Your thesis/capstone committee must be comprised of a Chair and at least one additional member. The chairperson for a thesis/capstone committee must hold primary appointment in the School of Public Health, and for thesis committees specifically, the chairperson must be recognized as graduate faculty. Contact the Graduate Advisor if you are not sure whether a faculty member has these two designations.
You and your committee chair will select at least one other committee member. This person should have appropriate academic preparation and experience relative to your thesis/capstone topic to help guide you through the process. He/she does not need to be a faculty member in the School of Public Health. Practitioners and faculty from other institutions in the field of public health and outside of SPH are strongly recommended.
The Graduate Advisor and the student’s Division Director must approve the composition of the thesis committee by signing off on the Thesis/Capstone Application before you will be able to register for thesis credit.
To see examples of previous thesis/capstone topics, visit http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/iph_theses/.
Generally speaking, for the thesis option, a student develops a research question, for which they develop a hypothesis based on previous research on the topic. The student then gathers data (either through primary or secondary data collection) and analyzes the data, usually with statistical analysis software, such as SAS or SPSS. The findings are then discussed as to whether or not they support the hypothesis. The thesis is designed to add new information to an existing body of research, so the student should seek out a topic or methodology that has not previously been explored. Additionally, the thesis is designed to be generalizable to a larger population, rather than just the sample used in the student’s data analysis, so an adequate sample size is also paramount.
A capstone project is typically very applied in nature. A capstone may or may not utilize systematic data analysis. There is usually an end-product that provides some sort of materials, guide, plan, or evaluation that can be used by the community, agency or group facing the issue or problem at hand. The length of the capstone can vary depending on the subject matter and methodology and should be discussed in consultation with the chair and committee.
Examples of formats or designs for the capstone project are listed below:
specific objectives of the proposal, review of literature, study design, methods of analysis, and
implications of the work. The research question should be one that is encountered in professional
work such as the evaluation of a public health intervention.
collect, analyze and interpret data. The capstone components must include a proposed research
question, project design and methods of data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and
implication of findings.
population or community of interest.
program. Management, fiscal, and ethical factors must be addressed. Students will develop
instructions, procedures and manuals for the program.
You will receive an e-mail via your GSU student account when your application has been approved and you have been given permission to register. You must register for a minimum of 3 hours of thesis/capstone credit (PH7990 or PH7991).
Once the room reservation has been confirmed, complete the Thesis/Capstone Defense Announcement form and submit to the Office of Academic Assistance at least one week before your defense date.
On the day of your defense, print out a Results of Thesis/Capstone Defense form. Your committee will need to complete and sign this form, and your chairperson should report the results to the Office of Academic Assistance immediately following the final thesis defense.
To upload your thesis/capstone, visit http://scholarworks.gsu.edu. On the right toolbar, under the “Authors” heading, click on “Submit EDT (Thesis/Dissertation)” and follow the instructions on the next page for the School of Public Health.
The electronic version of the thesis/capstone should be submitted in a single Adobe Acrobat PDF File, in conformity with library guidelines.