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MPH Capstone Schedule

MPH Capstone Schedule

Key Dates and Deadlines

Timeline for online presentations, May 9-11, 2022

Complete 260.720: Communications Primer for the Public Health Sciences * No later than Term 3
Submit online Capstone Information Form By November 19, 2021
Submit final outline to capstone advisor  By February 4, 2022
Register for capstone course for Term 4 By March 25, 2022
Submit first draft of project to capstone advisor By March 18, 2022
Submit final draft of project to capstone advisor By April 15, 2022
Upload only the capstone advisor approved final paper to drop box. Unapproved papers will not be accepted. By May 2, 2022
Give oral presentation May 9-11, 2022

*This course is only required for students who matriculated in June 2019 and after.

Timeline for Full-time presentations at May Capstone Symposium, May 14, 2022

Complete 260.720: Communications Primer for the Public Health Sciences (This is only applicable to students who matriculated in June 2019 and later) No later than 3rd Term
Submit Capstone Information Form By November 19, 2021
Submit final capstone outline to capstone advisor By February 4, 2022
Submit first draft of project to capstone advisor By March 18, 2022
Register for capstone course for 4th Term  By March 18, 2022
Submit final draft of project to capstone advisor  By April 15, 2022
Upload only the capstone advisor approved final paper and slides to drop box.  Unapproved papers will not be accepted. By May 2, 2022
Give oral presentation  Saturday, May 14, 2022

(Tentative) Timeline for online presentations, August 1-3, 2022 session 

Complete 260.720 Communications Primer for the Public Health Sciences * No later than Term 4
Submit online Capstone Information Form By Mon., April 18, 2022
Submit final outline to capstone  advisor By Mon., May 16, 2022
Submit first draft of project to capstone advisor By Mon., June 27, 2022
Register for capstone course for Summer Term By Fri., July 1, 2022
Submit final draft of project to capstone advisor By Mon., July 11, 2022
Upload only the capstone advisor approved final paper to drop box.  Unapproved papers will not be accepted. By Mon., July 25, 2022
Give oral presentation On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug 1, 2 and 3, 2022

*This course is only required for students who matriculated in June 2019 and after.

Timeline for online presentations, December 5-7, 2022 sessions 

Complete 260.720: Communications Primer for the Public Health Sciences * No later than Term 1
Submit Capstone Information Form By Mon., August 22, 2022
Submit final capstone outline to capstone advisor By Mon., September 12, 2022
Submit first draft of project to capstone advisor By Mon., October 10, 2022
Register for capstone course for 2nd Term By Fri., October 21, 2022
Submit final draft of project to capstone advisor By Fri., November 4, 2022
Upload only the capstone advisor approved final paper to drop box.  Unapproved papers will not be accepted. By Mon., November 21, 2022
Give online presentation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec 5, 6 and 7, 2022

*This course is only required for students who matriculated in June 2019 and after.

Timeline for presentation at alternate venue

Students presenting at an alternate venue must adhere to the schedules above, as per the time of year in which the project is completed. Deadlines for completion of the oral presentation are August online, December online, or the May symposium date, depending on the period in which the student is graduating. 

Step 1: Identify a capstone advisor, project, and format

You should start by identifying a faculty member whose research interests and expertise are in the topic area and/or methodology that you wish to pursue, and is available to advise the project. Your faculty advisor may serve as your capstone advisor, or they may have an initial discussion with you and then refer you to other faculty members. Another helpful strategy is to inquire with several faculty members about any current work of theirs that may lend itself to a potential capstone project. Other resources for identifying a potential capstone advisor are the MPH Program Office, the faculty directory (searchable by keyword) and Collexis.

A capstone project is suitable if it provides students the opportunity to apply the skills and competencies acquired in the MPH program to a problem likely encountered in public health practice and research. The topic and format of the capstone project is flexible and is developed through discussions between the student and capstone advisor. Possible options for format or design include:

Literature Review

The capstone project would involve analyzing an important public health problem through a survey of current literature on the topic. The project would include sections that clearly describe the problem, assess the problem and its magnitude, evaluate its causes and determinants, and discuss prevention and intervention strategies.

Example Project:

Program Plan

The capstone project would involve developing a plan to implement a public health program. It would address critical issues such as management, fiscal, ethical and logistical issues.

Example Projects:

Program Evaluation

The capstone project would involve evaluating/monitoring an existing public health program, such as process evaluation, monitoring of outputs and outcomes, impact assessment and/or cost analysis.

Example Projects:

Policy Analysis

The capstone project would involve analyzing the public health implications of a current or proposed policy. The work could include perspectives on economics and financing, need and demand, politics/ethics/law, or quality/effectiveness.

