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Master of Science in International Health (MScIH)

The MScIH programme is a flexible modular study programme, which can be studied full-or part-time. The regular study period is two years (full-time), but may be up to one year shorter if relevant professional experience has already been gained before the studies. The Master of Science degree is awarded by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

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The Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is a member of the tropEd European Network for Education in International Health. tropEd plays an important role in the quality assurance and harmonization of the study programmes in International Health. Because the members recognize the academic achievements students accomplished at any of the other institutes, students can move around easily within the network, particularly during their advanced studies. At the same time the wide range of modules offered by the members is a great enrichment to the individual study programmes.

The MScIH may be combined with the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Public Health (DTMPH) and/or the Diploma in International Public Health (DIPH).

Learning Objectives

On completion of the MScIH programme, students will have the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to

  • identify and critically analyse social, biological and environmental factors and forces that determine the health and well-being of populations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), taking into account both global and local perspectives,
  • apply appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods and research tools/instruments for investigating health problems and health service challenges,
  • discuss and propose appropriate measure to promote health and well-being as well as to prevent and manage infectious and non-infectious diseases, particularly in LMIC,
  • evaluate health systems and formulate appropriate measures for strengthening health systems in LMIC,
  • analyse health policies and demonstrate strategies to inform health policy-making and health governance, and
  • practice appreciatively in diverse teams, with various partners and across disciplines relevant to International Health.

Programme structure

Programme outline for students starting with 210 ECTS

The MScIH programme consists of 4 parts (applicable to students who start their studies with 210 ECTS credit points):

The module “Tropical Medicine and Public Health” – called “Core Course”

The Core Course is the foundation phase of the studies. 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) and yields 20 ECTS credit points. The detailed description of the Core Course can be found here.

The advanced studies phase

In the advanced studies phase students select from a wide range of so called “Advanced Modules” according to their individual interests. The majority of advanced modules offered are full-time courses of one to four weeks duration. Some few modules run over a longer period, in part-time, and/or online. Students need to gain at least 20 ECTS credit points from advanced modules which is equivalent to ca. 14 weeks. At least 10 ECTS credit points need to be acquired through modules of our study programme. The remaining ECTS can be obtained from Advanced Modules offered by the member institutes of the tropEd network.  In the tropEd network students can select from more than 100 modules offered by the 30 institutions of the tropEd network.


The duration of the advanced studies phase varies individually and depends on the selection of Advanced Modules.

The Relevant Professional Experience (RPE)

Students have to prove at least one year of full-time professional experience related to International Health in a low- or middle-income country as defined by the OECD before they can graduate. The relevant professional experience must have been obtained after completion of their first academic degree or first professional qualification. Students who do not have sufficient relevant professional experience when applying for admission into the MScIH programme have to acquire it during their studies. The RPE yields 20 ECTS*. For further information about the RPE see here.

The Master’s thesis

The thesis is the last part of the MScIH programme. Through the thesis students document that they have gained the necessary knowledge and skills in order to organise and conduct an own research project. The topic needs to be relevant to International Health. The research method may range from experimental design and primary data collection to critical literature review. Students will have a supervisor who guides the preparation of the proposal, supervises the conduct of the research and supports the writing of the thesis. Conduct and writing should not take longer than 4 months. Students obtain 30 ECTS* for the thesis. Further details about the Master’s thesis can be found here.

*applicable to students who started 2019 or later.

Programme outline

Schematic outline of the MScIH programme in full-time for students who have started the programme with 210 ECTS credit points depending on the acquisition of relevant professional experience (RPE). A: RPE fully completed before studies, B: no RPE at start of MScIH yet; RPE needs to be fully acquired during studies, C: RPE partially acquired before studies and completed during studies.

Programme outline for students starting with 180 ECTS

Programme outline for students starting with 180 ECTS

Students who start their studies with 180 ECTS only, need to acquire additionally 30 ECTS within the MScIH programme. This is achieved through:

  • Additional Advanced Modules: Additional 15 ECTS credit points (equivalent to ca. 10 weeks) need to be gained through Advanced Modules. Those additional advanced modules can be taken at our institute or the member institutes of the tropEd network.
  • Additional Critical Literature Review (ACLR): The Additional Critical Literature Review (ACLR) is a small research project in the form of a critical literature review. The ACLR is supported by a supervisor and should be completed within 3 months. The topic hast to be relevant to International Health. It yields 15 ECTS credit points. Further detail can be found here.

Outline of the MScIH programme in full-time for students who have started the programme with 180 ECTS credit points depending on the acquisition of relevant professional experience. A: RPE fully completed before studies, B: no RPE at start; RPE needs to be fully acquired during studies, C: RPE partially acquired before studies and fully completed during studies.

Full-time and part-time

If a module is offered as full-time course, students usually need to be present in class on every day between 9:00 and 12:00 and between 13:00 and 16:00. The evenings are scheduled for self-study.

If a module is offered as part-time course, the times students need to be present in class are limited to certain daytimes and/or certain days only. The exact times students need to be present in class need to obtained from the respective module description.

Studying full-time means that students complete the parts of the MScIH programme directly one after another without breaks. That way may be limited in their choices of advanced modules, as the advanced modules are only offered at defined times.

Studying part-time means that students complete the parts of the MScIH programme with breaks between the parts. However, the advanced modules selected may still require full-rime presence.

Grading System

All written exams, oral exams, essays as well as (marked) individual or group presentations are marked against specific criteria and expressed as percentage of correct answers or fulfilled criteria (0%: “nothing correct”, 100%: “everything correct. E.g. 30 correct answers out of 40 answers = 75%). If there is more than one assessment in a module (e.g. a written exam and an essay), the weighted average will be calculated. The overall pass mark is 60%. Based on the overall mark, students eventually receives two grades: one according to the German grading system and one according to the ECTS grading system.

The German system is an absolute 6 point decimal grading system: 1.0 [excellent/”sehr gut”] – 6.0 [not sufficient/”ungenügend”], pass mark: ≥ 4.0 [sufficient/"ausreichend"].

The ECTS grading system is a relative scale: A: top 10% of the students who passed, B: next 25%, C: next 30%, D: next 25%, E: lowest 10%, F: not passed.

Accreditations and Quality Assurance

The MScIH programme was re-accredited, according to the requirements by the Accreditation Agency for Study Programmes in Health and Social Sciences (“AHPGH - Akkreditierungsagentur im Bereich Gesundheit und Soziales”) in November 2019 for 3 years through the Internal Quality Assurance System for Studies and Teaching (“Internes Qualitätssicherungssystem von Studium und Lehre”) of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.


Additionally, all modules of the MScIH programme are regularly (every 5 years) peer-reviewed and certified in a systematic and rigorous review process by the members of the tropEd European Network for Education in International Health. Read here about the tropEd quality assurance in which the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health participates.