Master of Science in Health Economics (MScHE)
|Degree:||Master of Science|
|Course start:||winter semesters (September) only|
|Course duration:||1 year full-time / up to 3 ½ years (60 ECTS)|
|Study options:||full-time (international students) / part-time (MaReCuM students)|
|Language requirements:||English (on application)|
|Language of instruction:||English|
|Tuition fees:||EUR 6,000 per semester|
The aim of the Master of Science in Health Economics (MScHE) programme is to provide first-class training in the theoretical foundations and practical applications of health-economic methods for decision-making and policy development in health and health care within the context of the ethical principles of society.
The programme supplies students with the experience and skills necessary to participate in health-service decision-making. It does so by providing a sound grounding in the economic principles that guide the organisation and functioning of health systems. The foundations for specialisation in health economics are supplied by coursework in the core areas of health economics, notably microeconomics, econometrics and the economic evaluation of health and health-care programmes.
Aims and main learning objectives
The overall objective is to provide students with the tools enabling them to participate at the frontier of health-economic research and practice. An overview of closely related subjects, such as public health, health-care policy and health-care management, is included with a view to supplying a broader perspective and preparing graduates for work in multidisciplinary teams and settings.
The learning outcomes for students of the MScHE program include thorough knowledge of the theories and methods used by professional health economists and active researchers in the field and reflected in their important contemporary contributions to international scholarly journals.
Students will gain an understanding of the key analytic arguments used in health economics, their normative foundations and ethical implications. Further, they will acquire extensive knowledge of the nature and sources of socio-economic data, current challenges and major areas of research, and the role of observation, abstraction, and model construction in facilitating empirical evaluation.
The demand for qualified health economists in Europe far exceeds the current supply (European Journal of Health Economics, 2000). Continuing growth in the field is fuelled by the advances in medical technology and the limited resources available for health-care expenditure. Training in health economics combines the therapeutic knowledge of a physician with the analytic skills of a health economist. It is this synergy of skills and knowledge that ensures that the outcomes of economic evaluations are regarded in a manner that reconciles the claims of society and medicine. The Master of Science degree is rapidly becoming the standard qualification in the field of health economics.
The course is structured into four (4) compact teaching blocks, followed by a period of individual research work.
The first coursework block consists of two (2) introductory self-study modules with an expected learning time of two (2) weeks of full-time study. One of them discusses the ethical foundations necessary for normative economics and provides an introduction to health policy, while the second supplies a review of the basic mathematical methods applied in economics. The inclusion of self-study modules at the beginning of the program clearly communicates to students that in this programme they need to be highly motivated and self-directed if they are to be successful.
The second coursework block comprises four (4) taught modules lasting four (4) weeks. They are designed to help students achieve a sound overview of microeconomic and health-economic theory, economic policy and health law, and economic evaluation methods. There is one additional week for the final preparation of projects, written assignments and exams.
The third coursework block consisting of six (6) modules builds on the foundations established in the second block and introduces students to the broader context and the advanced skills required in the practice of health economics. The topics covered by the six weeks of taught modules in the third block are preference and utility theory; epidemiology, demography and public health; health-care financing and policy; health-care organisation and management; statistics; and econometrics, again followed by one (1) week for the completion of projects, written assignments and exams.
The fourth and final coursework block focuses on the advanced strategies and skill-building necessary for health-economic research and practice. The final five (5) modules deal with advanced techniques in modelling, industrial economics and competition theory; health-service research and policy; advanced economic evaluation methods; clinical decision-making and health-technology assessment. Like the other coursework blocks, the fourth block consists of six weeks of teaching plus one week for the final preparation of projects, written assignments and exams.
Thesis (25 ECTS)
After successfully completing the taught part of the program, students move on to the research work for their final thesis. This project is designed to enhance students’ ability to independently discern a research issue that is both relevant and substantial, choose the methodology for dealing with it, and gauge the impact of the findings at a practical and policy-related level. To make this a fruitful learning experience, students are systematically guided throughout the work on their thesis by an academic tutor.
Teaching and learning methods
Learning mainly takes place in interactive seminars (max. 25 students) and through group/individual learning assignments. Up-to-date, keynote lectures supplement the student-centred learning approach of the programme. Sufficient work space and largely unrestricted access to the relevant literature support the progress of individual learning.
Coursework revolves around problem and case-based learning activities with a view to developing the skills required for health-economic research and practice. These skills include analytic problem-formulation, assessment and analysis of economic data, and the use of decision-analytic software. Emphasis is given to accurate identification of the key objectives and the assumptions operative in health-economic research and practice, evaluation of the relevant evidence and methods for interpreting data and avoiding logical inconsistencies. In the course of these learning activities, the students gain in self-confidence and professionalism by presenting and defending their ideas and views to critical audiences and by listening closely to arguments and perspectives put forward by others.