Example Project:

Research Proposal

The capstone project would simulate a grant proposal or research plan. The project would include a clear statement of the research question, the specific aims of the proposal, review of literature, study design, methods of analysis, implications and significance of the work. The research question would be one that is encountered in professional work, such as the evaluation of a public health intervention.

Example Projects:

Research Report

The capstone project could involve the collection, analysis and/or interpretation of data to address a public health problem. The project could include sections on the research question, study design, data collection procedures, data analysis, interpretation and significance of findings.

  • Secondary Data Analysis:Typically, the capstone research report is in the form of a secondary data analysis, using an existing data set. Please note that the appropriate IRB approval may need to be obtained for any project that uses data gathered from human subjects. Even in cases where the data is de-identified, a determination should be sought from the IRB office.

  • Primary Data Analysis: Work for the MPH capstone can also involve the collection of data. Data collection for capstone is usually in the context of an ongoing study, but it is also possible (although not recommended) for MPH students to initiate an original study under the guidance of a Johns Hopkins faculty member. In the latter case, the student should allow substantial lead time for research planning and IRB approval.

Example Quantitative Research Reports:

Example Qualitative Data Research Reports:

Example Systematic Review and Methods Development:

Using a Course Project

Students may use their work from any project-oriented course as a basis for their capstone, but they must build and expand on it for the final capstone project. That previous work must be placed in the list of references, and the advisor will need a copy of the student's original paper.

Step 2: Determine if the project involves human subjects research

The Bloomberg School IRB Office is charged with assuring that human subject research studies conducted in the school comply with internal school policies and external regulations designed to protect human subjects. All students who plan to do human subjects research must have IRB approval before working with human data or samples and/or before contacting human subjects.

"Human subjects research" is broadly defined to include any activity involving living humans that seeks to test a hypothesis or answer a scientific question. This can include both secondary data analysis and research involving direct contact with subjects. The following resources are available to assist students with their IRB questions:

  • Navigating the IRB : A Primer for Students and Postdoctoral Fellows. This is your first step in learning more about the IRB process. This IRB Office publication is designed to provide additional information about the IRB process.  
  • To determine if your project involves data from human subjects, you should complete the online IRB Worksheet.  This worksheet will indicate any additional requirements to properly document IRB approval of your project.
  • If a student is listed as a researcher on an ongoing, IRB-approved study at an external institution (other than JHU), the student must submit the following to the JHSPH IRB Office at
  • Additional assistance is available from Thomas Bradsher at the IRB Office ( The IRB office is located in room E1100. Please make sure that you've completed the IRB Worksheet before you contact the IRB Office.

If the IRB Office determines that you must submit a PHIRST application, you must do so by the date that your MPH Capstone Information Form is due. The IRB submission deadline for field experiences taking place during the Winter break and requiring IRB approval is November 15th.

Step 3: Submit the online MPH Capstone Information Form

Submit the online Capstone Information Form two terms prior to completion of the project. You will need to indicate such information as the name of your capstone advisor, a working title and the aims of your project, IRB status if applicable, etc.

Step 4: Register for the two-credit MPH Capstone Course

Students must register for the two-credit "MPH Capstone" course number in the term in which the project is completed and presented. Full-time students must register for this course in 4th Term. Part-time/online students must register for this course in Term 4 for a May graduation; Summer Term for an August graduation; or Term 2 for a December graduation.

Students who are doing a large amount of preliminary research for a project may want to register for additional "Special Studies/Research" units. You should consult with your capstone advisor prior to registering. When registering, you should select the capstone advisor as the "instructor" and select the number of academic units that you and your capstone advisor have agreed is appropriate for the research.

MPH Capstone Course Numbers

Capstone Advisor's Department Capstone Course Number
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology PH.120.800
Biostatistics PH.140.800
Environmental Health PH.186.800
Epidemiology PH.340.800
Health, Behavior & Society PH.410.800
Health Policy & Management PH.300.840
International Health PH.220.800
Mental Health PH.330.800
Molecular Microbiology & Immunology PH.260.800
Population, Family & Reproductive Health PH.380.800

Special Studies/Research Course Numbers

Capstone Advisor's Department SS/R Course Number
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology PH.120.840
Biostatistics PH.140.840
Environmental Health PH.188.840
Epidemiology PH.340.840
Health, Behavior & Society PH.410.840
Health Policy & Management PH.300.840
International Health, Health Systems PH.221.840
International Health, Human Nutrition PH.222.840
International Health, Disease Control PH.223.840
International Health, Social & Behavioral PH.224.840
Mental Health PH.330.840
Molecular Microbiology & Immunology PH.260.840
Population, Family & Reproductive Health PH.380.840


Step 5: Work on the project and paper

Discuss an overall timeline for completing the various sections of your paper with your capstone advisor in preparation for submitting a first draft for their review. The first draft deadline is about five weeks before the final draft deadline, allowing time for revisions. Communicating with your capstone advisor about your progress, including any issues or concerns, is critical during this phase.

