Universiteit Leiden

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Vitality and Ageing (MSc)

Programme structure

The degree programme lasts one academic year and is broken down into five thematic elements: Future Perspectives; The Biology of Vitality and Aging; The Older Individual; and The Organisation of the Ageing Society. The programme is concluded with an internship and thesis during the Science and Career course.

The main elements of the programme

The master kicks off with an intensive introduction in which you will be given invaluable insights into what vitality in old age is all about. The themes featured in this introduction are listed below.

  • You’ll be introduced to the staff and coordinators of the programme, as well as your fellow students.
  • You’ll be given an introduction to the programme itself and the three themes of its courses.
  • You’ll look ahead to what you expect to get out of the master’s programme, your ambitions and the way you see your career unfolding.
  • You will get in-depth knowledge on the demographic developments of ageing.  
  • You’ll envisage what it actually means to get old, made more tangible by relating your personal experiences and opinions and through discussions with old people.
  • You’ll start your training in academic skills and communication.

By combining these various perspectives on vitality and ageing, you will be given excellent insights in the most important aspects of this master’s programme.

This course will focus on the biological aspects of vitality and healthy ageing. Attention will be paid to repair mechanisms, nutrition, longevity and maintenance of bodily and mental functions and independence. The aim of this course is to develop understanding of the biological mechanisms that underlie ageing and age-related diseases so as to stimulate scientific thinking towards potential interventions aimed at enhancing vitality.

In this course, students gain a basic understanding of such diseases and limitations which are common in ageing individuals. Intergenerational thought is stimulated in this course, by providing students among others with interview skills. With this transferable academic skill, students will interview older adults to understand the ageing process from an individual level and learn how to co-create with them. 

The State-of-the-Art knowledge on ageing sciences will focus on a brief introduction of the challenges to health will be used to elaborate on personalised healthcare, vitality in older age, screening for risk and resilience factors, goal-setting and other multidisciplinary interventions for older people to enhance personalised health care. Students will learn that the goal of health care for these older individuals is not only a matter of maintaining physical and mental health, but also remaining independence and participation in social activities. The ability of older people to adapt and to reach goals that they consider important, will contribute to their vitality.

To understand the reasons and need for changes towards a sustainable healthcare system, students will acquire thorough knowledge from various stakeholders perspectives: governmental, municipalities, public health care, hospital care, health insurances, primary care and long-term care. 

An example of the demand for sustainable changes in the population health management is the increasing incidence of chronic diseases across the world, which has become essential to search for more effective strategies to prevent and manage these diseases. To understand this international challenge, students will learn on different international models of healthcare. Moreover, the students will inspire each other about the international differences in healthcare systems caused by illiteracy, social economic status, cultural differences and different contexts.

Find all our detailed information of the programme at the e-Prospectus.

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