Core Course

The Core Course (Module name: “Tropical Medicine and Public Health”) is the foundation phase of the MScIH programme as well as of the DTMPH and DIPH. It provides the basic knowledge and the main principles and concepts of International Health. This full-time course takes place every year from early September until mid-December (15 weeks).


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Next starting dates

Next core course dates: 06.09 - 17.12.2021

The core course is preceded by an optional orientation week taking place from 30.08 - 03.09.2021

The application period is 1st January to 31st March for the Core Course of the same year.


By the end of the core course, students will be able to

  • identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health problems of populations in a cross-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle income societies,
  • critically collect, analyse and appraise qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care in low and middle income societies,
  • plan sustainable improvements of health systems considering the diverse intercultural settings as well as social and ethical responsibilities, and
  • clearly communicate and work professionally in a multi-disciplinary team.


Concepts and Research Methods
Health Problems
Health Systems

The core course is divided into 3 blocks:

  1. Concepts and Research Methods
  2. Health Problems
  3. Health Systems

The following is a list of topics taught in the core course. Please note that the list is not definite and that minor changes to the curriculum may occur from year to year.

Concepts and Research Methods

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Presenting effectively
  • IH Concepts
  • Research in International Health
  • Literature Review & Critical Literature Appraisal
  • Research Ethics
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Epidemiology/ Statistics

    • Disease Frequency
    • Types of Epidemiological Studies
    • Summarising Data & Analytic Epidemiology
    • Statistical Inference
    • Bias, Confounding & Interaction
    • Sampling, Sample Size and Power Determination
    • Questionnaire Design
    • Screening tests & Test Accuracy
    • Causation

  • Outbreak Investigation
  • STATA training

Health Problems

  • Infectious Diseases

    • Helminths (Cestodes, Nematodes, Trematodes)
    • Protozoa (Malaria, Leishmania, Trypanosomiasis)
    • Bacteria (Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Cholera, Typhoid Fever, Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Melioidosis, Plague, Rickettsioses, Anthrax, Tetanus etc.)
    • Viruses (Dengue, Yellow Fever, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis, HIV, Hepatitis, Viral Heamorrhagic Fevers, Zika, Chikungunya, SARS-Covid-19 etc.)
    • Mycoses

  • Reproductive/ Child health
  • Chronic/ Non-communicable diseases
  • Vaccinology
  • Dermatology & Venerology
  • Neurology
  • Mental Health
  • Substance & Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Psychiatry
  • Oncology
  • Oral Health
  • Venomous & Poisonous animals
  • Medical Entomology
  • Antibiotic Resistance
  • Laboratory Medicine in International Health & Exercise

Health Systems

  • Development theory
  • Social Determinants
  • Health Promotion
  • Systems Thinking
  • Community Oriented Primary Care
  • Health System Building Blocks
  • Health Systems Strengthening
  • Public Health Planning
  • Quality Management
  • Health Economics
  • Gender
  • Nutrition
  • Climate Change
  • Urban Health
  • Surgery in International Health
  • Management of Medicines
  • Health and Humanitarian Assistance
  • Health Policy

Assessment Procedure

  • Three written closed book exams of ca. 3 hours each after each block (multiple choice and open ended questions), contributing 63% of the overall mark.
  • One overall oral examination at the end of the core course of ca. 10- 15 minutes, contributing 33% to the overall mark (Concepts and Research methods 11%, Health Problems 11% and Health Systems 11%).
  • One group presentation (project management), contributing 2% to the overall mark.
  • One essay (health economics), up to 1200 words, contributing 2% to the overall mark.


Students are recruited from a variety of backgrounds relevant to International Health. They include medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, health scientists, nutritionists, biologists, social scientists, social workers, psychologists, health educators, health programme managers, economists etc. The programme is open for applicants worldwide. Applications from low- and middle-income countries are particularly encouraged.

Minimum entry requirements:

  • Completion of a 3-year Bachelor's programme (or equivalent, 180 ECTS credits) in a health-related field.
  • English proficiency certificate equivalent to a TOEFL score of 550 paper /213 internet /80 online, or IELTS score 6, or DAAD grade A or B in all categories.
  • Applicants with professional experience in a health-related field in low- or middle-income countries will be preferentially admitted.

ECTS Credit Points & SIT (Study Investment Time)

20 ECTS credit points

600 hours Study Investment Time (SIT) (ca. 400 hours direct contact and ca. 200 hours self-study)

The core course is a full-time course and requires 85% presence during the direct contact hours.

Tuition fees

4.500,00 Euro for tropEd MScIH students
5.625,00 Euro for DTMPH and DIPH participants and guest students
ca. 40,00 Euro - 150,00 Euro for Stata software license

Please note that students of the MScIH programme have to pay a student registration fee (“Semestergebühr”) each semester, i.e. twice annually to either Humboldt University Berlin or Free University Berlin. This student registration fee applies as long as students are registered with Charité - Universitätsmedizin and irrespective of any modules taken during the respective semester. The student registration fee is about 315,00 Euro each semester and includes the ticket for all tariff zones (ABC) of the Berlin public transport system (“Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe” or short: “BVG”). Students have the possibility to opt out from the BVG transportation ticket, which reduces the student registration fee to ca. 115,00 Euro per semester.