectives. It turned out to be the perfect choice. I enjoyed the first year so much that I decided to finish this Bachelor’s programme and continue with the Master’s in Policy and Organization of Health Care since this specialization best matched my interests. I was curious how health care systems worked and how they could enhance the quality and availability of health care.

Contribute to quality of health care in the Netherlands

During the second part of my Master’s programme, I conducted my placement at the RIVM, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. This is a knowledge and research institute dedicated to promoting public health and a healthy and safe living environment. During this placement, I put everything I had learned so far into practice. My research contained a quantitative analysis of the new bundled payment system (‘Keten-DBC’) in the Netherlands. My objective was to explore if and why there is variation in quality of diabetes health care provided within this new system. Are these differences attributable to characteristics at care group, GP practice or patient level? And how can we learn from this?

This is currently a topic of heated debate in the Dutch health care system. I, therefore, hope to be able to contribute to these discussions by publishing an article about my research, for which I am currently analysing extra data.

The study placement not only developed my research skills considerably, it was also really enjoyable and fun to do!

Enhancing my career prospects

The big advantage of studying Health Sciences at VU Amsterdam is being given the opportunity to compile your own programme. In addition to the compulsory courses for my specialization, I also had the option of choosing elective courses from another specialization. This allowed me to compile a study programme suited to my individual needs and interests. My study placement awakened my interest for scientific research and fostered an ambition to pursue my academic studies further. I subsequently embarked on a PhD at the IQ Healthcare, a scientific centre for research and education that supports quality, safety and innovation in health care. During my PhD programme, I will examine the effects of the quality and availability of primary health care on secondary health care with the aid of a vast database from several countries. There is no doubt that my education at VU Amsterdam equipped me with the all necessary skills and knowledge for a job like this.

Rik Koekenbier

Amsterdam Public Health Service GGD

Dutch students

In order to determine your eligibility to the program the student must submit his/her application according to the formal application procedure. 

Course prerequisites for entry to the Master in Health Sciences are met by students who have completed:

  • BSc in Health Sciences, from the VU
  • BSc in Health and Life Sciences, from the VU
  • Premasters Health Sciences from the VU (language exam required) 

For all other students, the admission committee of the master Health Sciences will make a decision based on the transcripts and motivation letter. No pre-checks of diplomas will be performed! The admissions procedures are not different by specialization, but students should check the study guide to ensure they meet the pre-requisites for the courses given by their chosen specialisation.

Admission criteria for entry to the Masters in Health Sciences is as follows:

  • Bachelors degree from a Dutch University
  • 30 ECTS biology, physiology or bio-medical (University Bachelors level)
  • 12 ECTS Statistics courses (University Bachelors level)
  • 6 ECTS Epidemiology (University Bachelors level). Please note that that introductory/prerequisite courses such as Introduction to Public Health are not considered courses in Epidemiology.

A motivation letter and a copy of the course transcripts are required except for students coming directly from the VU Health Sciences or Health and Life Sciences. The motivation letter should elaborate on:

  • which course titles from the transcripts meet the 30 ECTS biology requirement
  • which course titles relate to the 12 ECTS statistics, elaborating on the content and level of statistical analysis and any statistical programs used
  • which courses titles meet the 6 ECTS epidemiology and the content and level

In the event that the content of the course is not self-evident the admissions committee will determine whether a course qualifies based on the information provided in the motivation letter. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make the case explaining the content of the course in relation to the relevant content.

Wil je na je paramedische hbo-opleiding doorstuderen om je carrière verder voort te zetten op academisch niveau? Dan is de premaster Health Sciences voor jou de volgende stap. Met dit eenjarige studieprogramma word je voorbereid op de master Health Sciences, onder andere door het wegwerken van deficiënties in onderzoeksmethodologie en statistiek, en het volgen van een masterspecialisatiecursus. Het onderwijs wordt gegeven in het Nederlands. De premaster start alleen in september.

De premaster bestaat uit een eenjarig programma van 30 EC, waarin studenten 5 cursussen van elk 6 EC volgen. Het cursuspakket is afhankelijk van de specialisatie binnen de master Health Sciences die een student na de premaster gaat doen. Studenten kiezen dus voordat zij aan de premaster beginnen al een masterspecialisatie. Kijk in de Studiegids voor meer informatie.

Alle premasterstudenten volgen in ieder geval drie cursussen methodologie/statistiek, één cursus kwalitatief onderzoek en in principe één specialisatiecursus. De specialisatiecursus is afhankelijk van de masterspecialisatie die een student na het premasterjaar kiest. Daarnaast is er tijdens de verschillende vakken speciale aandacht voor academische vaardigheden, zoals wetenschappelijk schrijven, mondeling presenteren en informatievaardigheden.

