The internship is a supervised experience in either a professional or research setting that’s relevant to population health. Internships may be a specific project that includes formal consulting with an organization whose work is relevant to population health sciences, or a student-led research project. The internship experience will be structured throughout year 2 of the program.
Professional experience: Students with interest in work outside a research setting may choose to complete the internship at an organization external to Duke, such as a nonprofit community organization or a health-related company.
Research experience: For students with research career goals or intentions of entering a PhD program, the internship may be part of a DPHS faculty mentored research project, and may include primary data collection and/or data analysis.
Thesis or Master's Paper
All students will complete either a master’s paper or a thesis, based on their internship work.
Students should choose between the thesis or paper in consultation with their mentors. There are no differences in the degree received whether the student chooses a master’s paper or a thesis
A master’s paper represents a “non-thesis option” for the MS in Population Health Sciences, and should reflect the internship project. The master’s paper has great flexibility in the structure of the final document. Examples of a master’s paper include, but are not limited to: research manuscript suitable for publication, analysis of a program implemented during the internship, or policy recommendations based on work during the internship.
In contrast, a thesis is a distinct research project that should represent a unique contribution to science. The structure of a thesis follows specific Graduate School rules.
All theses and papers include the following:
- Identification of an important population health problem
- Development of a research plan, evaluation approach, or implementation strategy to address the problem
- Analysis of the importance of the findings in the context of population health
- Presentation of findings
All students in the MS program are paired with a faculty mentor from the very beginning of the program. Through regular 1-on-1 meetings, mentors provide support and guidance as students develop education goals and career plans, along with helping them identify research experiences and capstone projects.