Master in Health Sciences


Program Description

Application deadline update

  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
  • EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)

Master in Health Sciences

In the Master’s program in Health Sciences, you will learn to analyze the various complex factors that contribute to health. You will go beyond individual health issues to tackle health problems in different ways. Obesity can be tackled through medication or stomach reduction procedures. Health scientists, however, look at other methods such as increasing taxes on fatty foods, reducing the number of sweets and soft drinks children can buy at school, designing residential areas so that there are places for children to play and educating people about healthy eating and exercise.

Study program

The aim of this one-year Master’s program in Health Sciences is to provide students with knowledge and skills in the broad field of health sciences. The Master’s program in Health Sciences is an academic program, it is aimed at professional careers inside and outside university research. It comprises 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits.

The program is structured as follows:

  • 5 specializations, each consisting of 5 one-month courses
  • Three compulsory courses within a specialization
  • Two or three courses are optional and can be chosen from other specializations
  • 5-month scientific internship and article

Five specializations

You can choose one or a combination of two of the following specializations:

  • Health policy
  • Prevention and Public Health
  • Infectious Diseases and Health
  • Nutrition and Health
  • International Public Health

Career prospects

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 center or healthcare institution
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health advisor for an NGO
  • Consultant

Once you have completed your Master’s program in 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 Ph.D. program at a university or research institute.

Admission requirements

Admission with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences

  • All students with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Twente University, Wageningen University and Maastricht University will be admitted to the Master’s program. Students from Erasmus University Rotterdam are only admissible to the specializations Policy and Organisation of Health Care and International Public Health. If your university Bachelor’s degree is not entirely relevant to the Master’s program, you may still obtain admission via a pre-Master’s program.

    This program will be drawn on an individual basis and will take up to one year, depending on the relevance of your prior education. The examination board will make the final decision on your admission. Students holding a university bachelor’s degree in Science of Movement, Biomedical Sciences, Medicine, and Psychology are allowed to enter the program if they follow the course in Epidemiology (May 2013) and the required course preceding the chosen specialization given in June (only in Dutch)
    • Gezondheidseconomie
    • Infectieziekten en gezondheid
    • Voedingsonderzoek in de praktijk
    • Internationale volksgezondheid
    • Gezondheidscommunicatie
  • If you think you have fulfilled these requirements, or if you want personal advice or further information regarding admission, please contact Marianne Donker. Students with a university Bachelor’s degree or h.b.o. do not have to do an assessment before starting the pre-Master’s program.

  • Admission with a Bachelor's or Master’s degree in another subject.
    If you have already completed a Bachelor's or Master’s program in a subject related to Health Sciences, your curriculum will be examined to decide if you can be admitted to the program directly, or if you need to take additional subjects to bring you up to entry level. The admission board will make the final decision on your admission.

  • Admission with a higher professional qualification (h.b.o.)
    Students with a higher professional qualification are first required to take a pre-Master’s program to bring them up to entry level. The pre-Master’s program is currently only available to students who have completed a four-year higher professional program in Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Mensendieck Therapy, Cesar Therapy, Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy Techniques, Nursing, Optometry or Oral Hygiene.

  • Individual hbo-bachelors with other qualifications
    Students with a higher vocational qualification in another subject may be able to take an individually structured Bachelor’s program with exemptions. If this applies to you, please send details of your current study program to our study advisor before the 1st of May, including a brief description of the program, the subjects you have taken and the number of ECTS credits obtained. On the basis of this information, the admission board will decide whether you qualify for exemptions.

  • English language proficiency requirements
    VU Amsterdam requires international applicants to pass an English language proficiency test.

N.B. Students who need a visa (MVV) to enter the Netherlands must have passed the test and submitted the original test certificate before 1 June. All other students have to submit the test certificate at the latest before 1 September.

Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to over 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less