Er is één contactdag per week (hierbij wordt uitgegaan van een 20-urige studieweek). De contacturen zijn gepland op dinsdag of op vrijdag, dit kan per premastercursus verschillen.


Premaster vakken 

Een complete vakbeschrijvingen kan je vinden in de Studiegids

Overige informatie Premaster

Duur:1 jaar (30 EC)
Aanmelden voor:1 juni
Voorbereidend op:Master Health Sciences
Interessegebied:Health and Life Sciences
Toelatingseisen:Alle gezondheidsgerelateerde HBO-opleidingen geven direct toegang tot de premaster (mits het assessment is bijgewoond).
Studenten met een WO-vooropleiding die afgewezen worden voor de Master Health Sciences worden niet toegelaten tot de Premaster.
Kosten:Voor informatie over de kosten van het studieprogramma en het assessment kijk dan op de VU-website.

Let op:
  1. Je krijgt geen restitutie van de kosten van het studieprogramma op basis van uitschrijving/beëindiging halverwege het studiejaar.
  2. Je krijgt na de aanmelding voor het assessment geen restitutie van de kosten van het assessment, ook niet als je het assessment niet maakt.

Aanmelden premaster
De aanmeldprocedure voor de premaster staat uitgebreid beschreven op de VU-website.

Voor vragen over studiefinanciering, studentenlening en/of OV-studentenkaart kun je contact opnemen met DUO-IB-groep

Na de premaster
Alleen als je het premasterjaar volledig succesvol hebt afgerond, heb je direct toegang tot de Master Health Sciences aan de VU. Per 2016/17 is ook het voldoen aan de Engels taaleis een verplichting voor toelating tot de masteropleiding vanuit de premaster. Aan deze eis moet voor of gedurende het premasterprogramma worden voldaan, uiterlijk voor 1 september 2017.
De studiepunten van het premasterjaar zijn een jaar geldig, dat betekent dat je na de premaster direct start aan de Master.

Veelgestelde vragen
Via onderstaande link vind je de antwoorden op een aantal veelgestelde vragen.

FAQ Premaster Gezondheidswetenschappen 

Staat het antwoord op je vraag niet op deze site, neem dan contact op met de premastercoördinator: 

Alles wat je altijd al over de premaster Gezondheidswetenschappen wilde weten.


Q: Wat is de premaster Gezondheidwetenschappen?
A: De premaster is een schakeljaar tussen een paramedische hbo-opleiding en de masteropleiding Health Sciences (1 jaar) waarin deficiënties worden weggewerkt.

Q: Voor wie is de premaster bedoeld?
A: Voor mensen met een afgeronde 4-jarige paramedische hbo-opleiding, die in willen stromen in de master Health Sciences.

Q: Wanneer begint de premaster?
A: De premaster start 1 keer per jaar, alleen in september. Instroom in de premaster gedurende het studiejaar is niet mogelijk.

Q: Is het mogelijk om de premaster in deeltijd te volgen?
A: De premaster is een 1-jarig deeltijdprogramma. Er is 1 contactdag per week (hierbij wordt uitgegaan van een 20-urige studieweek). De contacturen zijn op dinsdag of vrijdag, dit kan per premastercursus verschillen. In het jaarrooster kan je lezen welke premastercursus op welke dag staat gepland.

Q: Hoeveel college-uren zijn er per week in de premaster?
A: Bij 1 contactdag in de week zijn er gemiddeld 8 uur hoor –en werkcolleges.

Q: Worden de college-uren in de premaster op vaste dagen in de week aangeboden?
A: In de premaster worden de cursussen gedurende het gehele studiejaar zoveel mogelijk op 2 vaste dagen gepland. Dit zijn de dinsdag en vrijdag.

Q: Wat zijn de tijden waarop er college wordt gegeven?
A: De colleges worden gegeven tussen 9.00 en 18.00 uur.

Q: Worden de colleges in de premaster en master in het Engels gegeven?
A: In de premaster worden de colleges in het Nederlands gegeven. In de master worden de colleges meestal in het Engels gegeven. Deelname van internationale studenten aan de cursussen is in de master niet ongebruikelijk.

Q: Wordt er in de premaster en master veel gebruik gemaakt van Engelstalig studiemateriaal?
A: Veel studiematerialen zijn Engelstalig, zowel in de premaster als in de master.

Q: Is het mogelijk om naast de premaster te werken?
A: 1 contactdag per week staat voor een 20-urige studieweek. Het is dus mogelijk om naast de premaster te werken. De master Health Sciences is wel een voltijd studieprogramma.

