Thesis Prospectus

The major assignment during the fall semester is the submission of a prospectus to the thesis advisor.  The prospectus is designed to help ensure that a student and faculty advisor are explicit about the thesis topic, to promote continued progress during the fall semester, and to increase the likelihood of a final high-quality product.  Students are strongly encouraged to work on the thesis throughout the second year.  These prospectus guidelines, therefore, are a minimum requirement.  Furthermore, given your on-going work, we consider this prospectus more of a “progress report.”

A first draft of your prospectus is due to your thesis advisor no later than Monday, November 2 with the full prospectus due to your thesis advisor and the YSPH registrar on December 1. The prospectus should be completed using the following format. In addition, it is expected that students include proper citations and references when preparing the prospectus. More information regarding proper citing of sources can be found on the YSPH website.

Please note that the preferred thesis for students is one that is in the style and length of a publishable peer-reviewed paper.

Thesis Prospectus Format

Thesis Adviser (First Reader)
Second Reader

  1. Specific Aims & Hypotheses - Clear and succinct statement of the thesis objectives, including primary study hypothesis
  2. Background & Rationale - Brief overview of existing literature (3-5 paragraphs is sufficient for the prospectus).  Why is this project important? How is it different from existing research?
  3. Methods - Brief overview of the basic study methodology.  If conducting secondary analyses on an existing database, describe the methods of the original study (a-c) along with your plan for analyzing the data (d).
    1. Study Design (case/control, cohort, observational, cross-sectional, laboratory, other)
    2. Study Population  (who, how many, what information is available/to be collected for population members)
    3.  Sample size/Power Calculations (is sample size sufficient to address the PRIMARY study aim?)
    4. Data Analysis Plan and Software to be Used
  4. Competencies - Select three-five M.P.H. core and department specific competencies that you will master as part of this culminating experience (see links below). Briefly describe how this thesis will address these competencies.

MPH Core Competencies
Advanced Professional (APMPH) – Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Chronic Disease Epidemiology
Environmental Health Sciences
Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Social and Behavioral Sciences