Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health & Life Sciences

Science for solving society’s complex problems

Science for solving society’s complex problems

Health and Life Sciences innovations in a world that is becoming ever more complex give rise to a wide range of ethical, legal and social questions and dilemmas. 

•    How should we respond to an increase of Meningococcal disease?
•    What factors should be considered when implementing Electronic Health Records? How can notions of patient-centred care best be implemented?
•    How do developments in genomics impact basic health insurance?
•    How can we incorporate (end) user needs in developed eHealth solutions for community-based care?

Providing the best possible answers to these complex questions calls for cooperation between several disciplines and actors in society, from government, industry and social institutions to consumers and patients. The Master Management Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in the Health and Life Sciences (MPA) centers around a wide range of disciplines. This is an ideal opportunity for you to acquire relevant knowledge and to develop skills to address these questions, while specializing in this fascinating area of research.

Accreditation programme: 'Good'
This master's programme received a ‘Good’ from the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation organization (NVAO). ‘The teaching staff is very motivated and engaged. They effectively succeed in the learning process of the students. Also, the preparation for the labor market is excellent. The graduates have very good opportunities at the labor market.

The Master MPA is a two-year programme of 120 EC’s. The programme is in English and consists of the following components:

Programme componentECs
MPA general compulsory courses27
Specialization specific electives18
Science course6
Academic skills9
Internships57
Elective space3-9
Total120

MPA students can choose one of the five specializations:

  • Health & Life sciences-based Policy
  • Health & Life sciences-based Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Health & Life sciences-based Communication
  • International Public Health
  • Community-based Health Technologies 

An overview of the courses, per specialization, can be found in the year schedule.

FIRST YEAR
You start the MPA programme with three compulsory courses in which you are introduced to the core competences of the programme. In the first course, ‘Research Methods for Analysing Complex Problems’, you work towards designing a research addressing a problem in an interdisciplinary research field, and you are trained in qualitative and quantitative research methods. In de second course. ‘Analysis of Governmental Policies’, you work on a real, complex societal problem related to the health and life sciences and write a policy advisory report for the commissioning organisation. The third course, ‘Communication, Organization and Management’ aims to provide you with a deeper understanding of the management processes for translating scientific knowledge to solve complex societal problems. Following this, you concentrate on choosing relevant specialization electives, and later on your first internship in line with your chosen specialization.

Compulsory courses first year:

 

SECOND YEAR  
Second-year students take a combination of compulsory courses and optional courses designed to deepen knowledge of certain areas. Your choice will depend on your interests and the focus of your internship.

Compulsory courses second year:


Course descriptions

Online information with respect to the programme and course module descriptions can be found in the Study Guide MPA

 

Within the Master MPA you the possibility to specialize in one of five specialisations (each described below). Every specialization requires you to take one compulsory course (6 EC), and then you need to acquire at least 12EC of courses that are offered within the specialization (together 18EC). Additionally, you have to conduct at least one internship in the field of your specialization.

You can specialize in one of these areas:

  • Health & Life Sciences-based Policy
  • Health & Life Sciences-based Management and Entrepreneurship
  • Health & Life sciences-based Communication
  • International Public Health
  • Community-based Health Technologies


Health and Life Sciences-Based Policy

This specialization equips you with insights into theories and strategies to address societal issues through (governmental) policy at various levels. You will be introduced to special knowledge and understanding in the discipline of policy analysis, and various forms of ‘governance’ and interactive policy-making in particular are discussed. In addition, you will acquire skills in data collection methods: from various written and digital sources to interviews and focus group discussions. Ultimately, you develop more ownership to independently facilitate group processes for interactive policy-making and to apply various analytical tools to structure the multidisciplinary data towards strategically designed recommendations.

Courses (at least 18 EC required):


Health and Life Sciences-Based Management and Entrepreneurship

This specialization equips you with insights into the management process of translating scientific knowledge to societally relevant innovations in the health and life sciences. Relevant theories on management, leadership, finance and law are discussed. Upon graduation, you are able to develop and critically assess business plans and have acquired skills in relevant scientific data collection methods and analytical tools.

