All 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, 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 involve small population samples. Faculty conducting research in the centers, programs, and institutes of the Public Health Program, have a large array of research projects using public relevant data bases. 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.