The public health practicum is a supervised practical field experience designed to provide students the opportunity to develop and apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the academic program in a public health agency or other environment in which a public health function is performed.

Each student works with the Practicum Director to identify, arrange, and complete a satisfactory field experience that fulfills the program's Practicum requirements.

  • Develop skills or competencies learned in the academic program by applying them in a public health practice setting
  • Acquire practical skills that are useful to public health professions and are not available through academic instruction
  • Understand the political, economic, social, and organizational context within which public health activities are conducted

Each student drives the planning and design of their practicum, resulting in an individualized experience that fits with their own interests and career goals. Regardless of the specific site, all practica must include the following required components:

  • Direct work with a practicing public health leader
  • Regular meetings with the site supervisor
  • Exposure to a variety of facets of the organization and the complexities of its working environment
  • Attendance at managerial meetings and interaction with a variety of people in the organization
  • The completion of one or more specific projects

  • Epidemiology track: 240 hours
  • Global Health track: 400 hours
  • Health Policy track: 240 hours

The time a student spends at their practicum site should be structured time, such as:

  • 40 hours/week for 6 continuous weeks
  • 20 hours/week for 12 continuous weeks
  • 1 day/week for 30 continuous weeks

Each student works with the Practicum Director, Brad Hawkins, Ph.D., to develop appropriate practicum experience.

Practicum sites include organizations that provide, plan for, coordinate, organize, pay for, or regulate public health services.

Practicum sites are expected to provide the student with the following:

  1. Opportunities for the student to develop further and to apply specific skills or competencies learned in the MPH academic program 
  2. An on-site supervisor who can regularly meet with the student to discuss their progress
  3. Basic support for the student, ranging from a desk and a phone, to stipends or salary, transportation and lodging if available

Examples of practicum sites include:

  • Federal agencies such as:
    • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • Veterans Administration (VA)
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • State, county, or city health departments
  • Ministries and departments of health in low- and middle-income countries
  • Other state and local health and social service agencies
  • Managed care organizations
  • Insurance companies
  • Neighborhood health centers and community clinics
  • Hospitals (public, not-for-profit, for-profit, psychiatric, rehabilitation)
  • Global health organizations and clinics
  • Community mental health centers
  • Environmental health consulting companies
  • Industrial settings
  • Multi-specialty medical practices

Through the David Satcher Public Health Scholars Program, students with an interest in health disparities can spend their practicum time at Morehouse Medical College's Satcher Leadership Institute.

In the Field

2018 Event Details 10-22-14 Practicum Colloquium Graphic.jpg

January 26, 2018 
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Student Life Center, Board of Trust Room

Event Description

The colloquium provides MPH students an opportunity to present their practicum experiences in a conference-like setting. Students will receive feedback from faculty and other graduate students and practice their presentation skills. All students will present posters and, in addition, two students will be selected to give oral presentations.

► Current MPH students, click here for detailed Colloquium guidelines (log-in required)


2017 Public Health Practicum Colloquium