Culminating Project

Formerly Integrative Project
Sharyl Evans, an MPH student in community health and health behavior, presenting her poster at Perry Poster Day.

Sharyl Evans, an MPH student in community health and health behavior, presenting her poster at Perry Poster Day.

For your Culminating Project, you will incorporate what you have learned from the program coursework and your field training into a paper and presentation that address a specific public health issue.

An essential aspect of the project will be integrating the five core public health disciplines—biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, community health and health behavior, and health services administration—into your topic.

Through your Culminating Project, you will: 

  • Research and achieve expertise in a particular public heath topic
  • Apply and expand upon what you have learned throughout the MPH program by  incorporating the five core public health disciplines into your topic

Competencies Addressed by the Culminating Project

At the end of your project, you will be able to demonstrate various competencies. Learn more about the competencies addressed by the Culminating Project.

Preparation Types Registration Requirements

You should spend a minimum of 135 to 175 hours on your project. Maintaining a time log may be helpful. Although the project is primarily completed during your last semester, you are advised to begin preparing earlier. 

Items to Complete

Follow this schedule in the semester in which you are registered for the Culminating Project.  

Week 1 - Meet with your Advisor

Discuss your project topic, project type, foundational and concentration-specific competencies to address, guidelines and due dates with your advisor.

By Week 4 - Submit Overview Document

The first document you will develop is an overview. Include:

  • Project title
  • Statement of objectives/research questions
  • Goal of the project 

By Week 12 - Submit Full Draft of Paper

Prepare a first draft of your project paper and work with your faculty advisor to revise as needed.

Preparing Your Culminating Project Paper

You should prepare your paper in a formal, professional manner. This means it should:

  • Be written concisely
  • Be organized in a logical manner
  • Be internally consistent
  • Have properly designed and labeled tables and figures
  • Include a title page

Some additional tips:

  • Rely foremost on peer-reviewed journal articles for substantive information. Do not rely heavily on websites; reliability and validity of the content cannot often be verified.
  • Sentences in a paragraph should be related to each other; don’t mix topics in the same paragraph.
  • Avoid editorializing, misspellings, grammatical errors, misaligned paragraphs, variation in format (as, for example, in references), errors in order of numbers, running-on paragraphs, misuse of words, numerical errors, abbreviations, colloquialisms and use of the first person singular or plural (i.e., “I,” “we” and “us”) or the second person singular (“you”).
  • Tables and figures used in papers should not be “cut and pasted” from copyrighted sources. Tables and figures should be consistent in format and in numerical order throughout the paper. Tables and figures should cite the source from which the information was obtained.
  • Incorporate copyrighted materials only if you obtain permission from the copyright holder (for example, a figure from a copyrighted journal), and include the letter/form from the copyrighted holder giving you permission to use the material.
  • Do not use “etc.” Instead, list each example.
  • Be aware of the difference between “i.e.” (meaning that is) and “e.g.” (meaning for example).
  • Before using an acronym, list the full series of words or terms to which the acronym refers along with the acronym itself in parentheses.
Important Reminder

Be sure to address the core public health disciplines - biostatistics, community health and health behavior, environmental health, epidemiology and health services administration, as well as foundational and concentration competencies you identified with your faculty advisor. 

By Week 14 - Submit Final Paper

For the final draft, submit a paper of at least 25 pages (excluding title page, executive summary/abstract page, references and tables) in 12-point type, double-spaced with one-inch margins. Your paper should include at least 30 references. Provide a copy to your faculty advisor, program director and graduate coordinator.

By Last Friday of Classes - Oral Presentation

Conduct a brief presentation that will last approximately 15 minutes with five minutes devoted to questions.

Oral Presentation Options by Concentration

Biostatistics

  • Standard oral presentations are held at the end of the semester for each student IP.  
  • Please submit your presentation and paper to your faculty advisor.

Community Health and Health Behavior

Standard Presentation or Perry Poster

  • Students completing their IP in the Spring Semester can do a standard 15 minute oral presentation, or they can elect to present a poster at the School’s Perry Poster Day instead of the oral presentation. The poster day is typically held in April.

Note: the department will print your poster for free but it is due to Barbara Sen no later than 2 weeks before the poster day.  Also, your IP does not need to be data driven for presentation at Perry Poster Day.

Conference Presentation or Poster

  • Presentations or posters delivered at a national conference may also qualify as your IP oral presentation with faculty advisor and program director approval. Please discuss with your advisor before considering a conference presentation. 

IP Poster Guidelines

  • Discuss sections for your poster and type of information to include with your MPH faculty advisor.
  • UB Communications encourages use of the UB poster print templates. The most common size students use is horizontal 48” wide x 36” tall. The template provides suggested poster style, color, and fonts to use, as well as formatting for references.
  • Poster boards that students typically affix their posters to during Perry Poster Day are 4’ tall x 6’ wide. Students printing their posters can print any size, but the poster should fit within the dimensions of the poster board.