Courses (at least 18 EC required):


International Public Health
  
In this specialization you will acquire a wide-ranging insight into current and future challenges in ithe field of nternational public health, their main causes, and applied and potential interventions. You obtain special knowledge on relevant concepts from various disciplines (including epidemiology, policy science, anthropology, management studies, biomedical sciences and health sciences). Upon graduation you have the ability to conduct scientific research in the field of international public health, addressing challenges and critically assessing the results of research. You will acquire knowledge of current theories and the key research questions in this field and insight into its scientific and social relevance.

Courses (at least 18 EC required):

*at least one of these three is compulsory

Health and Life Sciences-Based Communication
Communication about science issues takes place not only between peers, but also between scientists and ‘end users’ like the general public. This makes it a complex and dynamic field of research and practice; e.g. patient participation in health research, the use and effects of media metaphors and hypes, and public understanding of emergent technologies. In this specialization you will acquire more theoretical understanding of the complex problems that arise during such communication processes and you will learn to develope the necessary skills to act professionally at this interface in an attempt to enhance communication outcomes between actors in science and society.

Courses (at least 18 EC required):


Community-based Health Technologies
Community health faces a number of challenges (e.g. changing demographics, long-term care under pressure, and increased demands of staff and resources) and technology can contribute to sustainable solutions for these. In this specialization you learn to engage with community members (patients, elderly, regular citizens) with the aim to identify their health-related needs and concerns. Furthermore, you are trained in collaborating with (industrial) technicians in order to develop health technologies that address the identified needs of the community. In addition, you learn to reflect on the impact that these new technologies have on community health. You will obtain knowledge and insights from innovation sciences, and specific technological knowledge from relevant disciplines (i.e. physics, computer sciences and health sciences), as this enriches your understanding of the dynamics between front-line and emerging innovative technologies and community-based health care. 

Courses (at least 18 EC required):

Two compulsory internships (20 weeks each) form a crucial element of developing yourself professionally within the MPA programme, and prepare you for your future career. For each internship you will work together with a commissioner and conduct a research on a complex ‘real world’ problem. At least one of your internships should be in line with your chosen specialization.For your first internship, you are engaged in an individual research internship on a complex societal problem. As an MPA-intern you will get exposed to work experiences in multi-stakeholder organisations, and you are challenged to apply the core elements of the MPA programme in a real-world setting. For the second internship students apply the acquired competences to a research project on a higher level of complexity, with regard to the studied issue and use of methodology, and exercises greater independence in the conduct of the research compared to the first internship. Both internships form a great start to building a professional network. The second internship can also be abroad. We end the year in June with the MPA seminair – a network event where students present the outcomes of their internship via poster/oral presentations. A number of network (internhip) organisations have guest-speakers and/or information stands (for future internships/vacanzies) on the Seminar.

Woulld you like to gain some more insight in possible internship placements and topics? The Athena Science Shop provides you with examples of internships conducted by MPA students in recent years. This immediately showcases the broad range of topics possible to explore within MPA. You may look for a research group within the academia, but there are many options in the governmental sector, NGO’s business or consultancy organizations, etc. The type of organization that you will be working in, is up to you. We therefore encourage you to start thinking about where you see yourself working in the future from the start of MPA.

For more information on internships you can contact the MPA Internship Coordinator, Nikha Krooneman.

T: +31 (0) 20 5986894 
E-mail: scienceshop.athena@vu.nl

Having completed the Master's programme in Management Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in the Health and Life Sciences, your career prospects are promising. MPA graduates end up in a very broad range of professional fields. Alumni typically find a job with an advisory characteristic (e.g. junior advisor), as a part of multi-disciplinary project team (e.g. programme assistant), or in the academic field (e.g. PhD position). Career prospects are, of course, also depending on your chosen specialisation.    

In the Athena Science Shop you can find examples of internships of MPA students, which will give you an idea of possible professional fields that a MPA student will end up in. Many students get a job offer after from their scond internship placement.

Unique focus  
The Master's in Management Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in the Health and Life Sciences is unique in its focus. Innovations and developments in the fields of Health and Life Sciences give rise to complex social issues. This Master's programme concentrates on the scientific aspects of integrating different areas of knowledge and on developing effective policies, taking the right decisions and motivating and managing the professionals who work in this sector.  

