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School of Public Health
School of Public Health

University of Washington School of Public Health

MPH Practicum - Program Requirements

The goal of the MPH practicum is to provide students with the opportunity to use knowledge and skills acquired in the academic program in a practice agency or environment, under the direction of a skilled site supervisor. The site supervisor cannot be the student’s current faculty advisor or regular work supervisor. The practicum is a chance to develop and apply certain competencies that are better practiced outside of the classroom, such as: group process skills, political awareness and communication skills, understanding of public and private financing mechanisms, and understanding organizational behavior and general leadership skills.

The MPH curriculum requires students to complete a minimum of 120 hours of practical fieldwork in a public health practice setting. That means 120 hours of fieldwork at/or for the site. The 120 hours does not include technical aspects of the practicum requirements such as completing paperwork with the site supervisor and getting the required signatures. Nor is the time completing required assignments part of the 120 hours. The practicum experience allows students to work alongside public health professionals who solve real-world problems while enhancing their own skills and networking in the field.

It is each student’s responsibility to find, arrange, and complete a satisfactory field experience that fulfills program requirements. The faculty, departments and the Office of Student Affairs are all here to help but the student is ultimately responsible for finding a practicum that will meet his or her particular needs. Once a potential hosting agency has been identified, the student needs to determine if SPH has an existing Affiliation Agreement by contacting the MPH Practicum Office. If no contract is in place, one will be initiated, and the student can begin their practicum after that documentation is complete.

Students may begin a practicum after their first quarter in the program. The practicum should be scheduled when best suited to meet the student and participating organization's needs.

The Practicum is comprised of the following components: