Population and Health Sciences Capstone Projects

The Master of Public Health Applied Practice and Integrated Learning Experience (APEx and ILE)

As a student in the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s online Population and Health Sciences Master of Public Health (MPH) program, you will apply your knowledge in real-world settings while implementing the field’s common communication methods. Your second year includes two courses (PUBHLTH 680/681) dedicated to synthesizing the skills and competencies learned throughout the program in an integrative learning and applied practice experience.

Your applied practice experience is a real-world writing project that is all about contributing to the world of public health. You’ll work with real community organizations to create documents or products that meet their needs. Each course assignment will take you one step closer to the final products.

Organization Examples

  • Public Health Departments
  • Community Health Organizations
  • Charities and Nonprofits
  • Clinics or Labs ...and more

Applied Practice Experience Project Examples

  • Patient education materials
  • Infographics and visual aids
  • Brief training manuals
  • Brochures

Your integrated learning experience involves addressing a real-world applied health problem and representing your work in a professional communication format such as a program plan or research paper, synthesizing competencies you achieved throughout the program. You can expect to focus on one of five aims:

  • Analyzing population health of communities
  • Integrating public health and health care efforts for population health improvement
  • Recommending evidence-based interventions for population health improvement
  • Designing multi-sector collaborations for population health improvement
  • Evaluating changes in population health 

Your faculty will provide guidance as you research, analyze, evaluate, and create your integrative project and its written deliverable, your capstone. Your capstone will be in the format of a technical report, research paper, policy analysis, community needs assessment, community health improvement plan, or other professional format. 

The Master of Science Practical Research Project

Online Master of Science (MS) students in the Population and Health Sciences program  will conduct research utilizing publicly accessible data and communicate their results in written and oral forms that reflect the public health field’s research publication and presentation formats. Over the final two terms of their master’s curriculum, faculty will guide students through the phases of the research process: – a) literature review, b) creation of a research analysis plan, c) a description of research methodologies employed, d) analysis, presentation and interpretation of data, e) a comparison of findings to existing literature, and f) discussion of the implications of the research findings. Each component will be submitted and evaluated throughout the process. The final research product will be submitted in a research publication format abiding by a selected journal’s format.

Students will be mentored by faculty in areas related to their research throughout the project. Research mentorship will include two 90-minute Zoom sessions per week. Zoom sessions will be used for instruction, the review of Responsible Conduct of Research topics, student presentations of current progress, faculty feedback, guest speakers, peer feedback, invited faculty review panels, etc. In the research project courses, students will hear from a variety of our public health faculty as they participate in the online program’s research courses as guest reviewers, guest speakers, or content consultants. 

In addition to Zoom sessions, faculty mentoring of student written research products is central to the creation of high-quality research. During the semester, students will be required to submit first drafts of components of the written research project for comment. Rubrics for scientific writing will be provided for students ahead of time and faculty and Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) will help students refine their written products to achieve the level of a publishable research project by the end of the Winter term.