Flemish universities join forces for new global health master’s degree


The interdisciplinary course will address major issues like HIV and climate change, preparing students from a variety of backgrounds to play their part in creating sustainable health care around the world

Changing society

An advanced master's degree in global health will be launched next year by five Flemish universities. It will prepare students to address global issues such as aging, infant mortality, HIV and the consequences of climate change in an interdisciplinary way.

“Our society is changing at a breath-taking pace. Frontiers are blurring and local challenges in every area of society are gaining international resonances faster than ever before,” said education minister Hilde Crevits when she announced the programme this week. “With this new, unique master-after-master programme in global health, our five Flemish universities are joining forces to train students who can provide a sustainable response, develop a long-term vision and help construct health policy for the future, in Flanders and in the world.”

The initiative is coordinated by Ghent University and involves staff from Antwerp University, KU Leuven, the Free University of Brussels (VUB) and the transnational Limburg University – a collaboration between Hasselt University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Complex challenges

The programme they have devised has a broad social approach to health and healthcare. Students will be expected to apply insights from different disciplines – the social sciences, life sciences and the law, for example – to complex global health challenges. As a result they will develop a long-term vision that promotes well-being, social equality and fairness on a global scale.

The two-year programme will begin in the 2019-20 academic year, initially welcoming 15 students and rising to 20 once it is established. It will be taught in English and will be open to both Belgian and international students. In line with the programme’s interdisciplinary outlook, they are expected to come from a range of backgrounds, for instance having recently completed master’s degrees in the medical sciences, law or political science.

Once they have completed the programme, students should be well-placed to work in public service, for international organisations such as the UN, or for non-governmental organisations such as the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.

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