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
Carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae among children in Sri Lanka. 2019
Ghana's transition away from donor aid for HIV: effects on vulnerable populations 2019
To build and evaluate the feasibility of a prognostic model for TBI patients in Uganda and Tanzania 2019
The Effects of Landcover on Anopheles Population Dynamics in Ann Township. Rakhine State, Myanmar 2019
Integrating HIV self-testing into adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health care: assessing the feasibility and acceptability of HIV self-testing in adolescents in Zimbabwe 2019
Adapting Novel Molecular Diagnostic Methods for detection of Plasmodium knowlesi in Sarawak, Malaysia 2019
The Epidemiology, Risk Profiles, and Outcomes of Patients Infected with Carbapenem-Resistant Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections 2019
Usability, Feasibility, and Acceptability Testing of an Integrated Digital Platform for Use During Cervical Cancer Screening in Western Kenya 2019
Development and validation of a nutrition screening tool for pediatric cancer patients in Uganda and Tanzania 2019
Disparities in HFpEF patient enrollment in Duke clinical trials and databases. 2019
Expanding access to depression treatment in Kenya through automated psychological support 2019
Analyzing blood vitamin levels of pregnant women exposed to air pollution in Beijing, China 2019
The barriers and facilitators for the implementation of a nutrition supplement for pediatric oncology patients in Tanzania: A mixed methods analysis 2019
How are health policy makers managing donor exits: a policy analysis of Ghana´s transition from the United States President´s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) 2019
Male Perspectives on their Involvement with Exclusive Breastfeeding in Nairobi, Kenya: A Qualitative Study 2019
Association between chronic pain and utilization of rehabilitation services post-injury and hospital discharge in Moshi, Tanzania 2019
Economic Analysis of Universal Health Coverage in Surgical Care for Children 2019
A Traumatic Brain Injury Prognostic Model to Predict Patient Survival in LMICs 2019
Knowledge, attitudes, practices about cervical cancer screening procedures in women of reproductive age in Lima, Peru. 2019
Relationship quality and early stimulation during pregnancy in Ghana 2019
The Health Effects of Galamsey Mining on Households in Amansie West, Ghana 2019
Assessing Alternatives to Institutional Care for Orphans and Separated Children in Urban India: A Qualitative Case Study 2019
HIV stigma among men in Tanzania: A mixed method study 2019