MPH Culminating Project

  • Each student must undertake a final demonstration of competence.
  • Depending upon the student's specialization and preferences, this may be accomplished through a variety of project options or a master's thesis.
  • The culminating experience is intended to provide the opportunity for students to address a public health question or issue of their interest that draws from their academic experience. It provides students with the opportunity to apply, integrate, and synthesize knowledge and experience obtained during their academic course of study to a question or problem of public health relevance. In some cases the culminating project idea or opportunity may evolve from the student’s practice placement experience.

    Projects that involve human subjects must adhere to policies and procedures of the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) (

  • The culminating project (CP) is completed near the end of the program so that students have the advantage of drawing on and synthesizing their academic experience. However, it is never too early to start thinking about potential projects. (See the Culminating Project Timeline below)

The critical steps in the process of a successful culminating project include the following:

Be thinking about possible projects and appropriate faculty to work with to complete your culminating project. Your academic advisor should be a primary resource for this purpose but you may also rely on other faculty within the Division or Program, College, or University. College and Division seminars are also useful in generating possible ideas for culminating projects. To get a sense for what a culminating project might look like, you may want to review projects from previous years available by emailing OAPSS. The idea stage for preparing your culminating project should occur within the first two semesters of your MPH academic program.

Students may choose to complete a group culminating project. All students completing a MPH group culminating project must follow the guidelines that are established for the College of Public Health. The following guidelines specifically address additional guidelines that must be followed for any group MPH culminating projects completed by graduate students in the College of Public Health. Group projects involve collaboration and careful attention to academic honesty must be applied to group work.

Group Culminating Project Guidelines

This likely will be your academic advisor; however if there is a more appropriate faculty member to serve as advisor for your CP, you should formally move to change advisors (form available in the CPH Graduate Student Handbook). The advisor does need to be a College of Public Health faculty member from your division/program. Consult with your advisor and identify a faculty member from within your division/program who has a research interest aligned with your CP interests.

If required by your Division/Program, complete the Culminating Project Proposal Approval Form. Include an outline of your proposal that includes a draft title, the public health question that will be addressed, and the methods that will be used for addressing the question. This proposal does not have to be the final title of your project, however the purpose is for your committee to ensure your proposal is satisfactory. Include some discussion of challenges you may expect and how you will address those challenges.

Consult with your advisor to identify a second faculty member from within the university who will serve as the second reader for your CP. Both faculty members must have category M or P Graduate Faculty status at Ohio State. Additionally, at least one committee member must have primary faculty appointment in the College of Public Health; a primary appointment is defined as receiving over 50% of salary from the College of Public Health. The second committee member is chosen with the agreement of the student and the faculty advisor. Any exceptions must be approved by the Division Chair/Program Director and the GSC Chair. MPH programs and specializations may be more restrictive regarding committee membership, such as requiring that both faculty members must have a primary appointment in the College of Public Health. For Veterinary Public Health students, a third committee member must be selected.

Keep your committee, and especially your advisor, informed about your progress, and do not hesitate to ask for feedback or help as you progress.

2020-2021 CPH Culminating Project Timeline for all Divisions/Programs

Division/Program specific Culminating Project Guidelines for students:

Biomedical Informatics
Clinical Translational Science
Environmental Health Sciences
Health Behavior and Health Promotion
Veterinary Public Health
MPH Program for Experienced Professionals (PEP)

2019-2020 Culminating Project Guidelines for all programs for students admitted to an MPH program for Summer 2019 or Autumn 2019

2018-2019 Culminating Project Guidelines for all programs for students admitted to an MPH program for Summer 2018 or Autumn 2018