Postgraduate Certificate in Tropical Medicine and International Health (TMIH)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Tropical Medicine and International Health provides health professionals with a broad and interdisciplinary training. It combines clinical, epidemiological and biomedical knowledge and skills with a systemic approach to health care organization and disease control. Additionally, the broad perspective of international health policies and inputs from social sciences will help students grasp the complex picture of health and health care in low-resource settings. The integration of these different disciplines is a key feature of the programme.
This course targets (junior) health professionals with a concrete interest and/or career perspective in international health. Professionals with significant experience in low- and middle-income countries are advised to explore courses which go beyond the introductory level (e.g. master degrees or more specialized short courses).
The Postgraduate Certificate programme consists of two course components (short courses):
- Introduction to International Health (IIH)
- Tropical Medicine and Clinical Decision-making (TMCDM)
Here students can register for the whole postgraduate certificate programme. To register for one of the two short courses please go to the specific course description on the course overview page.

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives of course component 1: Introduction to International Health (IIH)
  • discuss determinants of health in general and of health care seeking behaviour in particular
  • analyse the main biomedical, clinical and epidemiological aspects of the major health problems in low and middle income countries in order to manage their prevention and control at population and individual level
  • organise primary health care services taking into account local priorities and resource availability as well as the perspective of communities and patients
  • describe the major issues in international health policy and development cooperation
  • critically analyse disease control programmes, applying scientific tools and methods
  • manage communication and teamwork in a multi-disciplinary setting
Learning objectives of course component 2: Tropical Medicine and Clinical Decision Making (TMCDM)
  • explain the epidemiological, clinical and laboratory features of tropical diseases and micronutrient deficiencies in a tropical setting
  • explain the specificities of clinical presentation and management of tuberculosis and HIV infection (and related diseases) in tropical settings
  • analyse the performances and pitfalls of laboratory tests in a tropical district hospital and interpret their results within a given clinical context
  • search and obtain online information on relevant and updated clinical or diagnostic procedures, in low-resource settings;
  • make a sound differential diagnosis and provide adequate clinical management, adapted to tropical hospital settings with scarce resources

Programme structure


  • Introduction to International Health (20 ECTS credits)


  • Tropical Medicine and Clinical Decision Making (10 ECTS credits)


The first Course Component 'Introduction to International Health' is accredited in the tropEd network.
Both Course Components; 'Introduction to International Health' and 'Tropical Medicine and Clinical decision Making' are course components of the ITM Masters in Public Health programme (see > courses and applications > Master in Public Health).  

Teaching and learning methods

The course uses a combination of state of the art lectures, interactive classes, individual study and exercises, coached team work and practical laboratory work. The lecturers have extensive experience overseas and come from all departments of the ITM. Their field experience and scientific work feeds extensively into the course. External lecturers complement specific areas of expertise.


During and at the end of course component 1, theoretical exams are organised consisting of multiple choice questions and integrated essay questions. At the end of course component 2, theoretical (multiple choice exam) and oral exams are organised, as well as a laboratory skills exam. Students who pass a course component receive a credit certificate.
The two credit certificates are required to be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in TM&IH.

Admission requirements

Academic degree
Applicants must be holder of a university degree of minimum 4 years equivalent to 240 ECTS (referred to as a Master’s degree in the European Union) in medicine or health sciences. Applicants with a degee in nursing, pharmaceutical or biomedical sciences can exceptionally be admitted as the second course component has a strong clinical focus. Please consult the course secretariat.
Language proficiency
Required level for English: TOEFL 580 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based) or 88 (internet-based), IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. (ITM Toefl Code 7727).
Note that native English speakers are exempt from these language requirements. Applicants whose first language is not English are equally exempt if they have obtained 60 credits from a higher education programme taught in English. Non-native English speakers are also exempt from the English language requirement if they have a higher education diploma from a Flemish Community higher education institution.
 Documents required at application
  • Copies of academic and professional degrees
  • Copies of transcripts of academic records (scores)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Passport-size photograph
  • If relevant, proof of English language proficiency (e.g. TOEFL)
  • Short motivation letter

Selection criteria

For organizational purposes, a maximum of 60 students is admitted.
Admission is on a first-come first-served basis among applicants which belong to the target group of the course and have completed the application file.


You can also apply for a single course component. See the Short Courses section of our website for specific information on following short courses and their admission requirements
- Introduction to International Health (IIH)
- Tropical Medicine and Clinical Decision Making (TMCDM)

Extra Information


Programme director: Bruno Marchal
Coordinator (s): Marianne Hilgert
Secretary: Marianne Hilgert
Tel: +32 (0)3 247 64 71


The course study load is equivalent to 30 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System credits).