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Direct Hands-On Experience

All MPH students must complete 6 credit hours (270 hours fieldwork) of practicum prior to graduation. The practicum experience is meant to give students direct, hands-on experience comparable to a career position suitable for someone with an MPH. This will not only supplement the student’s coursework and enrich their academic experience, but also prepare the student for employment after completion of their degree.


The goals of the practicum are:

  1. To integrate foundational public health knowledge with a concrete experience of public health practice. In particular, to observe and report how the following concepts play out in real public health practice:
    • the core functions of public health
    • the core organizational practices necessary for governmental agencies to carry out the mission of public health, and
    • the essential public health services, from a community-based perspective.
  2. To identify and report the issues in cultural competence relevant to a specific practicum site and how they play out in real public health practice.
  3. To identify emerging areas in the practice of public health.
  4. To broaden knowledge and skills in public health practice.
  5. To gain experience working with a mentor that has the academic credentials and experience to oversee and evaluate masters level student goals and activities.

Prerequisites Required

Students can begin practicum work after 4 of the 6 pre-requisites (6100, 6300, 6400, 6500, 6550, 6600, 6700) have been completed. One of the four courses must be 6550 and one must be 6100 (Biostatistics) or 6300 (Epidemiology).

A practicum site should expect that the students will come prepared to contribute as well as learn.