Global Health

Meet the global health challenge

Research Master's in Global Health

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.

Overview of MSc. Global Health

During the research master, students from all over the world embark on an intensive study of cross-cutting aspects of health problems and health systems. Students obtain the latest insights on specific topics, such as infectious diseases, NCDs, maternal health and mental health in Master classes and learn about inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods in courses. Special attention is given to developing students' ability to critically assess research designs and research proposals. They are taught how to design, implement and ‘measure’ interventions that address complex health challenges, and to analyse and compare different health systems.

Overview Global Health

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

2 years

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June for Dutch students
1 April for non-EU/EEA and EU/EEA students that need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 June for EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
25 places available

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Behavioural and Social Sciences
Health and Movement

About Global Health

Global health is defined as the broad field of study, research and practice geared towards improving health and achieving equity in health. Though often used interchangeably, global health differs from the fields of public health and international health as is summarized in the table below. If you are the type of person who wishes to look beyond national boundaries and disciplinary distinctions then the field of global health and our unique master’s program may be a good fit for you.


Geographical Reach
Level of Cooperation
Individuals or Populations
Access to Health
Range of Disciplines
Global Health
Issues which transcend national boundaries
Global
Prevention (population) and clinical care (individuals)
Global health equity
Highly interdisciplinary
International Health
Issues outside of one's country
Bi-national
Prevention (population) and clinical care (individuals)Help other nations
Embraces a few disciplines
Public Health
Issues within a community or country
National
Prevention (population)National health equity
Encourages multidisciplinary approaches
*adapted from: Koplan JP et al. Lancet 2009, 373:9679 pp 1993-1995

The increasing complexity of global health issues has resulted from the following four relatively recent developments:

  • Globalization: Diseases ‘globalize’ through the increased mobility of people and goods at a rapid pace around the world.

  • Socio-economic Developments: Socio-economic developments that arise at national level often (if not always) have an impact on the rest of the world and are important for many aspects of 'health'.

  • Rise of Global Governance: Increasingly, organizations like the United Nations (UN) set global targets that aim to highlight and tackle global problems to provide universal realization of human rights across the globe.

  • Emerging Infectious Diseases: New and emerging infectious diseases (e.g. Zika, Ebola or zoonosis, such as SARS) require collaborative research and innovation of the world leading research institutes and considerable financial investments.
This complexity demands for innovative strategies in order to improve health equity around the world.

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. 

Courses

  • 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’, ‘Cross-Cultural Psychology and Psychiatry’, 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.

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.

Courses

  • 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.

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emptyemptyYear schedule Global Health

Research Focus
During the two internships offered by the program, the students learn how to set-up, execute and analyse the results of their own research as well as how to present and discuss research data in a professional way to different audiences. We strongly believe in the added value of offering two internships during the program. This not only gives students the opportunity to explore different health problems and contexts, it also allows students to put mixed methods and transdisciplinarity into practice, to experience and gain insight into the professional world, and to help students to begin to create their professional network. Students add social impact to their internship during the second year by bringing together different stakeholders to discuss the implications of their research findings for global health policy and practice.

Network of Research Institutes
The Master's program is coordinated by the Athena Institute, Faculty of Science (VU). Athena’s research in the field of global health focuses on the following themes:

  1. Universal access to health: Athena studies the design and implementation of interventions to improve access to health care (e.g. use of mobile phones by community health workers in resource-poor areas), mechanisms to increase responsiveness of health services (e.g. establishment of social accountability mechanisms for maternal health services) and strategies to strengthening institutions (e.g. mainstreaming new working methods in mental health care) and system level changes (e.g. introduction of community-based healthcare in India or evidence-informed policymaking on health programs in Laos). 
  2. Patient/client-centred health care: Athena studies the facilitation of interdisciplinary collaboration (e.g. between different maternal health professionals and patients), meaningful patient/client participation in research, care and policy (e.g. engagement in designing and conducting clinical trials, development of patient-centred clinical guidelines and care pathways), metrics for measuring impact of patient participation, as well as mainstreaming of patient/client participation in organizations (e.g. funding agencies, universities, hospitals, psychiatric clinics, nursing homes and welfare organizations).

