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Wageningen University & Research, Full Time Masters Degrees in Nursing & Health

We have 2 Wageningen University & Research, Full Time Masters Degrees in Nursing & Health

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If you are interested in solving societally relevant, complex health issues, then Wageningen is the place to be! In the specialisation Health and Society students become context-sensitive experts in the domains of science and health promotion. Read more

MSc Health and Society Specialisation

If you are interested in solving societally relevant, complex health issues, then Wageningen is the place to be! In the specialisation Health and Society students become context-sensitive experts in the domains of science and health promotion. Health and Society studies the social and behavioural aspects of health and health promotion, but also other factors that affects health, for instance the organization of the food system and the interaction between individuals and the physical environment.

Programme summary

Health is a resource that enables people to lead an individually, socially and economically productive life. For many centuries, the care for individual and population health has been the domain of medical sciences. However, it is widely acknowledged that contemporary health problems are complex and cannot be solved by simply extending existing health services. Chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes are important contributors to the burden of disease; as are communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmittable diseases.

There is no single cause to such health problems. Biological factors aside, lifestyle and the social and physical environment are major contributors in both a positive and negative way. Many diseases are related to the way in which people behave and take care of their own health, for example, substance abuse (smoking, alcohol, drugs), nutrition, physical exercise, and sexual behaviour. Lifestyles are often rooted in the social environment of family and friends, the neighbourhood, and the school and working environment. Aspects of the physical environment also affect individual and population health including housing conditions, environmental pollution, the availability of green space, and the availability and accessibility of health services. Moreover, societal changes, such as demography (e.g. aging populations, single parent families), consumption patterns, communication technology developments, globalisation and commercialisation influence the health status of individuals and populations.

Since health is influenced by such a diversity of interconnected factors, the development of cross border public health policies is essential. Within the health care system, organisations and professionals have to increasingly work together in the provision of care, prevention and health promotion. The set-up of the programme reflects its focus on societal issues in the domain of health, health promotion and health care systems. The programme covers a niche in the Netherlands by primarily taking a sociological approach to this domain, centralising the link between health and human relationships. Here, human relationships are interaction patterns and dependencies both differing in nature, scope and intensity. In conjunction with this sociological approach, anthropological and social psychological approaches are key to the social scientific analysis of health within the program.

The study programme takes a comparative perspective with respect to the empowerment of individuals, communities and populations. In other words, to what degree do people have the (financial) means to arrange their lives and are they able to use facilities for health protection and health improvement. This way, emphasis is on the societal embedding of health and activities of health promotion in relation to social processes, structures and institutions. Together with sociology, the programme combines the domains communication science and health promotion but also includes perspectives from economics, management and public policy.


The Health and Society programme is already a specialisation. However, depending on education background and personal interests, the programme schedule may vary.

Your future career

The Health and Society study domain is becoming more and more relevant as a consequence of changing patterns in health problems and the factors influencing health. Policymakers are becoming more aware of the impact of health policy; and recent national and international policy documents have emphasised the importance of health promotion. The improvement and sustainability of acceptable levels of health remains a major challenge. This specialisation prepares you for careers as researchers, health promoters, health policy advisors or managers of health-oriented organisations.

Student Sofia Sutherland Borja.
Sofia comes from Chile where she finished her BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics. In her MSc internship at the Standing Committee on Nutrition at the United Nations in Geneva, she worked on policies related to Public Health Nutrition. “For me, this has been a great opportunity to experience at first-hand how nutrition promotion policies are developed, and also meet influential people in the field I’m passionate about. Health and Society was the perfect complement to my background in Nutrition and Dietetics, because I can now approach nutrition problems from both a medical and social perspective.”

Related programmes:
MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies
MSc International Development Studies
MSc Applied Communication Science
MSc Development and Rural Innovation

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The Nutrition and Health programme studies nutrition and health at the (sub)cellular, individual and population level. Nutrition and Health focuses on the role of dietary and lifestyle factors in human health and disease. Read more

MSc Nutrition and Health

The Nutrition and Health programme studies nutrition and health at the (sub)cellular, individual and population level.