Q: Ik heb een wetenschappelijke minor gevolgd bij mijn hbo-opleiding. Kan ik hiervoor vrijstelling krijgen in de premaster?
A: Wanneer je een wetenschappelijke minor hebt gevolgd tijdens je hbo-opleiding, zal dit programma beoordeeld worden op zowel inhoud (onderwerpen) als omvang (aantal EC). De examencommissie beslist op basis van deze informatie of er vrijstelling(en) verleend wordt. Voor meer informatie over de procedure kun je contact opnemen met de premastercoördinator via

Q: Krijg ik een diploma voor de premaster?
A: Nee, voor de premaster krijg je geen diploma. Dit is geen examenprogramma, maar een programma om deficiënties weg te werken.

Q: Staat het afronden van de premaster gelijk aan een bachelor van de opleiding Gezondheidswetenschappen?
A: Nee, dit is niet het geval.

Q: Wanneer moet ik een keuze maken voor de masterspecialisatie die ik wil volgen?
A: Met ingang van het premasterprogramma in 2011-2012 moeten studenten zich al oriënteren op een specialisatie, vóórdat ze de premaster in gaan. Het cursuspakket dat studenten in de premaster krijgen is namelijk afhankelijk van de specialisatiekeuze in de master Health Sciences.

Q: Wat zijn de eisen om na mijn premaster de master in te mogen?
A: Om in te kunnen stromen in een masterspecialisatie van Health Sciences, moeten alle 30 studiepunten behaald worden. Dat betekent dat alle cursussen uit het premastercursuspakket met een voldoende (>5,5) zijn afgerond.

Q: Hoeveel kansen zijn er om een tentamen te behalen?
A: Er zijn twee tentamenkansen per studiejaar. Als het tentamen de tweede keer opnieuw niet behaald is, is instroom in de master niet meer mogelijk.

Q: Is het mogelijk om langer dan een jaar over de premaster doen?
A: Nee dat is niet mogelijk. Je moet je premaster binnen 1 jaar hebben afgerond.

Q: Kan ik na het behalen van mijn premaster een jaar er tussenuit om daarna met de master starten?
A: Nee dat is niet mogelijk. De behaalde resultaten van de premaster zijn een jaar geldig. Daarom moeten studenten direct na hun premaster starten met de masteropleiding. 

Q: Voor welke zaken moet ik in ieder geval de website in de gaten houden?
A: Het is verstandig de website in de gaten te houden voor wat betreft de toelatingseisen, de toelatingsprocedure en de uiterste aanmelddatum.

Q: Waar kan ik meer informatie vinden over de algemene bepalingen van de premaster?
A: Je kan meer informatie vinden in de Studiegids van de premaster of op de website van de VU.


Q: Is er sprake van een numerus fixus voor de premaster?
A: Nee, hiervan is geen sprake. Wanneer je een van de hbo-opleidingen hebt gevolgd die toegang bieden tot de premaster en je aanwezig bent bij het premasterassessment, kan je instromen in de premaster.

Q: Met welke hbo-opleiding heb je direct toegang tot de premaster?
A: Alle gezondheidsgerelateerde hbo-opleidingen geven direct toegang tot de premaster mits je het assessment hebt bijgewoond. Studenten met een wo-vooropleiding die afgewezen worden voor de Master Health Sciences worden niet toegelaten tot de premaster.


Q: Ik heb alleen een hbo-propedeuse. Kan ik instromen in de premaster?
A: Nee. Met een hbo-propedeuse kun je alleen instromen in de bachelor Gezondheidswetenschappen. Je moet beschikken over Engels, wiskunde en biologie op vwo-niveau. Voor meer informatie hierover zie de toelatingsprocedure voor de bachelor Gezondheidswetenschappen.


Aanmelden en inschrijven

Q: Hoe moet ik mij inschrijven?
A: Op de VU-website staat de aanmeldingsprocedure beschreven.

Q: Ik beschik nog niet over mijn diploma, kan ik me nu wel al inschrijven?
A: Ja, dit kan. Je moet echter wel je diploma voor 31 augustus inleveren bij de VU. Zie aanmeldingsprocedure op de VU-website.

Q: Moet ik mij als premasterstudent ook inschrijven via Studielink?
A: Ja, ook als premasterstudent schrijf je je in via Studielink. Dit kan al voordat je je hebt ingeschreven vóór het assessment.

Q: Wanneer ontvang ik mijn boekenlijst?
A: Je ontvangt geen boekenlijst. In de Studiegids staat per cursus vermeld welke studiematerialen (i.e. boek(en), reader(s), artikel(en)) er worden gebruikt. Wanneer dit niet staat vermeld, wordt dit voorafgaande aan de cursus bekend gemaakt.


