MPH students must demonstrate competency attainment through the Practicum in Public Health.
This required 200-hour practicum gives students the opportunity to practice and improve professional skills in a supervised setting. Students must show evidence of MPH foundational and concentration competency synthesis through the creation of at least two work products completed during the practicum experience.
The requirements to complete the practicum are in two courses over two semesters.
- GCH 780, Practicum Seminar (0 credits)
- GCH 790, Practicum in Public Health (3 credits)
Practicum Course Requirements
GCH 780 - Practicum Seminar
GCH 780, Practicum Seminar, is a zero-credit, online course that helps students identify and arrange their practicum placements in a structured environment.
There are two parts to GCH 780.
- Career Readiness
- Searching for and Securing a Practicum Site
Students complete GCH 780 the semester before doing the practicum.
The Practicum Coordinator grades GCH 780 as satisfactory/non satisfactory (S/NS).
GCH 790 - Practicum in Public Health
The required 200-hour practicum gives students the opportunity to practice and improve professional skills in a supervised setting. The practicum site should support the students’ career goals, to the extent possible, and the work a student completes during the practicum should be mutually beneficial to both the site and the student. Students must submit two work products created during their practicum experience. These products may include written reports, brochures and infographics, videos, blog posts, or other materials.
The Practicum Coordinator grades GCH 790 on the graduate A-F scale. The grade for GCH 790 is determined by the submission of reflective weekly journals, the quality of the two work products, a poster presentation about the practicum experience, the practicum supervisor evaluation, and a site visit.
Where have students completed their practicums?
Students can complete their practicums in a variety of settings. Recent sites include:
- Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
- Catholic Charities of Diocese of Arlington
- Center for Health, Environment and Justice
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Fairfax County Health Department
- Food and Drug Administration
- Global Fund for Children
- Inova Juniper Program
How do I find a placement?
While ultimately it is each student's responsiblity to find a suitable site, they are supported throughout the process during GCH 780, Practicum Seminar. Students have access to a practicum database, and are required to meet with the Practicum Coordinator to discuss their interests and career goals.
Do I have to complete a practicum if I currently work in public health?
All students must complete a practicum experience as directed by our Council on Education for Public Health accreditation. This requirement cannot be waived.
Students who work in public health may choose to do their practicum at their current workplace, though their practicum experience cannot be part of their usual work activities, among other stipulations.
Some students who already work in public health choose to work in a different sector of public health than their current workplace.
Where else can I find answers to my practicum questions?
The Practicum Handbook lists all required information and is updated each year as needed.