We acknowledge that the UBC Vancouver campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam).

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All MSc students are required to complete a thesis project. The thesis provides students with practical experience in the creation of original research. SPPH MSc theses cover a wide range of topics. Any research topic related to the health of human populations is suitable for and MSc thesis. An archive of past SPPH masters theses is available through UBC cIRcle.

There are no SPPH-specific policies regarding thesis length, citation style, or format. Appropriate length, style, or format decisions can be made by the supervisory committee as long as the overall thesis meets the standards set by the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Typically, an MSc thesis focuses on one main research question, which may or may not be closely linked to a faculty member’s research. Students do not need to collect original data. Many students use datasets from their supervisors or other sources (PopData BC, for example). Most projects require approval from the Office of Research Ethics at UBC. The School strongly encourages students to publish their research results in the peer-reviewed literature.

Supervisor & Committee

All MSc students must have a supervisor or two co-supervisors. The supervisor or at least one of the co-supervisors must be an Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of the School or an Associate Member Faculty of the School. Applicants are not required to have a supervisor before applying to the program, but they are encouraged to engage with potential supervisors. The supervisor’s or co-supervisors’s role is to guide and support a student throughout the course of their degree program. Supervisors provide experience, expertise, resources, and mentorship, and help develop a student’s academic, research, and leadership potential. Students may choose their supervisor. The program does not assign supervisors, but does assist students in finding the right supervisor based on their research interests.

In addition to a supervisor or co-supervisors, students also receive support from supervisory committee members. Supervisory committees must contain a minimum of three members, inclusive of supervisor or co-supervisors. Students work with supervisors to identify suitable committee members.

Thesis Presentations & Oral Exam

MSc students are not required to submit a thesis proposal to the MSc program, but they are encouraged to develop a proposal with their supervisor(s) and supervisory committee. A thesis proposal helps to develop and guide the thesis research. Students are not required to present a thesis proposal to the SPPH Thesis Screening Panel. Students are welcome to present if they would like to receive additional feedback and practice presentation skills.

The culmination of the thesis research is the Final Oral Exam (or thesis defense). At the Final Oral Exam, students present their research to a panel of examiners and respond to questions from the examiners. After passing the oral exam, students can finish their programs and graduate. For more information about the SPPH-specific MSc thesis defense policies and procedures, see the exam procedures guide and virtual exam protocol.

Current MSc students can find more detailed information on the MSc Canvas Site. Supervisors can find more information on the Supervision site (contact the program to request access).