Q: Is deelname aan het premasterassessment verplicht?
A: Ja, alle hbo-instromers zijn verplicht deel te nemen aan het premasterassessment.

Q: Waar vind ik informatie over het premasterassessment?
A: Op > opleidingen > masteropleidingen > premasterassessment vind je de volgende informatie over het premasterassessment: het doel van het premasterassessment, data van afname, plaats van afname, voorbereidingstips, een voorbeeldassessment, aanmelding en kosten én de uitslag.

Q: Tot wanneer kan ik me aanmelden voor het assessment?
A: Inschrijven voor het assessment kan tot uiterlijk 1 juni. Dit is een harde deadline. Wanneer je je na 1 juni aanmeldt, word je niet toegelaten tot de premaster. In geen enkel geval wordt er een uitzondering gemaakt.

Q: Hoe lang is de uitslag van het assessment geldig?
A: De uitslag van het assessment is 1 jaar geldig.

Q: Zijn er kosten verbonden aan het assessment?
A: Ja, de kosten voor deelname aan het assessment zijn € 110,-. Na aanmelding restitueren we die kosten niet, ook niet als je later besluit niet deel te nemen aan het assessment of de opleiding. Zonder betaling van het assessment kun je niet starten met de opleiding.

Studiefinanciering, OV-studentenkaart en kosten

Q: Heb ik gedurende de premaster recht op studiefinanciering, een studentenlening en/of een OV-studentenkaart?
A: Voor vragen over studiefinanciering, studentenlening en/of OV-studentenkaart kan je contact opnemen met DUO (IB groep).
Mogelijke benodigde informatie: premaster studenten staan op dit moment ingeschreven als bachelorstudent met * (ster).

Q: Hoe hoog is het collegegeld voor de premaster?
A: Je betaalt voor een premasterprogramma van ten hoogste 30 EC een vergoeding van € 953 indien je beschikt over een EER- of een niet-EER-nationaliteit. Er is geen restitutie mogelijk wanneer je bent ingeschreven in de Premaster en je stopt eerder met de opleiding. Meer informatie over collegegelden.

Voorlichting en introductie

Q: Wanneer zijn de open dagen voor de premaster?
A: Voorlichting over de premaster wordt gegeven gedurende de mastervoorlichtingsdagen. Voor data waarop deze plaatsvinden, kun je het beste onze website in de gaten houden: voorlichtingsactiviteiten.  

Q: Is het mogelijk een dag met de premaster mee te lopen?
A: Dit is zeker mogelijk. Je kunt je hiervoor aanmelden. Een van onze studenten neemt dan contact met je op om een afspraak te maken voor de meeloopdag.


Q: Wordt er een introductiedag georganiseerd voor de premasterstudenten?
A: In de week voorafgaand aan de start van het nieuwe studiejaar, is er een introductiedag. Hierover krijg je in augustus meer informatie.



We collected the frequently asked questions about the general Master's programme in Health Sciences and about the application and registration.

What are the admission requirements for the Master Health Sciences?
More info about the admission requirements

Are the Master’s courses taught in English?

All Master’s courses are taught in English, except for one optional course: Health Law.

When does the Master’s programme start and when does it end?
The Master’s programme starts at September 1st and ends at the end of June.

Is it possible to start the programme at a different moment?
No, you can only start the Master's programme at the beginning of the academic year (September).

Is it possible to work alongside the Master’s programme?
The Master’s programme is a full time study. It is up to each individual student to decide whether this is feasible in combination with the demands of their job.

Is it possible to follow the Master's programme part time?
No, the Master’s programme is full time. There are no plans for a part time programme.

Is there a registration limit for the Master’s programme?
No, there is no limit. Anyone who meets the entry requirements can participate in the Master’s programme.

What are the tuition fees for the Master’s programme Health Sciences?
For more information about tuition fees follow this link.
What is the structure of the Master’s programme Health Sciences?
From September until the end of January the programme consists of five courses. After these courses the Master continues with five months of internship. Take a look at the schedule for the complete Master's programme.  

Master coordinatorDr. Colleen Doak+31
Assistant Master coordinatorSuleyman Rabbani
Premaster coordinatorDr. Eva Leistra
T +31 20 598 7702
Assistant Premaster coordinatorSuleyman Rabbani
Coordinator of specialization

Policy and Organization of Health careDr. Xander Koolman+31 20 59
Prevention and Public HealthDr. Willemieke Kroeze+31
Infectious Diseases and HealthDr. Colleen Doak+31
Nutrition and HealthDr. Margreet Olthof+31 20
International Public HealthDr. Dirk Essink+31 20

Open days

Want to visit Health Sciences at VU Amsterdam? Check the information on our open days.

