Master European Public Health – Maastricht University

Maastricht, Netherlands

Reviewed by NVAO

Valid from
Valid until

Executive summary

Standard 1

The panel established that the master’s programme in European Public Health has a unique focus on the European policy domain and on supranational organisations. It is not familiar with a master’s programme in the public health domain with a comparable European focus. It advises the programme management to articulate this focus more unequivocally and clearly in its vision on internationalisation. Creating a shared vision on internationalisation at a faculty and programme level is a challenge. Although progress can still be made, the faculty and the programme are on the right track. The vision on internationalisation includes verifiable objectives. Nevertheless, the panel recommends that the programme specify these objectives in the future. It ascertained that the vision on internationalisation is actively supported and evaluated by the university and by an Advisory Board consisting of representatives of the professional field.

Standard 2

According to the panel, almost all of the programme’s intended learning outcomes include international and intercultural aspects (explicitly or implicitly). They are connected to both subject-specific elements of the programme’s vision on internationalisation as well as to intercultural skills training. The panel is positive about the fact that the international and intercultural intended learning outcomes of the master’s programme are more specific than those of the bachelor’s programme European Public Health. The assessment methods in the programme are varied and well connected to the international and intercultural learning outcomes. They match well with the ASDL concept (see Standard 3). The panel studied ten master’s theses for this programme. It recommends that the programme encourage students to link their research topics and outcomes more explicitly to the European Public Health domain in the future. Furthermore, the use of English language is a point for improvement. The quality of English language use in the master’s theses varied. Apart from this, the panel concludes that the overall level is what one would expect of an academic master’s programme. The topics are relevant and include international elements. Compared with the bachelor’s theses, the master’s theses are less broad and more focussed on comparative topics and European policy issues. The master’s programme is well connected to the international labour market.

Standard 3

The panel concluded that an international dimension is intrinsic to the programme and visible in the curriculum. The programme has links to recent international developments and provides students with specialised knowledge and skills. The panel is confident that the structure and content of the curriculum enable students to achieve the international and intercultural intended learning outcomes. The programme uses ASDL as its didactic concept. The panel finds that using ASDL in an international student community is a real challenge and requires permanent attention. It is convinced about its implementation in the master’s programme European Public Health. It concludes that learning environment of the master’s programme is suitable for achieving the intended international and intercultural learning outcomes.

Standard 4

In 2011-2012, the staff-student ratio for the master’s programme European Public Health was 1:18.01. According to the panel, the quantity of teaching staff is adequate. The teaching staff consists of eleven core staff members, coming from seven European countries and three different departments within the faculty. The panel is very positive about the general quality, international experience and engagement of the staff. Furthermore, sufficient services are in place to facilitate their international experiences, intercultural competences and language skills.

Standard 5

Even though the diversity of the student group composition in the master’s programme is a little bit better than in the bachelor’s programme, the majority of students in the programme still come from the Netherlands and Germany. The panel is convinced that the programme takes this issue seriously and is satisfied to find that the programme takes into account the diversity in international backgrounds when composing the ASDL groups. Students gain ample international experience during their studies: they are part of an international student group, can go on an international field trip twice a year, and are involved in the Annual Maastricht Symposium. Furthermore, they can opt for an international internship. The programme has contacts with an extensive network of governmental, non-governmental, educational, research and private organisations. More than adequate services have been put into place to support incoming and outgoing students.