Capstone Research

The centerpiece of the Master of Science academic program is the capstone research project—an opportunity for students to focus on a particular area of interest and apply rigorous scholarship to active projects in global health. Students work closely with the program directors and academic advisors to develop a project that asks an important question in global health, and then research the question using the appropriate methodologies.

Students may conduct their projects either in the United States with an underserved population or out of the US with an international partner; faculty value both experiences equally and try to ensure maximum benefit to both the student and the host institution. Each student also has a capstone mentor who works with the program directors to oversee the field experience and help students achieve specific competencies. Field mentorship is an integral part of this experience.

Students plan their projects in the fall quarter, present a formal proposal (qualifying exam) in the winter quarter, and conduct field research in the spring and summer quarters. The project culminates in a written and oral presentation (comprehensive exam) at the end of the summer quarter. Students address their research questions by choosing among six methodologies (or mixed methods):

  • Quantitative Study
  • Qualitative Study
  • Policy Analysis
  • Systematic Review/ Meta-analysis
  • Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

The capstone project allows students to learn the methods of scientific inquiry and develop their global health portfolio, which often leads to future publication.


See where our master's students have conducted their capstone research projects.