Senior Project Guidelines


The interdisciplinary nature of the Global Health Studies (GHS) major will allow for students to conduct their senior projects in a myriad of departments and programs. We do not want to prescribe the types of projects that could be undertaken; however, there is a need for all Global Health senior projects to be knit together or share a commonality. We propose that each GHS senior project will include the a synthesis of how the topic/project contributes to the field of Global Health (see #3 below).


Completion of a final project/paper Each student will complete a project in which he/she will have a specific individual role. Projects may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Original research
  2. Community-based project
  3. Community-based intervention
  4. Series of case-studies or key information interviews
  5. Secondary data analyses
  6. Pilot studies
  7. Creative project with product (e.g., web site, video, work of art, etc…)

Written summary of project or final paper

Regardless of the type of project/research conducted, each student will be responsible for a written summary of his/her work. Summaries may take the form of a traditional senior comprehensive project and include an Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. Alternatively, students could write in a chapter format. If a student conducts a project that results in a product (e.g., web site, video, work of art, etc…), this student will be expected to complete a written executive summary of his/her work. The executive summary will include the following sections: Abstract (in accordance with College Policies), Introduction, Methods, Justification of Work/Problem Addressed, Results, Discussion (if appropriate), and Synthesis. Included in the Methods, Results, Discussion sections or chapters of a comp, we expect students to demonstrate the independent role he/she played in the project/research.

Global health context

Regardless of the type of project/research conducted, each student will be responsible for demonstrating an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of global health. Each GHS senior project will include a well-researched and thoughtful synthesis of how the project/research topic fits into the four areas of the GHS major: (1) science, health, and the environment; (2) ethics and social philosophy; (3) policy, poverty, and economics; and (4) culture and societies. For example, if a student is conducting laboratory research under the direction of a faculty member from the Biology Department, he/she would be responsible for conducting the appropriate laboratory experiments and displaying the results. In addition, the student would need to discuss the global health implications of the experiments done. Contextualizing the project and results into the four areas listed above will distinguish the GHS comps from those in other Departments, as well as weave a common thread among all GHS comps, which are likely to take on many topics and have varying outputs/results.


  1. All GHS comps will be two semesters long
  2. Independent study

In accordance with the College Catalogue, each GHS comp “will be a significant piece of independent study, research or creative work conducted under the supervision of one or more faculty members” (pg 8). We expect the student to take a leadership role in conducting his/her senior comp; however, there is no expectation that students will conduct independent research – without collaboration from community partners, researchers at other institutions, and Allegheny faculty.

Many students have expressed an interest in using study away experiences, summer travel, and other international experiences as part of their comp work. Although we encourage this type of thinking, it will be highly encouraged/recommended that students who do want to work abroad will go through established research partners and institutions to do so. This is especially applicable to students who want to collect primary data in another country not under the supervision of an Allegheny faculty member. For students who do want to include an international perspective to their comp research, it is recommended for the foreseeable future that project similar to pilot studies, key informant interviews, observations, etc… be encouraged. These studies could be furthered or supplemented by a secondary data analysis using available data through organizations such as the WHO, PAHO, and CDC, among others. The supplemental work will take place at Allegheny under the supervision of a faculty member.


  1. Requirement of a double comp

According to the College Catalogue, “a student completing two majors may submit one Senior Project that integrates both disciplines and is evaluated jointly by faculty from both programs, or two separate Senior Projects, one in each program. In all cases, the Senior Project must satisfy the standards of evaluation in each department” (pg. 7).