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 the Bass Connections Initiative 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
Facilitators and Barriers to Naloxone Kit Usage Among Associates of Drug Users in North Carolina 2015
Early Life Migration’s Impact on Health Status in Later Life among Chinese Population 2015
Neurosurgical Outcomes at Mulago and Mbarara Hospitals, Implications for Task Shifting 2015
Assessment of Diabetes Point-of-Care Tests in the Peruvian Amazon 2015
Investigating Adoption Drivers and Evaluating Health Benefits of Clean Cooking Solutions in Cambodia 2015
A Comparison of the Social and Medical Support Systems and Health Outcomes for Families Coping with Sickle Cell Disease in Yaoundé, Cameroon & Cape Town, South Africa 2015
Neurosurgical Needs and Assets Assessment in Uganda: A Formative Evaluation of Mulago to Inform Neurosurgical Program Planning at Gulu and Mbarara 2015
Assessing Risk Factors for Severe Dengue: Asthma’s Relationship with the Severity of Dengue Virus Symptoms among Patients in Singapore 2015
Developing and Validating a Perinatal Depression-Screening Tool in Western Kenya 2015
Using In-Home Scanner Data to Analyze Beverage Purchasing Patterns of Chinese Urban Households 2015
The Cultural and Contextual Adaptation of a Caregiver-Mediated Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Early Intervention for Young Children in a Low-Resource South African Setting 2015
Knowledge, Attitudes, and Health Practices of Street Children in Cambodia 2015
The Influence of the Environment on the Skin Microbiome and Associated Vector-Borne Disease Susceptibility 2015
Family Planning in Rural Haiti: Modern Contraception Practices and Beliefs 2015
Determining the Decision to Seek Care After Injury in Maringa, Brazil 2015
The Use of Chemicals in Agriculture and Mosquito Response to Pyrethroids in Bungoma Sub-County, Western Kenya 2015
Describing Internalized and Enacted Stigma Experienced by Women Living with Fistula in Moshi, Tanzania 2015
Screening for Sexual Trauma and Mental Health Symptoms in HIV positive South African Women: Implementation, Feasibility and Acceptability 2015
Identifying Environmental Variables of Mosquito Breeding Sites in Webuye of Western Kenya using LANDSAT Imagery and GIS 2015
Exploration of how South Africa and Ghana arrive at the decision to incorporate the Uterine Balloon Tamponade (UBT) into their health systems 2015
Health determinants and underreporting patterns of intimate partner violence in Maringa, Brazil 2015
Neurosurgical Outcomes Following Establishment of a Twinning Program at Mulago Hospital in Uganda 2014
Musculoskeletal and Psychosocial Issues encountered by Sri Lankan Rubber Tappers 2014
An innovative model for detecting interspecies disease transmission and novel pathogen detection at Lola ya Bonobo Sanctuary, Democratic Republic of Congo 2014
Perceptions of Health Benefits: Improved Cookstoves in Rural India 2014
A Cultural Adaption of Dialectical Behavior in Rural Nepal 2014
The Role of Traditional Medicine in the Aetiology and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease in Moshi, Tanzania 2014
Exploring the potential link between Mitochondrial DNA damage and mercury exposure as a result of small scale and artisanal gold mining in Madre de Dios Peru 2014
Evaluating Access to Prehospital Care for Traumatic Brain Injury Patients in a Resource Limited Setting: Focus on Prehospital Transport 2014
Sak Vid Pa Kanpe: A Mixed-Methods Study of Breastfeeding Practices and Infant Growth Outcomes in Rural Haiti 2014
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Sexual Behaviors of Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM) in Northwestern China 2014
Factors influencing distribution of leishmaniasis disease and vectors in Madre de Dios, Peru 2014
Evaluating demand for improved water and sanitation technologies in Udaipur, India: a mixed methods approach 2014
Panel Study in Beijing: The Effects of Atmospheric Pollutants to Pre-diabetes Populations 2014
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Sepsis Management at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenya 2014
Psychosocial impacts of climate change on women farmers in Jumla district in mid-western Nepal 2014
Reminders, Refugees, and Ramadan: Characterizing Missed Immunization Appointments among Palestinian Refugees in Jordan 2014
Evaluation of transvaginal colposcopy as a screening device for cervical cancer among international physicians 2014
HIV Prevalence, Sexual Risk Behavior, and Mental Health Among Drug Users Seeking Addiction Treatment in Cape Town, South Africa 2014
Perceptions of health seeking and utilization of primary care following short-term medical outreach in Indigenous communities of Brazil: An experience with Expedicionários da Saúde 2014
Prevalence and risk factors of traffic crashes and near misses among adolescents aged 16-18 years old in Galle, Sri Lanka 2014
WeCount: Mapping Social Worker Workflows and Daily Needs of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Battambang, Cambodia. 2014
A Qualitative Study of Men's Engagement in HIV/AIDS Care in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa 2014
Assessment of the Burden of Surgical Disease in Uganda 2014
Economic Burden and Financial Protection for Households with Type 2 Diabetes Patients in Accra, Ghana 2014
Timeliness of Malaria Surveillance in a Malaria Elimination Setting 2014
Factors Motivating Emergency Department Attendance Among Patients with Non-Urgent Musculoskeletal Disorders: a Case Study in Qatar 2014
Understanding the Current Situation and Challenges in the Public Private Mix (PPM) of Human Resources for Health (HRH) in Selected Areas in Egypt 2014
The Effects of Male Outmigration on Maternal Depression in Rural Pakistan 2014
The cardiovascular impact of household air pollution in semi-urban and rural communities in Puno, Peru 2014