Programme summary

Nutrition and Health focuses on the role of dietary and lifestyle factors in human health and disease. This role is studied from a biomedical perspective at the individual and population levels. In addition, the mechanisms underlying beneficial and adverse effects are studied at the sub-cellular (DNA), cellular and organ/ organism levels. Human nutrition is a multidisciplinary field of expertise. To solve problems in nutrition and health, you must consider chemical and biochemical characteristics, physiological and biomedical aspects, the social and behavioural context of nutrition, and the relationships between these factors. Solving problems in this domain requires multidisciplinary biomedical knowledge and skills as well as an interdisciplinary approach to communication with experts in human nutrition and other fields.


The specialisations within Nutrition and Health are:

Epidemiology and Public Health
Epidemiologists try to determine causal relationships in large groups of people, such as the elderly or people with cardiovascular problems; between food, lifestyle and the development of diseases. Research results act as starting points for health advice and lead to a greater understanding of cause and effect. If you know that certain behaviour leads to a disease, that behaviour can be addressed, and the effectiveness of the efforts to do so can be measured. You will be helping to improve the overall health of people and may be able to prevent food-related diseases from developing.

Complete Online Master
From September 2015, Wageningen University started the specialisation "Nutritional Epidemiology and Public Health" as the first complete online Master of Science. For more information go to http://www.wageningenuniversity.eu/onlinemaster

Nutritional Physiology and Health Status
In this specialisation, you will study various age groups and situations, such as growth, pregnancy, and food consumption behaviour. You will also review special situations including serious diseases (clinical food), during sports and activity. You may also research the food consumption behaviour and habits of individuals and how you may be able to influence that, for example, through portion sizes. In short, you will review different aspects and will learn what the effects are of food consumption patterns and the physiological processes on the body and what that means for the status of its health and illness.

Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology
In this specialisation, you will learn to use techniques, at molecular and cellular levels, to discover the mechanism driving the relationship between food and health. In toxicology, you will learn to study the possible poisonous effects of substances present in food. For instance, new ingredients in food products and additives, but also natural substances present in our food. The relationship between food consumption, food and medicines can also be researched and through this research, you will find many new leads to improving our health.

Sensory Science
This specialisation is positioned at the interface of the programmes Food Technology and Nutrition and Health. Sensory scientists deal with the way humans perceive the world and act upon sensory input. They address how sensory systems function, from stimulation and perception to cognition and behaviour. You will work with humans and products in different contexts and study the way in which product properties affect, for example, sensory perception. The study always keeps a link to the application of this knowledge in the fields of human health and the design, production and consumption of attractive healthy foods.

Your future career

Many of our graduates begin working as researchers or PhD students. Another group becomes advisors, trainers or take up other jobs in the private sector. The majority of graduates finds employment at universities (including university medical centres), research institutes (TNO Nutrition or RIVM), in the public sector (national, regional and local governments, Netherlands Nutrition Centre, District Health Authorities) or companies involved with nutrition, pharmacology and toxicology (Unilever, Nutricia, Friesland Campina, Danone Research, Novartis). As graduates progress in their careers, they usually advance to a (more) managerial level.

Alumna Pascalle Weijzen.
Pascalle did a thesis in Epidemiology and Sensory Science. After her graduation, she did a PhD project on the dynamics of food choice and sensory specific satiety. She joined FrieslandCampina afterwards, as a Researcher Sensory & Consumer Science, where she has been responsible for innovation projects aiming at strategies to stimulate healthy food choices. “I really feel I can contribute to profit for the company and to public health at the same time. In this job I still benefit from the broad nutrition and sensory expertise, the strong academic level of thinking, and the worldwide expert network which I built up during my MSc and PhD degrees.”

Related programmes:
MSc Food Safety
Health and Society (specialisation)

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