Global health

Improving health and achieving equity in health

A vision of health that spans the globe

New and emerging infectious diseases, changing disease patterns, ageing, rising costs of healthcare – these are problems that add complexity to the already considerable health challenges the world is facing today. Many diseases do not stop at national borders, and most health problems have social, political and economic impacts. The world is more than ever in need of a vision of health that spans the globe. At the same time, innovative answers to these challenges emerge, like novel pharmaceuticals, neurotechnologies, genomics, mhealth (using mobile phones), field test kits that replace whole laboratories, as well as innovative funding schemes and care arrangement (e.g. community-based health care). But how can we make these answers fit the challenges that are emerging? History shows numerous, at best, not-so-effective health interventions and unintended consequences. To effectively address these complex health challenges, global health researcher need to cross-disciplinary boundaries and interact with health professionals, patients and others to gain in-depth understanding of global health problems, and to set out cohesive and strategic action to solve these problems.

Future Challenges in Global Health: 

This course explores future challenges and explores how to use the evidence on effective biomedical and health care interventions to develop better health policies. 

Key Strategies in Disability and Neuropathy:

In this course you learn to reflect on various philosophical perspectives related to disability and diversity and think about your own perspective. 

Double Burden of Disease:

During this course you will explore the double burden of disease and its causes from a global perspective. You will also gain insight in the effects on people, professionals and health care systems and on interventions and health system responses. 

Drivers of Change in Global Health: 

This course consists of a series of lectures which provide insight into a number of important drivers of change in different parts of the world, such as urbanization, climate change, migration, technological development, and how they affect health and health care. 

Community-based Health Interventions: 

This course focuses on why Community-based Health Interventions are essential for solving complex health issues and the types of interventions involved. We will take you through the history of Community-based Health Interventions and the theoretical foundations of this strategy. 

For specific information about each course, please visit the study guide.

Admission and registration

The university minor is open to all students of the VU, you do not need permission of the examination board. To enter this minor, you must have earned 90 credits within your bachelor programme. Wo-bachelor students of another university can enter this minor, depending on whether their own university grants permission. The minor is taught in English and available for exchange students. The admission deadline is 1 July.

Please see the application procedure for more information.

Questions about the programme

For specific questions regarding content, please contact Nadine Blignaut-van Westrhenen

Related Master's programmes

Samenvatting Global Health




1 semester (30 EC)


1 September


Gezondheid en Beweging



Sophie Renckens

Student minor Global Health

Sophie Renckens

'What I really enjoyed in the minor Global Health was the wide variety of current and future health challenges: like the upsurge of diabetes in developing countries, very recent Zika- and Ebola outbreaks and refugee health for example. The many passionate guest speakers put these issues into different perspectives, making it very lively lectures. I got a clear insight into the complexity of problem solving in global health and the multiple levels that can be involved; from policy to community-based. The active involvement in lectures and big range of (group)assignments has made the minor truly valuable for me. These five months made me realise that global health is amazingly interesting, and I would like to pursue a career in this field!'