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.
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
Student Bloggers Share their Field Experience
Insights from current students, alumni and faculty about their work and experiences from the classroom and the field.