Within these themes the following topics, among others, are currently being researched at the Athena Institute: 

  • Global mental health 
  • Maternal health 
  • M-health 
  • Stigma research 
  • Governance 
  • Disability studies 
  • Science & society 
  • Health system challenges 
  • Non-communicable diseases 

The program is executed in collaboration with a network of Global Health Institutes throughout Amsterdam, including: 

  • Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD
  • Department of Global Health at the Academic Medical Centre (UMC
  • Centre for Social Science and Global Health (SSGH) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) 

Additionally, given the global focus of the program, the Athena Institute has partnerships and regularly facilitates internships with a number of international institutions. Past students have travelled to a diverse selection of low-, middle-, and high-income countries such as Denmark, Tanzania, Switzerland, the United States, Ethiopia, Brazil, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Laos, and many more. 

Transdisciplinary focus
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. The GH program therefore specifically focuses on the study of complex global health issues and acquisition of knowledge, attitude and skills in the field of inter- and transdisciplinary research and systems thinking.

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

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 Amsterdam. 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."

Dutch students

A successful applicant should possess the following skills and qualities:

  • High academic grades 
  • Aptitude for critical analysis and logical thinking 
  • Experience with several scientific disciplines (for instance studying medicine, but doing work with social care during elective)
  • High motivation 
  • Social responsibility
  • Excellent social and communication skills (in English).


We assess these skills and qualities through the specific admission requirements listed below: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree in one of the basic 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 (at least 6 EC). A deficiency in the knowledge of Epidemiology can be compensated by taking additional courses (before the commencement of the study).
  • A GPA of 3.5 (7.5 in the Dutch grading system) or higher. The grade for the Bachelors’ thesis should be 8.0. For non-EU students, the transcript and the quality of the Bachelor’s program are evaluated by the VU International Office. If the diploma or a previous study program is not known by the International Office, the file of the student is sent to the NUFFIC office for additional evaluation and advice.
  • Motivation letter stating the reasons for applying for this Research Masters
  • Comprehensive CV with a list of extra-curricular activities focusing on social responsibility, e.g. volunteer work or other activities showing the social qualities of the student. 
  • Two reference letters (one from the supervisor of the bachelor thesis or internship).
  • A sufficient score on the web-based entry examination. Examination consists of an open essay question regarding a video discussing the aspects of Global Health and some scientific literature readings. 
  • Receive a positive recommendation on the basis of an interview with the program director and/or master coordinator (held in person or via Skype depending on the location and possibilities of the student). When the maximum number of students is reached, the interview is also seen as a selection method and is thus held by the program director together with educational director and lecturers.
  • For those who have not completed previous studies in English a minimum score of 560 for the paper version of the TOEFL test (or an equivalent measuring the level of C1 in ‘Common European Framework of References for languages’ (CEFR)).

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 · TOEFL ITP 580 
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: masters.fs@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: 

  • 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)
  • Letters of Recommendation 

You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English. 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 and 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 program. When all conditions of your admission have been met, you will be ready to start your program at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Information about the programme

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

Dr. Elena Syurina
VU Amsterdam 
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences 
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 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

A successful applicant should possess the following skills and qualities:

  • High academic grades 
  • Aptitude for critical analysis and logical thinking 
  • Experience with several scientific disciplines (for instance studying medicine, but doing work with social care during elective)
  • High motivation 
  • Social responsibility
  • Excellent social and communication skills (in English).