Your capstone advisor will review your final draft for any final edits and recommendations, and you will complete revisions as necessary.

Then submit the final, approved paper to the CoursePlus drop box.  Your capstone advisor will submit an online approval directly to the MPH Program Office. Please note: Students may not participate in the oral presentation unless the final paper is submitted on time.



    More information

    Step 6: Give an oral presentation of your project

    After the final paper and capstone advisor's approval are submitted, you will complete the oral component of the capstone project by giving a 10-minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of discussion. This will take place at the May MPH Capstone Symposium, scheduled online presentations or an alternate venue.


    Step 7: Capstone course completion, grading and awards

    The MPH Program Office will submit grades for the MPH Capstone Course as follows:

    • "Pass" grade for all students that submit an approved capstone paper and complete the oral presentation requirement.

    • "Incomplete" grade will be posted for those students who do not complete the capstone project in the term for which they are registered.

    The MPH Program Office also awards special honors to the best overall capstone projects. Nominations are accepted from capstone advisors and winners are selected by an awards committee based on the written project. The capstone award includes a plaque for excellence in public health professional practice. The student with the single overall best capstone project receives a $500 award.

    Examples of MPH Capstone Topics and Papers

    Capstone project papers submitted by Bloomberg School students from previous years are listed below to demonstrate the breadth of topics and formats that may be explored. In addition, hard copy binders are on reserve in the MPH program office (Room W1015).

    Capstone Symposia Programs

    The following links are copies of the programs from MPH capstone symposia held here at the Bloomberg School in recent years.

    MPH Capstone Award Recipients: May 2016

    • “An Assessment of a Gender-based Violence Screening Program for Refugee Women in Baltimore City” (Program Evaluation)
    • “Biosecurity Challenges in the Poultry Industry against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza”(Policy Analysis)
    • “Assessing compliance with Uruguay’s single pack presentation law” (Research Report)
    • “Dose-Dependent Effects of Lifestyle Interventions on Blood Lipid Levels: Results from the PREMIER Trial” (Research Report)
    • “Impacts of hydrocodone combination product rescheduling on opioid and analgesic prescribing in the United States” (Policy Analysis)
    • “Implication of mHealth Development and Application to the China Health Reform” (Policy Analysis)
    • "Who Gets a Provider Recommendation? Reducing Missed Opportunities to Promote the HPV Vaccine to Male and Female Teens in the U.S." (Research Report)
    • “Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease”
    • “Application of Early Aberration Reporting System (Ears) To Seasonal Influenza Weekly Report in Mexico (2007-2014)” (Research Report)
    • “Impact of Improving Vehicle Design on the Burden of Pedestrian Injuries in Germany, USA, and India” (Research Report)
    • “Analysis of Access to Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Populations involved in the Criminal Justice System” (Research Report)

    MPH Capstone Award Recipients: May 2013

    •  "Trends in Mortality and Age: A Comparison of Open Versus Endovascular Repair of Abdominal Aortic Anueryms in the ACS NISQUIP Data” (Research Report)
    • "Colonization of Pets with Staphylococci in Homes of People with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Skin or Soft Tissue Infection (SSTI)” (Research Report)
    • “REVERSE TRIAGE IN PEDIATRICS: A New Method to Increase In-Hospital Surge Capacity” (Research Report)
    • "Finding & Explaining Fast & Slow Mortality Transitions: A Taxonomy of Preston Curves using Latent Growth Curve Analysis” (Research Report)
    • "Prevention of CIPN from FOLFOX Regimen in Patients with Metastatic CRC by Oral Supplementation of L-glutamine” (Research Proposal)
    • Grading Quality for Information and Synthesis of mHealth Evidence” (Systematic Review and Methods Development)
    • “Trends and Risk Factors for Viraemia during Early Antiretroviral Therapy in the Khayelisha Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort” (Research Report)
    • “Strategic Framework for Infant Mortality Reduction in Abu Dhabi – Public Health Problem Analysis and Program Plan”
    • “Unlocking the Epidemic Potential of Zoonotic Hepatitis E Virus in Southeast Asia” (Research Report)
    • “The Effects of Climate Change on Food Production: Implications for Food Security” (Literature Review)
    • “Strategies for the Discovery of Novel Anti-Infective Agents”  (Research Proposal)
    • “Pricing Interventions in Open Versus Closed-Community Settings to Increase Access to Healthy Foods: A Review of the Literature”

