Graduate Student Handbook

6.4 Requirements for a Thesis or a Non-Thesis Option

Each student is encouraged to develop individual areas of expertise. This skill and knowledge development may be achieved by research leading to a thesis or through the non-thesis option.  MHA students rarely choose the thesis option since the majority of MHA student intend to go directly into professional practice.  Students who choose the non-thesis option will use more elective time in additional courses rather than for research credit.

The thesis option provides both a synthesizing opportunity for the student and a culminating project that tests the student’s ability to apply the knowledge and skills presented in the program. Details concerning Graduate School policies regarding the thesis, including format, typing, deadlines, etc., are available online. In general, a thesis requires:

  • Identification of a topic area and an advisor willing to guide the preparation of the thesis;
  • Formation of an examining committee comprised of at least two CPH faculty members, including the advisor. Both committee members  must have M or P Graduate Faculty Status, the faculty advisor must have Graduate Faculty Status in the College of Public Health, and at least one committee member must have a primary appointment in the College;
  • Where appropriate, selection of a third member of the examining committee, who may be from outside the CPH;
  • Written and oral presentation of the thesis prospectus;
  • Satisfactory defense of the thesis before the examining committee, and
  • Deposit of an approved (advisor-signed) copy of the full thesis and abstract in the program office and by electronic submission to the Graduate School.