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Field Practice and Master’s Essay

 

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.


Young office worker at cubical in an active officeField Practice

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

For Organizations

Request an MPH intern for your organization

Julie Grubaugh
Field Practice Coordinator
865-974-9277

For Students

Students must attend an orientation 
prior to beginning FP.

Orientation is offered once per semester.



Young man in business shirt works on laptopMaster’s Essay

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.

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