Environmental Health

  • Standard oral presentations are held at the end of the semester for each student IP.  
  • Please submit your presentation and paper to your faculty advisor. Also email a digital copy of both to Karen DeGarmo for the department to keep on file.

Epidemiology

  • Standard oral presentations are held at the end of the semester for each student IP.  
  • Please submit your presentation and paper to your faculty advisor. Also email a digital copy of both to Karen DeGarmo for the department to keep on file.

Health Services Administration

Standard Presentation or Perry Poster

  • Students completing their IP in the Spring Semester can do a standard 15 minute oral presentation, or they can elect to present a poster at the School’s Perry Poster Day instead of the oral presentation. The poster day is typically held in April.
  • Please submit your presentation or poster, along with your paper to your faculty advisor. Also email a digital copy of both to Karen DeGarmo for the department to keep on file.

IP Poster Guidelines

  • Discuss sections for your poster and type of information to include with your MPH faculty advisor.
  • UB Communications encourages use of the UB poster print templates. The most common size students use is horizontal 48” wide x 36” tall. The template provides suggested poster style, color, and fonts to use, as well as formatting for references.
  • Poster boards that students typically affix their posters to during Perry Poster Day are 4’ tall x 6’ wide. Students printing their posters can print any size, but the poster should fit within the dimensions of the poster board.

Individualized MPH

Standard Presentation or Perry Poster

  • Students completing their IP in the Spring Semester can do a standard 15 minute oral presentation, or they can elect to present a poster at the School’s Perry Poster Day instead of the oral presentation. The poster day is typically held in April.

Note: the department will print your poster for free but it is due to Barbara Sen no later than 2 weeks before the poster day.  Also, your IP does not need to be data driven for presentation at Perry Poster Day.

Conference Presentation or Poster

  • Presentations or posters delivered at a national conference may also qualify as your IP oral presentation with faculty advisor and program director approval. Please discuss with your advisor before considering a conference presentation.

IP Poster Guidelines

  • Discuss sections for your poster and type of information to include with your MPH faculty advisor.
  • UB Communications encourages use of the UB poster print templates. The most common size students use is horizontal 48” wide x 36” tall. The template provides suggested poster style, color, and fonts to use, as well as formatting for references.
  • Poster boards that students typically affix their posters to during Perry Poster Day are 4’ tall x 6’ wide. Students printing their posters can print any size, but the poster should fit within the dimensions of the poster board.

Online Individualized MPH

Conference Presentation or Poster Off-campus

  • Students can complete their oral presentation at a conference or other off-campus venue approved by their faculty advisor.

Standard Presentation or Perry Poster On-campus

  • Students completing their IP in the Spring semester can do a standard 15 minute oral presentation, or they can elect to present a poster at the School’s Perry Poster Day instead of the oral presentation. The poster day is typically held in April.

IP Poster Guidelines

  • Discuss sections for your poster and type of information to include with your MPH faculty advisor.
  • UB Communications encourages use of the UB poster print templates. The most common size students use is horizontal 48” wide x 36” tall. The template provides suggested poster style, color, and fonts to use, as well as formatting for references.
  • Poster boards that students typically affix their posters to during Perry Poster Day are 4’ tall x 6’ wide. Students printing their posters can print any size, but the poster should fit within the dimensions of the poster board.

Note: the department will print your poster for free but it is due to Barbara Sen no later than 2 weeks before the poster day. Also, your IP does not need to be data driven for presentation at Perry Poster Day.

Online Presentation

  • Students completing their IP can do a 15 minute oral presentation remotely in the Fall or Spring semester.

Grading

Your faculty advisor will review your overall Culminating Project, complete the Culminating Project Assessment Form, and assign a grade of satisfactory (S) or unsatisfactory (U).

Papers will be graded on content, the quality of that information and on general criteria, including:

  • Integration of the five core public health disciplines
  • Demonstration of the foundational and concentration-specific competencies identified in consultation with your advisor
  • Internal consistency/logic of material presented
  • Absence of factual or other errors
  • Organization
  • Quality of writing (including grammar, syntax, spelling, etc.)
  • Professional appearance

Review the project type rubrics on the Types tab for additional grading details.

Your presentation will be graded on:

  • Visual organization
  • Analysis/coherence
  • Originality
  • Delivery

Culminating Project Resources

To begin your Culminating Project research, review these online resources for statistical data, basic epidemiologic information about health problems and public health intervention assessments. 

Publish Your Work

Publish work from your MPH field training experience or Culminating Project through the Journal of Public Health Student Capstones (JPHSC).

The JPHSC is a quarterly journal seeking abstracts from MPH students highlighting experiential learning activities. It provides an opportunity to share your achievements with professionals, educators and your peers in public health.

Qualifying submissions can be data analyses, research proposals, program evaluations, historical or literature reviews on public health topics, or original research.

Learn more about the abstract guidelines, and talk with your faculty advisor about submitting your work through this scholarly journal.