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Masters in Health Sciences

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Program overview
1 year
Full time
Master's degree
Start dates
16,530 EUR
September 2021

16,530 EUR
September 2022

16,530 EUR
September 2023

Program description

Masters in Health Sciences

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.

The Master (M) Health Sciences is aimed at mastering knowledge and skills in analyzing complex health or health care problems and in contributing to the development and implementation of interventions or programs to solve these problems. In the process you will learn to work in multi- or interdisciplinary teams. Our master programme distuingishes itself by offering a broad range of specialisations which encompass key disciplines in Health Sciences. The cornerstone of our vision on education is to train the expert generalists or T-shaped professional; persons with a strong foundation in methods and trained in analytical thinking by specializing in a substantive sub-field within the health sciences. This means that the five specializations (and one Midwifery Science route) 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 diseases, maternity care) context (Dutch or International) and application (intervention, prevention and policy).

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Admission requirements

You can be admitted to the programme on the basis of a foreign diploma which is at least equivalent to a Dutch Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences. Your curriculum will be examined to decide if you can be admitted to the programme directly or if you need to take additional subjects to bring you up to entry level.

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Program content

The M 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 M Health Sciences has a workload of 60 EC European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). It includes the following five specialisations:

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Disease & Public Health
  • International Public Health
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Prevention & Public Health

In addition, a specific group of student can follow the routeMidwifery Science, see below.

Courses (30 ECTS)
The full time schedule of the Masters program starts with five courses, some of which must be completed before starting the internship (see specific course requirements by specialisation). 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 January

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

Internship and scientific writing (30 ECTS)
In February, after meeting the course requirements of the specialisation, students start their five-month internship (27 ECTS) which is taken together with a scientific writing course (3 ECTS). As a student, you are responsible for finding an internship of your interest in the period between September and December. Of course we can help you in his process, e.g. by directing you to organizations of interest and offering internships on our website. The internship 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 project:

  • it should focus on a challenging, verifiable research question
  • it should be carried out according to a methodologically sound 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 relevance for public health.

Putting together your program
Depending on your specialisation, there are certain required courses that you have to take. Additionally you can choose between electives. See the year schedule for all the specifics. Electives 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, specialisation and internship. You can choose from the full range of health science subjects provided the course is offered in the M 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.

Scholarships & funding

With our own scholarship, the VU Fellowship Programme (VUFP), we offer highly motivated students with excellent study results the unique opportunity to pursue a Master’s degree with financial support provided by the university. The VUFP scholarship is a tuition fee waiver. The Holland Scholarship Programme (HSP) is meant for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who want to follow a Master’s programme in the Netherlands. VU Amsterdam embraces diversity as an enrichment to our teaching, research and our contribution to society. This scholarship is specifically intended for excellent students who contribute to the diversity at our campus. As an international student planning to study at VU Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.

Tuition fees

  • EU-EER students fee: € 2,168
  • NON-EU students fee: € 16,530


Msc in Health Sciences

Career opportunities

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 the M 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.

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...

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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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