Universiteit Leiden

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Vitality and Ageing (MSc)

Future challenges of today’s healthcare systems

This inspiring master’s programme is filled to the brim with ideas for the future, co-creation, and health management. Through an interdisciplinary vision, you are given insight into the best ways to age gracefully and stay healthy. In addition, the curriculum sheds light on what people can do once this is no longer an option. Working closely together with a small group of (international) students, you will focus on future-proof healthcare and a healthy society. Tomorrow’s senior citizens will demand a different kind of healthcare, one that centres on autonomy and making their own decisions. Your creativity and resourcefulness will help to find new policy opportunities.


With this master’s degree, you will not just be helping the elderly. You will also work together with senior citizens, discussing and exploring possible solutions for the near future and beyond. In close consultation with senior citizens, we will examine whether these plans can deliver the goals that they need.

The Master's in One Word by our students

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The Vitality and Ageing master’s degree programme will prepare you for an important role in the innovation of our healthcare system’s future. Medical care offers more and more options. However, ageing gracefully requires much more than healthcare alone. Quality of life, autonomy, independence, an active social life, and happiness are closely interrelated. Therefore, it is important to have a close network of dedicated professionals and volunteers (medical, care, social) who actively reach out to family, friends, informal caregivers, and/or neighbours.

These challenges are investigated using various methods, including literature search, qualitative and quantitative research, as well as comparison of the experience gained in organizations and companies or during meetings with senior citizens. Further details on the programme are available on our website.

Why should prospective students choose the Vitality and Ageing master’s programme?


A proud master
For three consecutive years, the Vitality and Ageing master’s programme has been awarded top rankings and high praise in the NSE, the Dutch National Students Survey.

Obviously, you can rely on reviews of former students, but the programme offers much more than that with its future-oriented, interdisciplinary, and personal approach. We study together, work together, and find opportunities for the future. Our programme combines various perspectives, ranging from biological to psychological and from social to economic aspects. It offers an integral vision on happiness, good health and vitality, recovery, and what to do when all of these options are exhausted. It presents a great challenge in healthcare and healthcare management.

A mix of cultures, languages, and people
Our students are diverse in culture and background. You will attend interactive seminars, studying in an interdisciplinary and international environment. Together, you will find solutions to the challenges of the future, experiencing the value of this collective approach. An international approach is encouraged as a matter of course. Examples include the guest lectures by international experts, the annual study visits to the Max Planck Institute in Cologne and to the European Parliament in Brussels, and research into the healthcare systems of your international peers. Finally, many students choose to do their research internship abroad.

With and for all ages
The Vitality and Ageing master’s programme offers a valuable expansion of knowledge and insight for students as well as experienced professionals from the broad field of healthcare. There is a wide mix of ages and levels of experience, offering the added value of a fresh approach combined with dedicated experience in the field. In addition, senior citizens are involved in the curriculum in various ways; as members of the advisory council, as participants in the lectures, and taking part in innovation projects together with the students.

International perspective
When it comes to elderly care, our country leads the way. Our master’s programme offers international students a unique opportunity to learn more about the Dutch views, systems, and challenges, and to compare them with healthcare systems in other countries. Do the systems match up or are they totally different? Finding the answer to this question will lead to surprising new questions, remarkable perspectives, new insights and solutions.

The power of intensive guidance and small groups
Our students appreciate the master’s programme for its personalized study methods and its small-group, international set-up. Students with various bachelor backgrounds set out to study and work in small groups to do their assignments under intensive guidance.

Master Vitality and Ageing

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Our answers to important questions

Reasons to choose the Vitality and Ageing master’s programme:

  • Our master’s programme thrives and grows, nurtured by diversity, and we welcome motivated students and professionals from (nearly) all disciplines and schools of thought.
  • Apply for our master’s programme and enjoy a close, international, and interdisciplinary environment that allows you to broaden your horizon.
  • The interdisciplinary approach, this new way of thinking can be applied to many other areas.
  • You will gain insight into individual and social aspects of ageing gracefully.
  • You love to find solutions to challenges. You are eager to create innovations and implement them the way an entrepreneur would. We will encourage you to exploit the knowledge gained.
  • Our master’s programme offers opportunities for personal as well as professional development.
  • We focus our attention on senior citizens, so experience or affinity with eldercare is an asset although not a prerequisite.
  • You want to pursue a second master’s degree to expand and broaden your knowledge.
  • The most important reason: You have ideas on how to improve healthcare in our society in the future and you want to play a role in achieving this. You are an entrepreneur at heart and innovation is your middle name.

If all this appeals to you, you are welcome to apply for our master’s programme!

Learn in interactive working groups in an interdisciplinairy and internationally environment

One or two years of study?

If you choose the one-year, full-time programme, you will spend three days a week on campus for face-to-face lectures, in Leiden, and one day a week taking online lectures. One day a week is reserved for independent study.

Alternatively, you can spread the course subjects and study load over two years. This creates the opportunity to study the degree part-time, leaving time for a job or another course. Every Friday, there are on-campus seminars and lectures that you are expected to attend. The other days of the week are spent studying independently and watching recorded lectures. For students in the part-time programme who live abroad, there is an option of online attendance to the on-campus activities on Fridays.

Follow inspiring co-creation sessions to develop your innovations.

Informative activities

We have set up a broad range of informative activities online for students considering starting the Master’s in Vitality and Ageing:

Higher Education Guide: Best Master’s Degrees

The Master’s Degrees Guide annually provides information about the quality of Dutch master’s degree programmes. This guide is published by an independent editorial team, free of any sponsoring or subsidies from companies, institutions, or the government. The results are based on reviews submitted by students as published annually in the Dutch National Students Survey (Nationale Studenten Enquête, NSE).

It fills us with great pride that our students of the academic year 2021-2022 have yet again given excellent ratings to the Vitality and Ageing master’s programme. While we received a rating of ‘Above average’ for the aspects of content and exams, the categories of lecturers, atmosphere, and career preparation were rewarded with a rating of ‘Excellent’. 

In addition, our programme won a bronze medal in 2022 in the Elsevier Best Studies for a rating of ‘Above average’ for student satisfaction. Only seven Dutch master’s programmes (university, health) received such a medal. We are absolutely delighted with these results. They are an expression of the trust and appreciation of our students for our substantive and organizational qualities.

Further details

For further details, please visit the other pages of our website.

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