T-H-E-S-I-S

Hi again,

There’s so much to take in this early on that it’s hard to decide what to write about. I suppose that’s a good problem to have.

(Un?)Fortunately, those of us in global health, because it’s a one-year program, have the pleasure of already stressing about our theses, and since it’s such a major part of the program, I figured I would try to give y’all a better idea of what you’re getting yourselves into ;). I suppose it’s not the sexiest topic, but I want to capture my thoughts on the process as I’m going through it rather than in retrospect, when the only advice I can contribute is “you’ll figure it out!”

For context, the GH program has courses on campus from September until February. From February until June there are no classes, and we are unleashed on the world to do our work.

So we have roughly four months to do the research and write the thesis. We don’t have to stay in Sweden during that time – some people will go to the site of the project for one to two months to do the data collection and come back to Stockholm (or elsewhere, I suppose) to write. Note that not everyone does their own data collection; it seems like there are a lot of projects with data already available, they just need someone to do the analysis and write up the paper. As for the thesis itself, it is meant to resemble a manuscript, so the word count is limited to 5,000 (~20 pages). This is a lot less daunting, but on the other hand I think it will require more careful writing.

Currently, most of us are looking for projects and/or supervisors. Some people come into the program with a completely blank slate, while others come with very specific ideas, or even projects, already in mind (but this is the exception). Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, with a field and/or geographic region in mind, and then have to find a project or supervisor with which to work. The program administration helps with the process by providing a list of potential KI faculty/affiliates whom are looking for help with projects, but not everyone will find someone on this list, often because there isn’t anyone doing work in exactly what we’re interested. In that case, we resort to what I’m doing now, which is to comb through the KI website and of organizations in our respective field of interests for people to harass.

So one month into the game, this is what to expect. I’m sure my perspectives on this will change as I go through it, so I’m going to try to revisit this topic periodically to chronicle what the process looks like over the course of the year.

Wish me luck.

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