Thesis

In the summer before your final year, students in the Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Social & Behavioral Sciences concentrations of the MPH program must complete an applied practice experience (APE). As part of the APE, you’ll engage in hands-on public health research under the mentoring of a public health research professional addressing a specific public health topic. 

The applied practice experience can then inform your MPH Thesis, which will be completed in your final year. 

What Is the MPH Thesis?

The MPH thesis is a paper addressing a specific public health topic, with the general expectation that the finished product demonstrates concentration competencies, meets academic and professional standards, and is of a quality useful to some external audience (e.g., journal readers, practitioners, advocates, other researchers).

With faculty support, you’ll identify your topic and population of interest, preferably based on your work in the site where your applied practice hours are undertaken, which serve as the basis of the MPH Thesis.  

Your applied learning experience can be based in the greater New York City area, elsewhere in the United States, or overseas, but must be completed no later than the summer before enrolling in your first thesis course.

For more information on the thesis, please view our APE Thesis Guide.

What Does the Thesis Entail?

The thesis experience is complemented by a two-semester course Thesis Course (GPH-GU 2686 Thesis I: Practice and Integrative Learning Experience and GPH-GU 2687 Thesis II: Practice and Integrative Learning Experience) during which students complete the MPH Thesis:

  • Thesis I: Students across tracks will study together to learn about the elements of the thesis, how to identify a mentor, and how to write a comprehensive review of the literature and an annotated outline of the project.

  • Thesis II: Students apply what they have learned to prepare this MPH thesis as well as a presentation associated with the thesis. 

The MPH Thesis may be one of four types:

  • A journal-style manuscript reporting results of data analyses (typically secondary analysis of an existing dataset) that about the public health topic;

  • A proposal for a research study to develop further knowledge on understanding or intervening on the specific public health issue. The proposal should follow NIH guidelines for an R21 or specific guidelines from another funding source (e.g., HRSA, ACS) (EPI SBS);

  • A proposal describing the development of a program or intervention to address the specific public health issue (SBS);

  • A proposed evaluation research study of a program that addresses the specific public health issue (SBS).

All theses must include (1) a review of the literature and framing of the public health issue nested within a theoretical context, and (2) a discussion of the public health significance of the findings, proposed research, or program. 

How Do I Enroll in the Thesis Course(s)?

All students must have secured an Applied Practice Experience (APE) and submitted a Practice Learning Contract (PLC) that has been reviewed and approved by GPH before they will be allowed to enroll in the Thesis I course. 

For instructions on requesting APE approval, please refer to the Applied Practice Experience page. 

Once your PLC has been approved, you will receive an access code to register for Thesis I.