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. If you have read the admission criteria below 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

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 Health Sciences programme:

Direct Admission for WO Bachelor’s degrees from Dutch universities in the following fields: 

  • Bachelor Health Sciences
  • Bachelor Health & Life sciences
  • Premaster Health Sciences Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

For students with a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to health and/or life sciences:

Students with Dutch Bachelor degrees other than those listed above or with degrees from a university outside the Netherlands must meet the following admissions criteria:

1. Adequate knowledge in health and/or life sciences (see list of ‘Related Disciplines’ below)

2. 6 EC in Epidemiology

3. 12 EC in Biostatistics

4. 30 EC Biology

Coursework in Epidemiology and Biostatistics must be at the university Bachelor level and must be listed on an official transcript/certificate.

Related Disciplines

  • Bachelor Human Movement Science
  • Bachelor Psychology
  • Bachelor Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelor Medicine
  • Bachelor Nutrition and Health (Wageningen University)
  • Bachelor Gezondheid en Maatschappij (Wageningen University)
  • Bachelor Farmaceutische wetenschappen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Bachelor Medische Natuurwetenschappen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
  • Bachelor Psychobiologie (UvA)
  • Bachelor Bèta Gamma met een major Biomedische wetenschappen of met een major Psychobiologie

Coursework in Epidemiology and Biostatistics must be at the university Bachelor level and must be listed on an official transcript/certificate.

Other Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes
All students with other Bachelor’s or Master’s degree outside the field of health and/or life sciences will not be admitted.

Courses to overcome deficiencies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (taught in Dutch)
Please note: if you do not fulfill the above requirements, i.e., if these courses are not listed on your Bachelor or Master transcript, you need to take additional courses to overcome your deficiency. Courses available at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are:


  • Bachelor program Gezondheidswetenschappen
    Epidemiology & Biostatistics I: course code AB_470231
    Language: Dutch
  • Premaster program Gezondheidswetenschappen
    Epidemiology & Applied Biostatistics I: course code AP_470901
    Language: Dutch
  • Bachelor program Biomedische wetenschappen
    A 6 EC course in Epidemiology:
    course code AB_470180
    Language: Dutch



Bachelor programme Gezondheidswetenschappen

  • Epidemiology & Biostatistics II: course code AB_470227 (entry requirement Epidemiology & Biostatistics I code AB_470231)
  • Epidemiology & Biostatistics III: course code AB_470228 (entry requirements Epidemiology & Biostatistics I code AB_470231; Epidemiology & Biostatistics II code AB_470227)
    Language: Dutch

Premaster programme Gezondheidswetenschappen
Courses in Biostatistics (6 EC)

  • Epidemiology & Applied Biostatistics II: course code AP_470907 (entry requirement Epidemiology & Applied Biostatistics I: course code AP_470901)
  • Epidemiology & Applied Biostatistics III: course code AP_1002 (entry requirements Epidemiology & Applied Biostatistics I: course code AP_470901; Epidemiology & Applied Biostatistics II: course code AP_470907)
    Language: Dutch

You may also take similar courses at other universities, but have to show an official certificate showing that you have passed the course. An online course in (Epidemiology and) Statistics (language: English) is also available (contact the master coordinator).


In case you wish to contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office 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 test results 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 theHealth Sciencesprogramme:

IELTS (academic):

  • Minimum Overall Band Score 6.5


  • 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.

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:




Tuition fees

There are several possibilities for obtaining funding. VU Amsterdam, the Dutch government and other organisations offer scholarships, fellowships and grants.

Master coordinatorDr. Colleen Doak+31
Assistant Master coordinatorSuleyman
Premaster coordinatorDr. Colleen Doak+31
Assistant Premaster coordinatorSuleyman
Coordinator of specialization

Policy and Organization of Health careDr. Xander Koolman+31 20 59
Prevention and Public HealthDr. Willemieke Kroeze+31
Infectious Diseases and HealthDr. Colleen Doak+31
Nutrition and HealthDr. Margreet Olthof+31 20
International Public HealthDr. Dirk Essink+31 20

For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure, contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office: 

Sandra van Daalen
T: +31 (0)20 59 87459

Open days

Want to visit Health Sciences at VU Amsterdam? Check the information on our open days

General information about VU Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 59 85000 (Monday-Friday 10:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at

Rinie Lammers

Dutch Institute for Healthcare Improvement CBO