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Non-communicable Diseases


Admission requirements

Required: background in Biology (at least at high-school level) or LUC's Biology course.


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases as asthma are responsible for the greatest burden of morbidity and mortality. Almost 80% of deaths due to NCDs occur in low- and middle income countries.

The emerge of NCDs is not only driven by aging but also by rapid and unplanned urbanization and globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking and unhealthy diets as well as metabolic adaptations than can occur early in life.

This course will focus on social determinants and physiological risk factors of the most common NCDs with the highest disease burden and impact. Also, the course will address the current paradigms and controversies in epidemiology, health systems and prevention policies.

Course Objectives

After this course students will be able to:

  • Describe the epidemiology and trends of non-communicable diseases

  • Distinguish determinants of non-communicable diseases at an individual and at a population level

  • Measure and analyze main determinants of non-communicable diseases (i.e. biomarkers, genetics, lifestyle)

  • Apply the life course approach to the etiology of non-communicable diseases

  • Explain socio-economic inequalities in the occurrence of non-communicable diseases.

  • Know pros and cons of different prevention, diagnostic and treatment programs for non-communicable diseases.


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2020-2021 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, assignments, group discussions.

Assessment Method

Individual written assignment: 40%
Presentations (including panel discussions): 20%
Written group assignment: 35%
Individual participation: 5%

Reading list

Book on Physiology (TBA)
Research articles


Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Prof.dr. Niels Chavannes,
Dr. Frederike Büchner,