Master in Global Health Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Are you eager to unravel the complexities of global health challenges like COVID-19, maternal mortality, and mental illness?
Do you want to learn how to analyze global health problems and develop solutions? Do you want to contribute to better and more equitable health for all? During the research master’s in Global Health, you will study cross-cutting aspects of health problems and healthcare systems with students from all over the world. You will explore the latest developments regarding topics such as infectious and chronic diseases, child and elderly care, and the financial burden of healthcare costs. You will learn to apply inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. And you will gain experience in designing, implementing, and ‘measuring’ interventions that address complex health challenges.
Improving health and achieving equity in healthcare
The study, research, and practice of global health are geared toward improving health and achieving equity in healthcare. If you are eager to look beyond national boundaries and disciplinary distinctions when it comes to health and healthcare, then our master’s program in Global Health may be a good fit for you.
The research master’s in Global Health is a small-scale program with a ‘hands-on’ approach. It brings together students and staff from all over the world with a wide variety of academic backgrounds. This diversity of perspectives enriches the discussions in your courses and your team projects. Through intensive individual and group research assignments and the two internships, you will have ample opportunity to discover where your passions lie within global health.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing one of the greatest global health challenges of our time. This has created an ‘all hands on deck’ situation with our researchers and students to understand this enormously complex challenge and to develop innovative solutions. Within the Athena Institute, we are currently working on different research projects on COVID-19.
Large-scale, sustainable impact
Analyzing health problems locally usually leads to small-scale changes that are not very sustainable. In this program, you work to achieve a larger-scale and sustainable impact by taking a systems approach, and by looking beyond the local level to the different ways of institutionalizing and influencing policies. Understanding problems and developing solutions at this level requires interacting with a lot of actors during your research, including health professionals, patients, policymakers, and other public- and private-sector stakeholders. In this program, you will learn how to identify the relevant stakeholders, how to interact with them, and how to co-create solutions. Global health research is far from sitting behind a desk and crunching numbers; it’s about working with a variety of others to solve health problems that affect the lives of many people around the world.
In the first year of the program, you will focus on the study of complex global health problems in high- and low-income countries. You will learn how to analyze problems, design intervention strategies, and measure the effectiveness of such strategies 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 governmental policy and national health systems and compare these between countries.
The curriculum includes four core courses, an elective course, and a mixed-methods research internship in the Netherlands or abroad.
- Global Health Interventions
- Research Methods in Global Health
- Academic Writing for Global Health
- International Comparative Analyses of Health Care Systems
- Research Project Global Health
In the second year, you will take two courses on advanced quantitative analysis methods and transdisciplinary research. You will then focus on your scientific writing skills and conduct a literature review. You will also learn to analyze ethical dilemmas in global health and will be guided in writing a research grant proposal. The master’s program is rounded off with the master’s thesis, in which you present the research findings from your second internship in a scientific article.
- Addressing Disease Burden in a Global Context
- Advanced Methodology ILA in Global Health
- Ethics in Global Health
- Governance for Global Health
- Writing Research Grant Proposal
- Global Health Master Thesis
The research master’s in Global Health allows you to conduct two internships of five months each. You have the freedom to choose your own research topics and to work anywhere around the world, as long as the research meets certain criteria. The partners in the program also open up their research projects to students and advertise these placements in advance.
During the two internships, you learn how to set up, execute and analyze the results of your own research as well as how to present and discuss research data in a professional way with different audiences. Conducting two internships not only gives you the opportunity to explore different health problems and contexts, but also allows you to put mixed methods and transdisciplinarity into practice, gain insights into the possibilities for your career, and begin to create your professional network.
Examples of past internships are:
- integrated disease prevention, monitoring, and treatment using the One Health approach in South Africa
- health professionals’ accountability toward women who are receiving maternal healthcare in Malawi
- stakeholder perspectives on efforts to effectively reduce antimalarial drug resistance, Medical Research Council in The Gambia
- the evaluation and implementation of HIV/TB guidelines in Dutch HIV care centers, Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development (AIGHD)
- mixed-methods study of nurses’ experiences with palliative care in mental health facilities, Department of Public and Occupational Health at the Vrije Universiteit Medical Center
(Research internship (year 1)
By conducting a mixed-methods research internship, you will put into practice the knowledge and skills you acquire in your courses. During this five-month internship, you will analyze a concrete problem according to a descriptive and analytical question. This can be done at a research institution almost anywhere in the world through one of the program’s partner organizations.
(Master’s thesis (research internship year 2)
During your second year, you will combine your research internship with the writing of your master’s thesis. You will independently plan and carry out transdisciplinary research in global health. Furthermore, you will add social impact to your research by bringing together different stakeholders to discuss the implications of your research findings for global health policy and practice. You will write your master’s thesis based on your research findings in the form of a scientific article.
Whether you’re looking to become a researcher, public health advocate, or policy advisor, the opportunities are endless.
Employers recognize that Global Health graduates from VU Amsterdam are adept at the skills required to face global health challenges, such as:
- critically assessing research designs and research proposals
- designing, implementing, and ‘measuring’ interventions that address complex health challenges
- analyzing and comparing different healthcare systems
- bringing together a variety of stakeholders to generate innovative solutions
As a Global Health graduate, you can work in many different types of jobs, including:
- policy advisor
- public health advocate
You will also be well-equipped for a Ph.D. program at a university or research institute.