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Master (MSc) in Public Health - orientation Health Systems and Disease Control

Focusing on resource-constrained settings and vulnerable populations, this master's programme looks at strengthening health systems and improving disease prevention and control.

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Deadline: 1 February 2024


60 ECTS Credits



About the course


The Master of Science in Public Health (MPH) is an international programme with a clear focus on health systems strengthening and improved disease prevention and control. The scope of the MPH concerns resource-constrained settings and vulnerable populations.

The aim of the MPH is to enhance the student’s capacity to face current challenges such as the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, the organisation of health care for infectious and non-communicable diseases, the control and elimination of (neglected) tropical diseases, the preparedness for disease outbreaks and the response to sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents, and to health inequities in general. Students will develop research and management skills and translate evidence-informed insights from multidisciplinary perspectives to real-life applications in diverse contexts. The right to health, equity, gender equality and solidarity are central values in this master programme.

The MPH has an experience of more than 50 years in adapting its content and teaching methods to evolving needs in a changing world. The MPH was rated excellent by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO). More than 80% of the former students state that the impact of the training on their career was high-to-very high and that they took up more strategic positions at regional, national or international level in the years following their graduation.

For whom? The MPH targets experienced health professionals and researchers with an academic (university) degree in health sciences (medicine, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery), biomedical sciences or other health-related domains, such as medical sociology, medical anthropology or health economics. Also candidates from a non-health-related discipline, can apply to the programme and be admitted depending on the extent and relevance of their professional experience in the health sector.

How? Public health is taught at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in a stimulating academic environment, with a multidisciplinary perspective and an emphasis on critical reflection. The multifaceted cultural and professional backgrounds in the international student-group enable a rich exchange, comparative analysis and confrontation of ideas. ITM teaching staff are extensively involved in research in low and middle-income countries and have significant "field knowledge".

Course Language: The course is taught in English but we provide ample language support for admitted non-native English speakers both before and during the course. A comprehensive English Language Training Programme is offered to students from non-English speaking countries in case they would fail to comply with the language proficiency criterion (see below under Admission Requirements). This language policy was tested in 2020-2021 and will be thoroughly evaluated as alternative to two-yearly shifting the course language to French.    

Learning objectives

At the end of the MPH-HSDC students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate insight and knowledge in public health related disciplines such as epidemiology, demography and bio-statistics, management and political sciences, social and behavioural sciences, and environmental sciences.
  • Discuss the relative role of health care and other health determinants in improving health and well-being of populations
  • Apply theoretical frameworks and appropriate research methods to analyse health and health systems at local, national and international levels taking all stakeholders’ perspectives into account
  • Master quantitative and qualitative research methods relevant for public health practice
  • Provide policy advice for health systems’ management and strengthening
  • Formulate evidence-based and context-specific health programmes/interventions and plan their implementation, taking the resources, perspectives and priorities of providers and beneficiaries into account
  • Retrieve, assess, summarise and report scientific and other evidence for public health decision-making in a systematic and reproducible manner
  • Communicate clearly orally and in writing with professional and scientific audiences
  • Function responsibly and independently in a professional and multidisciplinary team, demonstrating analytical and problem solving skills as well as communication and negotiation skills
  • Develop a life-long learning attitude
  • Critically reflect on underlying values in public health 

Tuition fee

€ 5460 EEA / 16500 non-EEA


NVAO , valid until 30 September 2024

Programme director(s)

  • Bruno Marchal
  • Tine Verdonck

Programme coordinator(s)

  • Marjan Pirard
  • Marlon Garcia Lopez

Programme administrator(s)

  • Marianne Hilgert
  • Nadine Nuyts


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