Students handbook

1.1.1 Synopsis

MPH Student Handbook (English): [Downloadable PDF]
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1.1.2 School Mission

The mission of the School of Public Health (SPH) of the National University of Rwanda (NUR) is to improve the health status of the population of Rwanda through graduate education and in-service training; research and service; and to become a Center of Excellence in the Great Lakes region for distance education and complex emergency/disaster management studies.
The School’s training and applied research strategy addresses the immediate needs in Rwanda to rapidly put in place an effective and efficient decentralized health system. Education/training and research programs are practical and emphasize scale. The School employs interdisciplinary and interdepartmental approaches and seeks to leverage information technology to achieve national level impact on the health system.
The School serves as a focal point for "best practices" identification and dissemination and it seeks to establish collaborative research with international universities that are funded by international research centers.

The goals of the School are to:
• Provide education and training to national health leadership and district health teams in support of the national health plan;
• Conduct applied research to facilitate the efficiency and impact of health sector interventions;
• Contribute to the knowledge base on the management of complex emergencies and disasters and to disseminate lessons learned nationally, regionally and internationally;
• Improve the quality of public health programs in Rwanda through service activities; and
• Develop an autonomous and sustainable School of Public Health.

1.1.3 Location

The School is located in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, where it moved in December 2006. The National University of Rwanda, with support from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education has decided to move the school to the capital to meet its vision of a SPH for the sub-region of the great Lakes and to have training sites on the national territory outside Butare Campus..

National University of Rwanda
School of Public Health
Po.Box. 5229 Kigali
Tel. Office (250) 585166
Fax. (250) 500014

1.1.4 Administration and Departments


Prof. Kakoma Jean Baptiste


Adjoint Director
Prof. Munyanshongore Cyprien


Kambanda Eugene

Barakagwira Julienne

Information Specialist
Kanobana Roman

Academic Secretary
Habagusenga Jean D'Amour

Information Center
Munyaneza Moses


1.1.6 Academic Departments

Department and Head of Department

Teaching Assistant

Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Dr  Ntaganira Joseph

Dr.  Umubyeyi Aline

Mr.  Bizimana Jean de Dieu

Health Policy
Dr.  Musango Laurent

Mrs  Mironko Teddy
Health Policy

Reproductive Health
Dr.  Bucagu Maurice

Dr.  Umutesi Condo Jeanine
Reproductive health/behavior change

Dr.  Basinga Paulin
Reproductive health behavior change

Communication for behavior change (CCC/IEC)
Prof.  Munyanshongore Cyprien

Nyirazinyoye Laetitia
Communication for behavior change

Health Economics
Dr. Jean Kagubare

Nzayirambaho Manassé
Management of health services

Health and Environment
Prof.  Dushimimana Abel

Ntahobakulira Isaac
Health and Environment


Academic Resources

Computer Lab

As computing resources, the SPH has a technical room with one (1) main server, one (1) Macintosh computer for the management of the school website, and one (1) computer used for GIS applications.

The School has a computer room equipped with twenty nine (29) computers, having basic software for word processing, as well as for static data analysis such as : MS Office (MS Publisher), EpiInfo 3.2.2, PowerPoint, MS FrontPage. Ten (10) additional computers

are used for administrative purposes, and almost all members of the teaching staff and students in Master’s of Public Health (MPH) possess a laptop.

The Knowledge Center also has eight (8) printers, one (1) photocopying machine, three (3) scanners, two (2) LCD projectors and four (4) overhead projectors.

Hours of operation: Monday-Friday from 8 am to 6 pm.

For assistance, please contact:

Kanobana Roman
IT Specialist
Tel.: 250) 585166

Information Center

The Information Center contains public health research studies and reports, reference book, and international journal publications. The Center also contains reports of national surveys conducted throughout the country by various ministries such as health, education, and agriculture.

For more information, please contact:

Moses Munyaneza

SPH Services


The school offers housing for students conveniently located at the school premises.

Facilities include:
Individual rooms with shared shower
Secure Parking

Financial Support

The SPH provides lodging and meals to Rwandan government-sponsored students. These students also receive reimbursements for travel expenses. Private students are responsible for their own lodging and meals.

Tuition fees for private students from Rwanda and the Great Lakes region are $10,000 USD for the 2 year MPH program.

MPH Program


The purpose of the MPH program is to prepare experienced health officers with the additional competencies needed for planning, managing, and assessing the health services to be provided to the people of Rwanda.

In January 2000, the National University of Rwanda created a new School of Public Health to provide public health education, research, and practice services to improve the performance of the health systems in Rwanda. In designing this program, the SPH drew upon lessons from other African experiences of public health training, and in particular from the programs offered at ISED in Senegal and IPH/Makerere in Uganda. The proposed number of credits for the classroom and fieldwork components, and therefore for the whole MPH program, are in line with recognized MPH programs in Africa and elsewhere.

A special feature of the MPH program is that the initial intake of participants comprises District Health Officers (DHOs) who will maintain their current responsibilities while undertaking their academic training. A major advantage of this approach is that these participants will be able to immediately practice and put into action their new competencies. It is expected that the academic program will require absences from their posts during 3 to 4 weeks every three months and up to 50% of the student’s time for fieldwork upon return to their posts.


At the end of the MPH program, a graduate will be able to function as a public health specialist or manager of health services in accordance with international standards. He/she will be expected to be a leader in improving public health, oversee clinical health care delivery, promote health and prevent disease, and to be a good supervisor of health services.

