The following five types of theses are acceptable:
The investigative thesis takes an in-depth look at a specific health problem or topic, describing its public health importance and analyzing it from a disciplined perspective. This thesis should include the following:
- Definition of the problem;
- Presentation of the study population and the methods by which data were acquired;
- Analysis of the results;
- Discussion of the implications of the results;
Research Study Demonstrating Mastery of Methodology
This type of thesis requires sophisticated analysis and application. Consequently, students should be sure of their readiness to undertake it. This thesis should include the following:
- Statement of methodological problem;
- Comparison of available solutions, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each;
- Either (a) Choice and application of one of the available solutions, or (b) Development of a new solution with discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of that solution.
Administrative Case Study
An administrative thesis defines, describes, analyzes, and interprets an actual administrative, problem-solving activity undertaken during a student’s field work. A variety of standard case study formats may be employed. An administrative case study thesis should be planned in advance with appropriate techniques for systematic observation and recording of data as the project progresses. This thesis usually includes the following:
- Definition of the problem;
- Description of setting, structure, function, and relationships;
- Relationship of student to problem (authority and accountability);
- Procedural description (case description, process, outcome);
- Analysis of events with reference to theory;
- Assessment of the administrative solution.
Program Analysis, Evaluation, or Projection
This type of thesis examines either retrospectively or prospectively some particular health problem. This thesis should include the following:
- Definition of the problem that the program addresses;
- Statement of program goals and objectives;
- Specification of available data such as the following:
- Target population (characteristics, distribution, levels of protection, morbidity);
- Historical information, goals, politics;
- Resources and use of resources (acceptability, accessibility);
- Basis of intervention, data on knowledge, attitudes and practices;
- Cost analysis;
- Specification of further data needs.
This type of thesis incorporates a product useful in the teaching or practice of public health such as a curriculum, syllabus, or course for a school program or on-the-job training; specific educational aids (perhaps a computer-assisted learning experience, a programmed instruction course, or a training manual); a movie, videotape, or slide package; a pamphlet for use in health information; a set of formal administrative guidelines to implement a law or administrative decision; or architectural plans for a health facility.
In addition to the product, the student must produce a written analysis that includes the following:
- A rationale for the product and the anticipated audience/users;
- Review of relevant literature;
- Reasons for the selection of the chosen medium/method, including relevant theory;
- Proposal for method to evaluate the product;
- Discussion of the limitations of the product.
The special project may require review by the Committee on Academic Progress.