MPH students complete a field practice (i.e. an internship) to apply classroom learning and develop practical skills.*
*A small number of students with health-related work experiences who possess a professional degree or have firm plans to pursue a doctoral degree may request approval for the master’s essay, an alternative professional development experience.
Field practice (FP) is a 360-hour work experience enabling graduate students to develop public health competencies while contributing to projects that benefit the organization.
Over 30 percent of Community Health Education (CHE) and Health Policy and Management (HPM) students who completed their field practice during spring 2012 through spring 2015 became employed by their field practice site. Others used field practice as a springboard to employment elsewhere, while a smaller group pursued further education. Click here to read more about our field practice funding and employment trends.
The field practice, or internship, contributes an important professional preparation dimension to the MPH program. MPH candidates have the opportunity to actively integrate theory and concepts with practical experience in internship placements in a variety of locations and settings. Over 200 agencies and facilities in thirty-two states have provided internship sites for the program. Graduate students have competed successfully for internships in highly visible settings, including federal agencies. The involvement of practicing health professionals in the education of MPH students is a recognized strength of the MPH program. See examples of FP in action.
Faculty are dedicated to public health outreach and strongly believe in the value of experiential-based graduate education. Through the individualized internships, students benefit by developing their skills and competencies outside the classroom setting; and the precepting agencies receive the benefits of the interns’ enthusiasm, knowledge, and expanding skills.
Field Practice Information and Forms
Field Practice Guidelines (pdf)—A detailed list of responsibilities for the student, university, and field site
MPH Field Practice Brochure (pdf)—FAQ information for potential preceptors and new field site organizations
- Appropriate intern projects should relate to public health competencies.
- Core Public Health Competencies (pdf)—Student projects should relate to at least one of the core competencies.
- Concentration Competencies—Student project(s) should relate to at least two of the student’s concentration competencies. Concentrations include:
- Preceptor Midpoint Evaluation of Public Health Intern—Upon completion of half of the intern’s hours, the preceptor fills out this online form.
Preceptor Evaluation of Public Health Intern—Upon completion of the field practice, the preceptor fills out this online evaluation and discusses with the intern.
Request an MPH intern for your organization
Field Practice Coordinator
- Eligibility and Information for Field Practice and Master’s Essay (pdf)—Lists student eligibility requirements.
- Field Practice Request (docx)—Students must complete this request and send an up-to-date resume at least three months prior to beginning of field practice. Suggested resume format (.doc)
- FP Checklist (pdf)—Lists key dates, reporting timeline, description of final report.
- Weekly Report (doc)—Summarizes activities each week; submitted every two to three weeks.
Objectives (doc)—Due by the second week of FP. Send draft to FP coordinator first, then must be signed by preceptor and student. Also, fill out midpoint and final evaluation of objectives.
- Culminating Experience Format (pdf)—A professional quality oral presentation students deliver to faculty, preceptors, and students upon completion of field practice.
- Student Evaluation of Field Practice – Upon completion of the field practice, the student fills out this online evaluation.
- Field Practice in Action Template (.pdf) – Template to use if selected to write a Field Placement in Action feature for the website.
Students must attend an orientation
prior to beginning FP.
Orientation is offered once per semester.
An alternative to the field practice offered for the more experienced student, the master’s essay experience is intended to result in a scholarly work of high quality worthy of publication or other professional exhibit. This type of focused investigation is similar to those which may be anticipated during professional life. Areas considered appropriate for a master’s essay include: epidemiologic investigation, analytical review of public policy, administrative case study development, public health program evaluation, critical review of public health issue, creative educational project, or other approved area.