Assessment of student achievement takes place throughout the course. During the taught part of the programme, it takes the form of written in-class exams, group projects, oral presentations and individual take-home assignments. The thesis and the final oral exam are the last of these assessments. To qualify for the M.Sc. degree, a pass mark is required for each part of the programme.
Schedule and course duration
Classes are held from 3 pm to 8 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Wednesdays, classes begin at 2 pm and end at 8.45 pm. On Fridays, classes begin at 3 pm and end at 6.15 pm. The classes will be held in the lecture rooms of the Tridomus building, where the offices of the Mannheim Institute of Public Health (MIPH) are also located.
The sequencing of the blocks allows (a) for full-time study from early September to the end of February (one term) so as to complete the taught modules in a concentrated manner or (b) for part-time study usually spread over two years (blocks 1 and 2 taken in year 1, blocks 3 and 4 in year 2). The programme can be completed in one (1) year (full-time enrolment) or up to 3 ½ years (part-time enrolment).
Heidelberg University was founded more than 600 years ago (in 1386) and is the oldest university in Germany. Today, as in the past, Heidelberg is a leading institution for research and teaching in Europe. It has two medical faculties on separate campuses, one in Heidelberg and one in nearby Mannheim, both offering innovative courses of study.
At the Mannheim Medical Campus, M.Sc.-level courses specialising in health-related fields, such as the MScHE, are offered in addition to clinical medical training. These programmes aim to attract graduate students from various subjects with a view to forming interdisciplinary teams and fostering mutual learning. Selected, highly qualified medical students may be admitted to an M.Sc.-level course in their 4th and 5th years of study, continuing with their medical studies and thus pursuing a dual degree programme.
The MScHE is offered by the Mannheim Institute of Public Health (MIPH). The MIPH is strongly committed to the education of tomorrow’s physicians and researchers via an intensive combination of teaching and research activities. Health-economic research at the MIPH focuses on three areas. In the first, the economic impact of health promotion and disease prevention strategies are evaluated from the perspectives of industry, health system stakeholders and society. Specific consideration is given to the value of reducing inequities in health and health care. The second research area investigates the role of individual preferences in informed decision-making, specifically in the design of, and adherence to, health-care interventions. In the third area, research is targeted towards understanding and addressing the social and cultural health determinants arising from the demographic transition in Germany and analysing the German social health-insurance reform process.
The MscHE’s international connectivity links it with leading institutions in research, education and industry, a fact that contributes greatly to the development of a diverse, globally engaged health-economics research community and workforce. Practical experience outside their programme of study can be arranged for students with the help of our industrial partners, governmental and research agencies, and academic research collaborators in Germany, Europe and abroad.
The programme is open to medical doctors and other professionals with an initial health-related academic degree equivalent to 240 ECTS (usually a Bachelor degree after at least 4 years of full-time study). Special admission conditions apply for medical students registered with the MaReCuM (Mannheim Reformed Curriculum for Medicine) programme. A maximum of 25 participants will be admitted each year.
The language of instruction is English. Students whose mother tongue is not English must furnish evidence of proficiency in English, usually by certification of an IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL iBT of 100. Exemption from this requirement may be granted to students who have completed their prior education in English (written proof required with application).
High motivation, self-reliance and team skills are qualities that participants should both possess and display. In a two-page “personal statement”, prospective participants are asked to document these qualities, indicate their academic and personal goals, and enlarge on the study and research interests prompting them to apply for the programme.
Application and admission
The closing date for applications to the MScHE programme is 15 April. They should be addressed to the Mannheim Institute of Public Health and include
- application form
- curriculum vitae
- official educational certificates in the original language plus an official English translation (translation not required if original in German)
- proof of English proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL) or exemption statement
- personal statement (letter of motivation)
Examination regulations / Study regulations
Academic year/ Time schedule
The academic year starts on September 1 and is split into two semesters (September-February/ March-August).
Full-time study (international students) means that students finish the taught parts of the programme in the first semester and write their thesis in the second semester.
Part-time study (reserved for MaReCuM students already enrolled at the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University) means that study duration extends over a period of 2½ years with defined periods of full-time attendance. Part-time students begin in year 1 by participating in taught modules in the 9 weeks from September to the end of October. In year 2 they continue with taught modules for 14 weeks from November to the end of February. The M.Sc. thesis is completed at an individually chosen point thereafter. During taught modules, full-time attendance is necessary, between the modules there is no programme on offer (dual degree medical students = MaReCuM students continue with their medical courses).
The booking of single modules is not possible.
Further information concerning the programm structure can be found in the Module Handbook
Dr. Diana Sonntag
phone: +49 (0)621-383 9922
Mannheim Institute of Public Health
D- 68167 Mannheim
phone: +49 (0)621 383 9924
fax: +49 (0)621 383 9920