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Culminating Experience

ABOUT THE CULMINATING EXPERIENCE
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) requires that all professional degree programs "shall assure that each student demonstrate skills and integrations of knowledge through a culmination experience." The goal of the Master of Public Health Culminating Experience is to ensure the student's mastery of and ability to integrate the core public health principles and material learned in the Master of Public Health program as well as to determine if the student can apply this knowledge to issues that the student may confront as a professional. A student must demonstrate competency in all five core areas - biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy and management, environmental health science, and the social and behavioral sciences.
The student will have the choice between four alternative culminating experiences.
  • Research Thesis

If choosing the thesis option, The student will need to enroll in a minimum of six hours of  thesis (GSPH6000). A committee of at least 3 faculty will need to be formed. These faculty members should have research interests in common with the student, or should be willing to help the student with the chosen research topic. The student will complete a thesis proposal which will be reviewed by the committee and approved before the project begins.

Students selecting a systematic review or a policy analysis for their thesis should form a committee of at least 3 faculty with expertise in the area of interest. The faculty will guide the student through the research process.

Once the committee has signed off on the thesis, the student should schedule an oral presentation/thesis defense. All faculty and students will be invited to the presentation of the student's research. Students should arrange to have the time and date of the presentation finalized at least six weeks in advance, and the thesis defense announcement template submitted to the GSBS two weeks in advance. Students should refer to the GSBS Academic Calendar for deadlines and additional information.

  • Public Health Project

The purpose of the Culminating Project is to provide the student with a culminating experience where the student applies the knowledge and skills learned in the MPH program to conduct independent work ( under the supervision of the student's advisor) or a project related to a specific public health issue or problem. The final project illustrates the student's understanding of the chosen public health issue or problem as well as the students ability to actively apply this knowledge towards the solution of the issue or problem. Culminating Projects are generally very applied in nature and provide some sort of materials, guide, or plan that can be used immediately by the community, agency or group that is facing the public health issue or problem at hand.

The topic of the Culminating Project must be relevant to the field of public health. Project topics and scope are mutually agreed upon by the student and the student's project committee. If a student is conducting the project at their workplace, the topic of the project must be outside the framework of regular employment duties and responsibilities.

After selecting a project topic, the student will prepare a written proposal that details what is to be accomplished and how it will be completed. The written proposal must be approved by the student's project committee. The student's project committee should consist of two graduate faculty members from the Department of Public Health or other departments in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center if approved by the Chair of the Department.

More information concerning the Culminating Project can be found in the project handbook.

  • Comprehensive Examination

The goal of the Master of Public Health Comprehensive Examination is to test the student's mastery of and ability to integrate the core public health principles and material learned in the MPH program as well as to determine if the student can apply this knowledge to issues that the student may confront as a professional. A student must demonstrate competency in all five core areas - Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, Environmental Health Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The exam content consist of an essay on a public health issue to demonstrate a student's mastery of knowledge related to all core areas of public health. Students are given a case study outlining a public health problem and specific questions centered on the core areas of public health. Students' responses should demonstrate a sophisticated and thorough grasp of the concepts, background, and tools necessary to answer the questions.

  • Capstone Course

The goal of the Capstone Course will be to encourage students to reflect on the competencies they have acquired during their academic program using an evidence - based public health framework that integrates their knowledge gained through coursework and practicum experiences, allowing each student to understand both the overall public health problem - solving approach and the contributions of each discipline to that approach.

The Capstone Course will focus on a group project approach therefore, there must be a minimum of five (5) students that have selected the capstone course option in order for it to be offered. 

Students should submit their choice of culminating experience to their graduate advisor within two weeks of completing their practicum using the culminating experience choice form.

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