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The following is a brief overview of thesis options for Health Science Scholars, as well as examples of different types of theses. For details on the Capstone project and thesis, see the Honors Thesis section of the Handbook.

The crowning work of HSS is a Capstone project that typically begins in the third year and culminates in a thesis, writtein in the following year. The project can take one of two forms:

  • Option 1 involves lab research in your major area. If you're interested in a lab project outside your major, you'll pursue Option 2 (see below). You'll spend about 10 hours per week for at least two semesters, beginning in your junior year, in a lab. Also during your junior year, you'll attend a handful of workshops to help you get ready for your eventual deliverable, a research report of about 20 pages or more. Examples of Option 1 work include experiments on plants, animals, cells, enzymes, etc., virtual modeling in drug development, or any other lab work housed within your major.

  • Option 2 involves either a practicum / internship, or research in a lab outside your major. In the practicum or internship, you'll spend no fewer than 200 hours during your junior year—about 8 hours per week during two long semesters—or an equivalent time investment during a summer in an extended health- or service-related experience. Examples include volunteering with a community organization (usually a non-profit or state institution), completing an appropriate health-related medical mission trip abroad, hospital internships, or an extended (and thus unusual) shadowing experience. If you elect to do health-related research outside your major, you'll spend about 10 hours per week in a lab for at least two semesters, beginning in your junior year. Like Option 1 candidates, you'll attend several workshops in your junior year to help you get ready for your eventual deliverable, but unlike those in Option 1, your paper will be a thesis of about 35 pages. In the first semester of your last year, you'll take a 1-hour course to plan the culminating report, which you'll write in your final semester; and in your final semester, you'll take NSC 371, the Capstone seminar, which guides you through the writing process.   


Sample Theses

Health Science Scholars have completed hundreds of individual Capstone experiences, and their theses are as diverse as the students who wrote them. While one thesis may analyze the literature related to maternal and infant health in rural Latin America, another may introduce a new approach to helping Children of Alcoholics, and a third may report lab results on a virtual screening program for drugs to treat a neglected disease.

Although the program furnishes general thesis guidelines, Health Science Scholars and their faculty mentors ultimately agree on the scope, format, and style of a thesis that reflects the conventions of their discipline(s) in addition to meeting HSS program expectations.

We encourage all HSS students to join the scholarly conversation on their topic by submitting their work for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Students who pursue publication research appropriate journals, work with editors, and end up adapting and improving their work in the process. Below you will find links to a few examples of recent Health Science Scholars' theses.

Theses aimed at synthesizing and analyzing existing research (systematic literature review):

  • Farzam Farahani, “Using Psychosocial Therapy to Improve the Quality of Life of Patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1: A Review”
  • Imogen Clover-Brown, “Delivering Prenatal Care through Telemedicine in Rural Latin America: A Review”

Theses that report on original data collected outside the science lab context:

  • Emily Gao, “Factors Associated with Unmet Health Care Needs in Home Care Workers”
  • Parisa Fallah, “Barriers and Facilitators to Participation in International Surgical Teaching Collaborations”

Theses that report on original data collected in the science lab (departmental honors) context: