All in-person MPH students are required to complete a thesis. There are no formal requirements for a candidacy examination in order to progress to writing a master’s thesis for the MPH degree. Therefore, the development of a master’s thesis is an ongoing process during the student’s academic program. Thesis projects may be descriptive research, investigative research, public health policy development or assessment, or a program evaluation. The thesis must have an analytic component, which may be qualitative, as well as quantitative. The thesis must also have utility, with some application for public health action.
The thesis project involves a smaller scale of administrative and data management activities than a typical MS or PhD thesis. Students may use existing datasets or develop their own, although the latter, by necessity, usually involves small population samples. Faculty conducting research in the centers, programs, and institutes of the School of Public Health have a large array of research projects using public relevant databases. The Department of Health and other state agencies have public use data sets and other sources of data are available from federal public health agencies.
Our goal is to prepare students to improve human health on a large scale—whether by influencing health policy, by designing better public health interventions, or by investigating environmental and community health risks. That’s why we place so much emphasis on research.