The Thesis

Dan Harris, MPH ’18

"Before coming to Brown, I referred to public health as my 'academic sweet tooth.' I satisfied my cravings by reading public health-related books and talking with friends about health equity and disparities. Now, my once 'sweet tooth' has evolved into a passionate career in health services research."

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 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.

Sample Thesis Topics
Action-Focused, Plain Language Communication for Overdose Prevention: A Qualitative Analysis of Rhode Island’s Overdose Surveillance and Information Dashboard
The Association between Psychological, Neurological, and Pro-Inflammatory Immunological Factors and Alcohol Craving
The Association between Vitamin K and Medial Tibial-femoral Knee Osteoarthritis Progression: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative
Associations between Resident, Facility and Community Characteristics and Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Rhode Island Nursing Homes
Barriers and Facilitators Influencing Maternal and Child Nutrition Practices in Rural North India
The Effect of Immigration Status on Use of Health Services and Outcomes in the United States
Emergency Department Texting Lifespan with Care: The Feasibility and Acceptability of a Bi-Directional Text Message-Based Intervention in the Emergency Department
Implementing Hepatitis C Testing Protocols in Primary Care Settings for Adults Born between 1945 and 1965
Incidence of Firearm Injuries in Children and Adolescents in Rhode Island
Persistent Organic Pollutants and Risk of Testicular Germ Cell Carcinoma: An Overview