Field Research

Field research gives Master of Science in Global Health students the opportunity to take classroom experiences and use them in a real-world setting. You are required to complete a minimum of 10 weeks of field research, and each project is mentored by a Duke faculty member. Projects vary year to year, but fall under four general models:

  • Faculty research projects - Students join a faculty research project and thesis research will focus on an individual question within the overall project activities and goals. The fieldwork activities may support research beyond an individual question. 
  • Group projects  - DGHI has a number of international research collaborations that may offer opportunities to small groups of Duke MSc-GH students.  Students will be together at a site, but working on individual projects, allowing for greater collaboration on logistics and support.  
  • Team-based models - DGHI faculty lead a number of team-based projects through our research collaborations and the Bass Connections initiative. MSc-GH students can work with vertically integrated teams or across Duke, completing required individual thesis research within a team structure.
  • Data analysis and contextual fieldwork - In some cases, fieldwork activities will complement data already collected by others or enhance research activities. In that case, the thesis will focus on secondary analysis of existing data, with the field experience offering a contextual understanding of the topic or project environment.
The fieldwork component of the Master of Science in Global Health program was the most significant reason why I chose to come to DGHI. Tendai Kwaramba


To date, students have completed innovative field research in more than 20 countries around the world.


Finding Your Opportunity

Research opportunities are shared throughout your first semester in the program:

  • Research Assistant Opportunities for 1st Year students: Posted internally at the beginning of each academic year.
  • The MSc-GH Sakai Site: Opportunities posted on this internal site once confirmed.
  • Group information sessions: Small group sessions for specific opportunities will be arranged in September and October to share more in-depth information about specific research sites, new projects or opportunities.
  • Meetings with MSc-GH program staff: Students have dedicated program staff available to meet and discuss research interests, academic goals, and long-term plans as they relate to the fieldwork and thesis process. 
  • Bass Connections website: This central listing of all available projects for Bass Connections is updated throughout the year with opportunities available across all five of the BC themes. 

Fieldwork and Research Timeline

Most MSc-GH students complete their 10-week field research during the summer between the first and second year in the program.

Key research milestones include:

  • August – New student orientation
  • August/September: Research Assistant positions matching
  • September/October – Ongoing informational and advising meetings
  • November – Project and mentor selection finalized
  • January – Draft research proposals due
  • March – Final research proposals and grant paperwork due
  • May/June – Field research begins
  • August – Students return to campus for the second year

Preparatory workshops are held every few weeks from December through April, focusing on a variety of topics related to the thesis and field research process. In the first years of our program, students have worked in over 20 countries around the world to pursue field-based research projects. A list of representative projects is listed below, though new opportunities develop each year. To learn more about student experiences in the field, check out the Inside the MSc-GH blog.


Field Research Experience Highlights

All Experiential Learning Videos


Student Bloggers Share their Field Experience

Insights from current students, alumni and faculty about their work and experiences from the classroom and the field.

View Diaries from the Field blog posts View Inside the MSc-GH blog posts


Project Examples

Project Title Topics Country Yearsort ascending
Detecting and Genotyping Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Parainfluenza Viruses: A Cross-Sectional Study in the Etiology of Pneumonia Among Hospitalized Patients in Sarawak, Malaysia 2017-05-15 12:00:35
Traditional Homebirths, Midwifery Practices, and Prenatal Care Seeking Behaviors Among Indigenous Women: A Qualitative study 2017-05-15 12:00:35
Survey Study of Resource Needs, Availability and Use Amongst Children with Down Syndrome and their Caregivers in Galle, Sri Lanka 2017-05-15 12:00:35
Are Norovirus Infections Associated with Exposure to Animals in Sarawak, Malaysia? 2017-05-15 12:00:35
Forced Migration and Family Planning: A Comparative Analysis in Jordan 2017-05-15 12:00:35
A Cross-Sectional Study Describing Prehospital Transportation & Care of Externally-caused, Acute Injuries in Galle, Sri Lanka 2017-05-15 12:00:35
Disease Knowledge and Readiness for Transition in Adolescents with Sickle Cell Disease in Jamaica and the United States (North Carolina): A Comparative Study 2017-05-15 12:00:34
Nasal Carriage of Viral Pathogens in Malaysian Swine Workers: A One Health Pilot Study 2017-05-15 12:00:34