Programme overview

Health Economics
Student smiling at the camera


The programme consists of 6 blocks. In the first 3 you follow 6 compulsory courses covering health economics, applied econometrics and health technology assessment (HTA). In blocks 4 and 5 you choose 2 out of 7 electives that allow you to tailor the programme to your specific interests. You can choose from courses in decision theory, advanced HTA, health care competition, pharmceutical markets, and global health.

From block 4 to block 6 you research and write a  thesis on a topic of your choice under supervision. The thesis course is highly structured to guide students and ensure a high rate of success. In addition to the thesis, several courses  require research assignments, presentations and group discussions.

Compulsory courses34
Electives   10
Thesis 16

Study schedule

In this course we provide students with knowledge of econometric methods which are relevant for applied economics. In particular, this course first refreshes the essentials of the standard regression model, and subsequently it covers methods that can be useful when the dependent variable of interest is endogenous. The last part of the course introduces models that are useful when the dependent variable is binary.
Students follow a hands-on approach to understanding empirical econometric methods, in this way getting the opportunity to develop experience with the application of these methods in their own field of specialization.
The course consists of lectures, exercise lectures and group practical work. The lectures present and discuss each method and relevant applications. In the exercise lectures, students are taught how to implement the methods themselves. The main student activity consists of practical empirical applications, where the methods are applied to real-world datasets in applied economics.


Historical developments, political choices, and societal structures strongly influence the organization of health care systems across countries. The main purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to various conceptual frameworks that help you to understand and use economic principles applied to health care systems. The course will deal with theory of supply and demand in health care, the crucial role of (asymmetry in) information, provider payment incentives, private and social health insurance, theory and practice of managed compe­tition, organization and financing of long-term care, and the public/private mix in the financing and provision of care. The course looks at how health care systems, in the Netherlands as well as in other developed countries, deal with important policy issues like competition and regulation, solidarity, and the role of voluntary supplementary health insurance.

The course consists of:

  • Video lectures with explanations of key concepts
  • Live meetings with discussion, Q&A, assignments, etc.
  • 2 peer-reviewed group assignments

This course shows how to use economic analysis to understand the level of health and its variation in a population. It covers the production of health, the value of health, the distribution of health, health behaviour (rational and irrational) and health policy. It uses models to gain insight into the first four topics and then uses this insight to evaluate health policies with respect to both efficiency and equity. It provides a grounding in the tools of health economic analysis that are put to work in other courses on the programme.

Although patients demand access to all health care programmes available, the scarcity of resources necessitates that choices have to be made. Given that health is such an important matter and that choices usually have far reaching consequences for individuals, the choices require careful consideration, preferably based on transparent and unbiased data. Health Technology Assessment is a multidisciplinary research area closely related to health economics. HTA research attempts to examine the short- and long-term consequences (e.g. health effects and costs) of new and existing health care programs. This is done in a systematic and consistent way in order to provide evidence for the relative cost-effectiveness of health care programs. Policy makers in health care are increasingly using the results of these studies in making choices on priorities in health care.

This course is about the interaction between public health, economics, and public health policy. Good health policies are impossible to formulate without some understanding of the relation between public health policies, individual behavior and population health. In this course students will be taught how to apply statistical methods and economic theory to questions such as: “How should we measure and summarize population health?”, “How do increases in (healthy) life expectancy influence health care spending and pension entitlements?”, “What is the impact of medical care on population health and what is the relevance thereof for cost effectiveness?”, and “What are economic arguments for and against public health policies?”.

The first 3 meetings will be spent on the measurement of population health. The lifetable approach developed in these first meetings is crucial for the rest of the course. In the meetings thereafter, these measures of population health will be linked to redistributions of wealth within populations, determinants and cost effectiveness analysis. Meetings 7, 8 and 9 each deal with a different case study on public health policy: obesity, infectious diseases and cancer screening.

This course consists of lecture and interactive workgroups. The lectures are a combination of online material (papers, videos and homework) and live Q&A sessions in which students can discuss the material and homework. During the work groups students work together in small groups on an in-depth case related to the course material.

Prior knowledge
The following courses from the HEPL/HE programme are necessary prerequisites as a lot of knowledge gathered in these courses will be integrated in this course around the topic of public health:

  • Quantitative Methods for Applied Economics (previously known as Quantitative Methods for Applied Economics)
  • Economics and Financing of Health Care Systems
  • Economics of Health and Health Care
  • Health Technology Assessment

Required computer skills:

  • Stata/SPSS or other similar statistical software
  • Microsoft Excel

  • Expose students to real-world cases in the field of health economics, provided by external guest lecturers (government, industry).
  • Train students in using quasi-experimental methods to answer policy questions, including what to do when quasi-experimental methods are not feasible
  • Practice writing and research methods for thesis


Students choose two courses from the listed courses:

  • Advanced Health Economic Modelling
  • Competition in Health Care Markets
  • Measurement of Patient Preferences
  • Global Health Economics
  • Behavioural Decision Theory in Health
  • Pharmaceutical Pricing & Market Access
  • Health, Economic Development & Policy

The thesis is an individual assignment about a subject from your Master's specialisation. More information about thesis subjects, thesis supervisors and the writing process can be found on the Master thesis website.

The overview above provides an impression of the curriculum for this programme for the academic year 2023-2024. It is not an up-to-date study schedule for current students. They can find their full study schedules on MyEUR. Please note that minor changes to this schedule are possible in future academic years.

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