We assess these skills and qualities through the specific admission requirements listed below: 

  • A Bachelor’s degree in one of the basic 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 (at least 6 EC). A deficiency in the knowledge of Epidemiology can be compensated by taking additional courses (before the commencement of the study).
  • A GPA of 3.5 (7.5 in the Dutch grading system) or higher. The grade for the Bachelors’ thesis should be 8.0. For non-EU students, the transcript and the quality of the Bachelor’s program are evaluated by the VU International Office. If the diploma or a previous study program is not known by the International Office, the file of the student is sent to the NUFFIC office for additional evaluation and advice.
  • Motivation letter stating the reasons for applying for this Research Masters
  • Comprehensive CV with a list of extra-curricular activities focusing on social responsibility, e.g. volunteer work or other activities showing the social qualities of the student. 
  • Two reference letters (one from the supervisor of the bachelor thesis or internship).
  • A sufficient score on the web-based entry examination. Examination consists of an open essay question regarding a video discussing the aspects of Global Health and some scientific literature readings. 
  • Receive a positive recommendation on the basis of an interview with the program director and/or master coordinator (held in person or via Skype depending on the location and possibilities of the student). When the maximum number of students is reached, the interview is also seen as a selection method and is thus held by the program director together with educational director and lecturers.
  • For those who have not completed previous studies in English a minimum score of 560 for the paper version of the TOEFL test (or an equivalent measuring the level of C1 in ‘Common European Framework of References for languages’ (CEFR)).

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 · TOEFL ITP 580  
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: masters.fs@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: 

  • 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)
  • Letters of Recommendation 

You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English. 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 and 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 program. When all conditions of your admission have been met, you will be ready to start your program at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. International students can read more about practical matters and starting your studies in the Netherlands here.

VU Amsterdam is committed to attracting the best and brightest students and, therefore, gives out a number of different scholarships to impressive prospective students. Information about these scholarships can be found here. Additionally, Scholarship Portal and Nuffic Grantfinder can be helpful in securing funding for your master’s studies.

Other funding options: 

  • Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) 
  • Bilateral Development Agencies
  • Ford Foundation
  • EU Fellowships for candidates from ACP countries
  • EU fellowships for candidates from Latin America
  • EU fellowships for master's level study: Erasmus Mundus
  • Third countries
  • EU members
  • HIV Research Trust
  • Huygens Scholarships Programme
  • Jean Monnet Fellowships Programme
  • Libertas Support Fund
  • Nuffic
  • Netherlands Education Support Offices (NESO)
  • Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Programme  
  • Rotary Foundation
  • STuNed Scholarship Programme (Indonesia)
  • UNESCO Study Abroad
  • UNESCO - L'Oréal, For Women in Science
  • World Bank
  • International Scholarship Programme

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

Dr. Elena Syurina
VU Amsterdam 
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences 
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 Sciences International Student Advisor: 

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

For general information about VU Amsterdam

Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 to 12:00). You may also e-mail us at study@vu.nl.empty

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."

The majority of graduates from our program continue in research; many as PhD students. A number of students have also gone into policy and practice.
The programme has a strong and committed core teaching staff with a wide diversity in background and specializations ranging from biomedical sciences to law, from health communication to anthropology.

Course Leaders:
-    Program Director - Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Broerse: systems thinking, transdisciplinary research, governance
-    Master Coordinator - Dr. Elena Syurina: mental health, health-related decision-making 

Teaching Faculty:
-    Dr. Charles Agyemang: non-communicable disease, epidemiology
-    Dr. Guus ten Asbroek: epidemiology, quantitative methods
-    Dr. Tomris Cesuroglu: health systems, health innovations, health policy
-    Prof. Dr. Frank Cobelens: epidemiology, infectious diseases 
-    Dr. Marjolein Dieleman: health systems and governance, inequity in health
-    Dr. Dirk Essink: health systems, nutrition, agenda-setting and priority setting
-    Dr. Rene Gerrets: health anthropology, biology
-    Dr. Anja van’t Hoog: epidemiology
-    Dr. Barbara Regeer: transdisciplinary research, quality of care
-    Kevin De Sabbata, MSc.: ethics, healthcare law

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.

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."