    MPH Capstone Award Recipients: May 2012

    • "Clinical Integration in a Community Healthcare System" (Literature Review and Proposal)
    • "Relationship between Self-reported Functional Impairment and Mental Healthcare Utilization in OEF/OIF Veterans" (Research Report)
    • "Impact of the Access Partnership on Emergency and Inpatient Healthcare Utilization" (Program Evaluation)
    • "A Lay Training Program in Basic Emergency Care and Danger Sign Recognition in Rukungiri District, Uganda: Recommendations for Global Emergency Care Collaborative's Pre-hospital Emergency Resources Project" (Program Plan)
    • "The Influence of Maternal Factors on Early Childhood Obesity" (Research Report)
    • "Characterization of Companion Animal & Environmental Sampling Methods for Recovery of MRSA in a Household Survey" (Research Report)
    • "Strengthening SNAP Vendor Standards: Putting Healthier Foods Within Reach?" (Policy Analysis)
    • "Tuberculosis Vaccine Project: Epidemiologic Assessment and Action Plan" (Literature Review)
    • "Nasopharyngeal Carriage and Transmission of Streptococcus Pneumoniae in Native American Households after a Decade of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Use" (Research Report)
    • "Maternal, Household, and Infant Determinants of Vaccination Coverage among Infants in Rural Bangladesh" (Research Report)
    • "Enhancing the Public Knowledge and Reporting of Emerging Infections using Popular Social Media" (Program Plan)

    MPH Capstone Award Recipients: May 2011

    MPH Capstone Award Recipients: May 2010

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2009

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2008

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2007

    • Special honors were given to 10 students with the best overall capstone written projects.
    • "Evaluation of the Effects of a New Interpretation Program at a Public Health Clinic 2005-2006"
    • "Parental Age and Maternal Antibodies to Fetal Brain in Autism"
    • "Countering Prevailing Trends in Violation of Women's Rights to Life and Health: An Analysis of Nicaragua's Complete Abortion Ban"
    • "Model Comparing Outcomes in Cost -- Effectiveness and Tuberculosis Prevalence for Active and Passive Disease Surveillance in Peru"
    • "A Proposal to Implement a Joint Collaboration at Johns Hopkins between the Women's Mood Disorder Center and the Harriet Lane Clinic to Provide Screening and Treatment for New Mothers with Postpartum Depression"
    • "Risk Factors for Birth Asphyxia Mortality in a Community-based Setting in Southern Nepal"
    • "Investing in Health: Shifting the Health Care Paradigm"
    • "The Impact of Pulsatile Perfusion Preservation on Clinical Outcomes in Kidney Transplantation"
    • "Assessing Women's Preferences for Cervical Cancer Screening: An Application of Conjoint Analysis"
    • "Young Maternal Age and the Risk of Neonatal Mortality in Rural Nepal"

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2006

    • "Pathway to Preparedness: A Social Marketing Strategy for Disaster Preparedness in 5 Counties in the State of Maryland"
    • "A Review of World Bank Projects Addressing Maternal and Child Under Nutrition in High-Burden Countries"
    • "Need for Regular Functional Testing of Portable Gas Detection Equipment -- Evaluation of Field Failure Rates and Interventions in Japan"
    • "The Effect of Race and Ethnicity on Infant Feeding Practices at 2-4 Months of Age"
    • "Quantitation of Social Variables in Epidemics: A Computational Modeling Approach"
    • "Medicare Physicians' Services Payment Policy Reform: A Case Study of Diagnostic Imaging"
    • "Environmental Factors Related to Leptospirosis Outbreaks"
    • "HIV/STD Risks and the Influence of Alcohol Use Among Young Methamphetamine Users in Northern Thailand"
    • "We Talk of AIDS Because We Love Life": A Stakeholder Assessment Using Qualitative Interviews of HIV Prevention Institutions in Buenos Aires, Argentina"
    • "In Vivo Monitoring by MRI Imaging of the Accumulation of Welding Fume-associated Manganese within the Central Nervous System using a Murine Model"