Specifically, the MPH graduate will be expected to be able to interpret national health policy and use planning and quality management methods; carry out basic administration and manage resources; provide training and skills development for health personnel; manage data collection and analysis for decision making; demonstrate communication skills and work within a team; promote intersectoral collaboration for health; investigate and control epidemics; deal with public health aspects of clinical problems; and mobilize communities on health matters.

Curriculum Description

The MPH program, carried out over two academic years, consists of eight learning modules of similar duration and structure in addition to the development of a thesis. Disciplinary areas include epidemiology; biostatistics; demography; social, behavioral and management sciences; economics; and clinical sciences.

Module 1 Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Purpose: To provide the essential quantitative concepts, methods, and tools needed to practice public health at the district level.

Module 2 Quality Management of Health Services

Purpose: To provide the essential principles, methods, and tools of quality management needed to practice public health at the district level.

Module 3 The Context of Health

Purpose: To provide understanding of the demographic, social, cultural, behavioral, economic, and environmental determinants of health and disease; and the practical implications for the practice of public health at the district level.

Module 4 Assessment of Health Status and Priority Interventions

Purpose: To provide the concepts, methods, and tools to assess the health status of a community and to set priorities among interventions at the district level.

Module 5 Health Policy and Planning

Purpose: To provide understanding of the rationale and processes for developing national health policies and the capacity to translate these policies into district level plans and budgets. A special emphasis is placed on primary health care.

Module 6 Behavior Change Communication and Training

Purpose: To provide understanding of the determinants of human behavior, and the methods and tools needed to develop behavioral change programs; effectively communicate with coworkers and the community; and develop and implement training programs.

Module 7 Applied Analytical Methods

Purpose: To provide additional quantitative and qualitative analytical methods and tools for use at the district level with a special emphasis on the needs of individual students as determined by their thesis topics.

Module 8 Applied Management Methods

Purpose: To provide additional managerial methods and tools for use at the district level, with a special emphasis on the particular needs of individual students.

Program Structure

The MPH program extends over a period of two academic years and consists of eight learning modules. The academic year begins in January and comprises 44 weeks of education. There are eight weeks of recess between the two academic years. Each academic year is divided into four learning modules of eleven weeks. Each module begins with two or three weeks of resident training in Kigali; continues with seven to eight weeks during which trainees return to their posts to conduct fieldwork; and ends with one week of evaluation back in Kigali.

The trainees are expected to be available on a full-time basis during their resident training in Kigali, and on a half-time basis for their fieldwork while at their post.

As per its academic policies, the NUR requires that the candidates for Master’s level degrees submit a thesis that "presents the results of personal research, compilation or experiment, which bring a real contribution or potential results providing a solution to a problem preferably of national interest." The MPH thesis is an ongoing project carried out throughout the two-year training and defended at the end of the program. The topic is chosen in consultation with the designated Field Supervisor and the SPH faculty. Students are required to submit a proposal for their research and received faculty approval before the end of the first year of study.

The table below is a graphical presentation of the general structure of the MPH program at the NUR. Each cell represents one week of training. All the shaded cells represent the weeks spent in resident training in Kigali, and include the evaluation weeks at the end of each module (in grids).

(Please note that the academic schedule is occasionally modified in response to major health sector initiatives. For example, Rwanda’s National Campaign against Measles delayed the start of the second year program by two months.)

Student Responsibilities

Students must prepare themselves to manage their regular jobs while taking on the added commitment and responsibilities associated while being a student in the MPH Program. Suggestions include the following:

• Naming and training a strong, acting replacement who is vested with authority and responsibility during their absence from the office;

• Organizing and tasking to a team; and

• Meeting and discussing their academic commitments with their supervisor.

In addition, students are strongly encouraged to meet with more senior level MPH students and discuss their strategies for balancing academic and work responsibilities.


Progressive Assessment: For each module a progressive mark shall be awarded by the instructor using a set of criteria. These criteria may include aspects such as group work, general participation, commitment, answering questions, and general professional conduct during class time. A progressive mark shall be awarded for 20% of the overall module score.

Written Examination: At the end of each module, a written examination shall be administered to the trainees. The score from all the written tests from the course units or end of module examination shall be weighted according to the duration of the unit for a total score of 30% of the overall module score.

Field Assignment: The oral presentation and report from the field assignment at the end of each of the first six modules shall be evaluated by two independent faculty members and awarded a mark of 50% of the overall module score. There shall be no field assignment at the end of Applied Analytical Methods (Module 7) and Applied Management Methods (Module 8) as the trainees shall be expected to be working on their final dissertations.

Overall Assessment: The overall assessment for a module shall be on the basis of the trainee obtaining at least 50% of the required marks from progressive and written assessments, as well as at least 50% of the required field marks (with the exception of the last two modules mentioned above for which the written and progressive marks shall comprise 100% of the total module score). A trainee who fails to fulfill any of the two requirements above shall be expected to re-take the module or re-submit the field assignment as the case may be. There shall be no supplementary examination.

Assessment of the Dissertation: The dissertation shall be assessed on the basis of 100% and must be passed independently. If a trainee fails to provide an acceptable dissertation, he/she shall be allowed up to 1 year within which to fulfill dissertation requirements. Failure to do so shall automatically disqualify a trainee from receiving the award.

Progression on the Course: In order to proceed to the second year of the program, the trainee should have successfully fulfilled the first year requirements, i.e. having passed all the four modules. The final award shall be granted upon successful completion of all course requirements including an acceptable dissertation.

Discontinuation from the Program: A trainee shall be deemed to have failed and discontinued from the program if:

• He/she fails a progressive/written examination on retaking a module.

• He/she fails a re-submitted field assignment.

• He/she fails the submission of an acceptable dissertation.

Award and Classification

The degree of Master of Public Health shall be awarded without classification.