Additional expertise  
During the Master's programme students with a Bachelor's in the field of Health and Life Sciences obtain additional expertise in the fields of policy and management. Students can specialize in five areas of application: Policy, Management & Entrepreneurship, International Public Health, Communication and Community-based Health Technologies. The courses are provided by experienced professors, specialist tutors and fascinating guest lecturers, all of whom connect theory to practice.  

An outstanding institute  
The Master's programme is run by the Athena Institute, which has been conducting excellent research in this field at national and international level for many years. Your internships will present you with an outstanding opportunity for learning and working thanks to the institute’s numerous contacts in the Netherlands and abroad.

Sabahattin Toprak

Student

"As a future entrepreneur, I am eager to make a positive contribution to the medical world. In the Master's in Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences, I have found a programme that will train me to achieve my ambitions."

Sjoerd Balk

Alumnus

"After finishing my three-year Bachelor's programme in Biomedical Sciences, I started the MPA Master's with the aim of broadening my scope to include other fields of research. As I was especially interested in the Management and Entrepreneurship courses, I decided to look for external internships, which resulted in a second internship at Merck, Sharp & Dome in Haarlem. I'm currently working on a company project involving clinical trials. My research project should improve MSD's company strategy."

Kelsey Sibley USA

Student

Kelsey Sibley"I was originally drawn to studying at the Vrije Universiteit because of a unique degree that is offered there, the MSc in Management, Policy Analysis, & Entrepreneurship in Health Sciences. Most degrees only focus upon one subject, but MPA is a multi-disciplinary degree that prepares you for a career in a broad assortment of areas. This is important because the world is becoming increasingly connected and one needs to be able to apply critical thinking and knowledge to various interrelated topics. Beyond the content of the degree, I was also drawn to the supportive MPA team at the VU who worked tirelessly to answer my (many) questions and even nominated me for a VU Fellowship (which I gratefully received). Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to do this challenging, yet exciting, study at a world-renowned university. Best of all, my study coordinators helped me get access to an internship that many people dream to have: interning at Heineken International in Amsterdam and getting to travel abroad! I can say with certainty that earning my MPA degree at the Vrije Universiteit has opened many doors for me, introduced me to life-long friends, and set me on a path for success."

Overview Management, Policy-Analysis & Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

2 years

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April for non Dutch EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA students*
1 June for holders of a Dutch bachelor’s degree (with a Dutch or EU/EEA nationality).
* non Dutch EU/EEA students with an international degree who do not need housing services through VU Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

SPECIALIZATIONS

Health & Life Sciences-based Policy
Health & Life Sciences-based Management and Entrepreneurship
Health & Life sciences-based Communication
International Public Health 
Community-based Health Technologies

FIELD OF INTEREST

Behavioural and Social Sciences
Health and Movement

Admission with a Dutch Degree

Specific admission requirements for the MSc Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences programme.

Direct Admission:

You are eligible for direct admission to the Master's in Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences if you hold a Bachelor of Science  degree of 180EC from a Dutch University in:

  • Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Health and Life Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Movement Sciences
  • Medical Informatics
  • Medical Natural Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Psychobiology
  • Beta-gamma Studies (with a major in Chemistry, Ecology and Evolution, Biomedical Sciences, Brain and Cognition, Physics and Astronomy or Mathematics)
  • University Colleges (with at least a major in a beta subject)


Students with a HBO degree in ‘Biologie en Medisch Laboratoriumonderzoek’ (HLO) also have direct admission to the MPA propgramme.

If you have a BSc. Degree from a Dutch University in one of the subjects listed above (or HLO), you do not have to hand in a Motivation Letter, CV or recommenation letters() with your application. You are admission is based on your obtained BSc Degree. For more information please visit the information website for Dutch University Degree holders.  


