Practice Requirement Guidelines

All MPH candidates must complete a practicum to integrate classroom learning with real-life experience in a public health work environment, which allows them to learn from professionals in the field. MPH students may fulfill their Public Health Practice requirement by one of the following means:

  1. Completing EPH 542b, Community Health Program Planning, offered Spring semesters.
  2. Completing EPH 500b, the Public Health Practicum course, offered Spring semester to second year students and one-year professional students only.
  3. Completing an appropriate summer internship - the preferred method for fulfilling the requirement, as it offers a sustained and concentrated course of experiential learning.
  4. Completing HPA 555ab for one or two terms, offered Fall and Spring semesters.

One-year students are not required to complete a summer internship and must fulfill their practicum requirement during the academic year by taking one of the three courses listed above.
In planning your practicum, please refer to the guidelines below.
The following guidelines apply to domestic and/or global experiential learning placements that qualify as meeting the M.P.H. practicum requirement including the summer internship and other community agency assignments that are part of approved practice courses.

  • Practicum may occur in a wide variety of settings at the local, regional, national or international level but must be outwardly focused on a public health problem or issue. Acceptable venues would include governmental entities, nongovernmental, and private sector organizations with a public health component such as pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, managed care/health maintenance organizations, and consulting firms.
  • Practicum affords opportunity to participate in the full spectrum of defining, analyzing and addressing a “real life” public health problem or issue, either directly or through observation, consultation with others working on problem, participation in relevant meetings or activities, and pertinent reading.
  • Practicum entails one or more of the following roles*:
    • Assessment, monitoring, and/or surveillance of population health indicators, social determinants of health, inequities associated with race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, environmental/occupational hazards and exposures, and other public health issues;
    • Participating in the development and/or execution of applied public health research in the biological, environmental and social/behavioral realms, that has an immediate impact on public health, including translational, evaluation and epidemiological research efforts that contribute to the evidence-base and efficacy of public health practice;
    • Planning, designing, implementing and evaluating public health interventions;
    • Developing disease prevention and health promotion, media advocacy or risk communication materials;
    • Developing, implementing and evaluating public health laws, regulations and policy;
    • Participating in administrative/management activities of governmental and non-governmental public health agencies and/or health service delivery systems such as hospitals or community health centers. Activities could include quality improvement, organizational analysis and restructuring processes, strategic and business planning, organizational policy and protocol, financial management, budgeting and reimbursement processes, preparation of internal or external reports, human resources management, workforce development and credentialing, and addressing regulatory compliance issues such as audits and accreditation processes;
    • Supporting the development and goals of public health coalitions through community organizing and advocacy efforts, needs assessments, strategic and participatory community planning, leadership development, and assisting with the development and implementation of community health improvement plans that respond to local needs and priorities.
  •  Practicum integrates public health theory, knowledge, and skills, and applies and reinforces the competencies in MPH course work. 
  • The practicum project and student role are appropriate for the M.P.H. level.
  • The practicum agency and preceptor have requisite population health orientation, public health expertise, and infrastructure to support M.P.H. level student learning experience.
  • The practicum has deliverables of tangible value to the mission of the placement agency/site.