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2005

    • "Assessing the Oral Health Needs of Children at the Harriet Lane Clinic, JHH Using a Parental Survey: A Needs Assessment"
    • "Catastrophic Outcomes Associated with Clostridium Difficile Colitis"
    • "Report on Findings from the Wildland Fire Fighter Tobacco Use Study"
    • "Neighborhood Characteristics Are Associated with Cardiovascular Disease in Older Adults: Evidence from the Baltimore Memory Study, USA"
    • "The Impact of Illicit Drug Use and Substance Abuse Treatment on Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy"
    • "A Retrospective Cohort Study to Assess and Compare the Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus and Hyperlipidemia in Risperidone - and Olanzapine-treated Long-term Inpatients of a State Psychiatric Hospital"
    • "Children Born from Rape: Overlooked Victims of Human Rights Violations in Conflict Settings"
    • "Poverty and Skilled Attendance at Delivery: A Study of Six Developing Countries"
    • "Sexual Behavior among Nigerian Youth"
    • "Microbiological Inhalation Hazard at Open-Air Swine Facilities in American Samoa"

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2004

    • "Interpregnancy Interval and the Risk of Maternal Night Blindness in Rural Nepal"
    • "Prevalence of Gallbladder Disease Among Persons with Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the U.S."
    • "Development, Vehicles and Road Traffic Injuries: A Case Study and Review of Literature from India"
    • "The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Outbreak in Ontario: Comparison of the Two Phases"
    • "Colorectal Cancer Screening Compliance in Maryland"
    • "Childhood Diarrhea in Cameroon: Risk Factors and Health-Seeking Behaviors"
    • "Use of Hematological Markers to Predict Morbidity and Mortality Among HIV Infected African Infants"
    • "Risk Factors for BK Virus Nephropathy in Renal Transplant Recipients -- The Role of Ureteral Trauma"
    • "Journey After Darkness, A Study of Goma, Zaire in 1994: Cholera and Clean Water"
    • "An Innovative Curriculum Teaching the Integration of Communication and Clinical Reasoning Skills to Medical Students"

    Master of Public Health Capstone Award Recipients: May 2003

    • "Does Presence of a Mental Disorder in AIDS Patients Affect the Initiation of Antiretroviral Treatment (HAART) and Duration of Therapy?"
    • "Intimate Partner Violence, Substance Abuse & HIV: Taking a Closer Look"
    • "The Epidemiology of Ocular Trauma in Rural Nepal"
    • "FDA Pediatric Drug Policy: Characteristics of Drugs Granted Exclusivity"
    • "Reforming the Oral Health Sector in Uganda: A Primary Health Care Approach"
    • "Trends and Differentials in Adolescent Sexual Behaviors in Rakai, Uganda, 1994-2002"
    • "Health Care Facilities in the City of Guayaquil: Can Open Access Reduce Travel Distance?"
    • "Racial Disparities in Reporting and Receipt of Immediate Breast Reconstruction in Maryland"
    • "Evidential Strength of Medical Specialties: A Comparative Analysis"
    • "Injuries in Unrestrained Pediatric Patients in the Texas Panhandle"

    Some Examples of Topics of Capstone Projects from Previous Years

    • "Public Health Response to a Bioterrorist Attack Involving Smallpox"
    • "Outcomes of a Comprehensive, Community-based, Family-oriented Substance Abuse Treatment Program: An Evaluation of the Asset Program in East Baltimore"
    • "Evaluation Proposal for a Workplace Domestic Violence Awareness Program"
    • "Expanding the Use of a Cross-Cultural Assessment of Trauma-Related Mental Illness: A Proposal for Afghan Women Refugees"
    • "The Persistence of High Malaria Morbidity in Under-5 Children in the West Province of Cameroon"
    • "Synergistic Biological Effects of Endotoxin and Traffic-related Air Pollution"
    • "Cost-effectiveness of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Testing and Treatment as an HIV/AIDS Intervention"
    • "Environmental Refugees and Human Rights"

    Other Topics

    • "Reducing Bloodstream Infections due to Central Venous Catheters"
    • "Investigation of an Outbreak of Hepatitis B among Injecting Drug Users"
    • "NHANES III Pesticide Data Informs Cape Cod Breast Cancer Study"
    • "The Use of a Cross-Cultural Assessment of Trauma-Related Mental Illness"
    • "Ethical Frameworks to Develop Public Health Interventions in Internet Chat Rooms"
    • "Determinants of Hepatitis B Vaccination"
    • "Northeast Cambodia Child Survival Program"
    • "Smoking Prevention in Adolescent Girls in Maryland"
    • "Public Health Effects of Direct to Consumer Pharmaceutical Marketing"
    • "Effect of Refugees on Their Host Populations Health Status"
    • "Connecting the DOTS: From TB Service Providers to Patients"