Admission via MPA Admissionboard:

If you have a Dutch Degree from (1) a University Bachelor of Science degree in a different subject than listed above, or (2) a Bachelor’s degree of a Dutch University of Applied science (HBO) other than HLO, you are still welcome to apply for the MPA programme if your degree is in a related Health and/or Life Sciences field.The MPA Admission Board will review your application and decide on your admission. Please note that you then do have to submit the following documents with your application:

  • Curriculum Vitae, that includes your personal details and lists uour previous education and relevant work experience. An Europass CV template could be used, however other formats will be accepted too.
  • Letter of Motivation - A 1-2 page letter stating your reasons for applying to the programme.
  • Transcript of Records (in Dutch/English) - A list of grades that your previous academic study/studies. If you have not yet completed your educational programme, please send temporary transcripts showing the grades you have received to date. In that case, please also send us a list of courses that are not on the temporary transcripts but that you will have to take to complete your programme. Please note: The certified copy of your transcript needs to be certified.


Language Requirements

The VU Faculty of Sciences requires English at VWO Level. Therefore, international applicants and students with a HBO  degree (including HLO) are obliged to take an English language 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. The deadline for a student who does not require a visa is 30 of August. Please refer to the Language Proficiency 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

If you wish to apply for the Master’s programme MPA you are advised to check all general information on admission and application here.

For further information about admission to the programme you can contact the program director.

VU Amsterdam
Faculty of Science
Durwin Lynch
De Boelelaan 1085, room WN-T541
1081 HV Amsterdam
T: +31 (0)20 598 4233
E: d.lynch@vu.nl

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 admission.

Information about your application

For questions regarding your application you can contact the Faculty of Science Education Office (Onderwijsbureau Bèta)

E: toelating.beta@vu.nlempty

ADMISSION WITH AN INTERNATIONAL DEGREE

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 Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences programme:

You qualify for admission to the Master's in Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences if you hold a University Bachelor's degree in:

  • Biochemistry
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Health and Life Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Human Movement Sciences
  • Medical Informatics
  • Medical Natural Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Psychobiology


If you have a University Bachelor of Science degree in another subject than listed above, but related to the fields of Helath and Life Sciences, you are still welcome to apply. In that case your application will be assessed by the MPA Admission Board.

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 admission.You can contact the program master coordinator via: d.lynch@vu.nl.

Language Requirements

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam also requires international 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. Exceptions to the English Language Proficiency requirement are made if you have completed your education in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia. 

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 the Management, Policy Analysis and Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences programme:

IELTS (academic):

- Minimum Overall Band Score 6.5 (please note that candidates must take the Academic test and not the General one!). Furthermore:
- Minimum Sub-score Listening 6,0
- Minimum Sub-score Reading 6,0
- Minimum Sub-score Writing 6,5
- Minimum Sub-score Speaking 6,0

TOEFL:

Paper-based test; 580
Minimum Sub-score Structure/Written Expression: 59  

Internet-based test 92
Minimum Sub-score Reading 18
Minimum Sub-score Listening 19
Minimum Sub-score Speaking 19
Minimum Sub-score Writing 24

Cambridge English:

- Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C
- Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C

Please also 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 Interational degree holders: masters.fs@vu.nl

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 requierements (see above)

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, that includes your personal details and lists uour previous education and relevant work experience. An Europass CV template could be used, however other formats will be accepted too.
  • Letter of Motivation - A 1-2 page letter stating your reasons for applying to the programme.
  • Transcript of Records (English) - A list of grades that your previous academic study/studies. If you have not yet completed your educational programme, please send temporary transcripts showing the grades you have received to date. In that case, please also send us a list of courses that are not on the temporary transcripts but that you will have to take to complete your programme. Please note: The certified copy of your transcript needs to be certified.


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 considered necessary, the Admission Board may request (per email) additional information. 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. 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

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

Marija Bosnić, Floris Korbee, Sandra van Daalen and Jasper Oosterveld
T: +31 (0)20 598 7459
E: masters.fs@vu.nl

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

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

Durwin Lynch
Faculty of Science, VU Amsterdam
De Boelelaan 1085, room WN-T541
1081 HV Amsterdam
T: +31 (0)20 598 4233
E: d.lynch@vu.nl


Information for International Students

For questions regarding your application, registration or general inquiries, please contact the International Office.

Marija Bosnić, Floris Korbee, Sandra van Daalen and Jasper Oosterveld
T: +31 (0)20 598 7459
E: masters.fs@vu.nl


General information about VU Amsterdam
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 59 85000 (Monday-Friday 9:00 to 12:00). You may also email us at study@vu.nl.

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