Molly McFatrich (MPH 2012) speaks about her practicum experience

A student presenting a poster on her practicum experience

The Council on Education for Public Health, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and the Department of Health Behavior (HB) mandate that all students participate in a practicum experience. A practicum is a planned, individualized, mentored, evaluated,

experiential learning opportunity that serves as a bridge between a student’s academic training and applied public health practice.

The practicum provides special opportunities for learning that are different from, supplementary to, and supportive of the academic components of the HB MPH program. The practicum offers students an opportunity to:

  • apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom re.: program planning, theory, evaluation, interventions, and dissemination in a real world public health setting
  • understand the social, political, economic, and organizational context within which public health activities occur
  • contribute to the work and impact of a public health organization
  • aid in the solution of public health problems
  • observe and learn from professionals in the field
  • explore areas of professional interest, network, and develop career goals
  • gain feedback on professional skills and abilities
  • become acquainted with, and network with, agencies and community groups engaged in public health efforts

Students may do a 200-hour, 300-hour, or 400-hour practicum and will typically complete their practica over the summer between the first and second years of the HB MPH

program. Practica can occur anywhere, including both domestic and international settings, and can be paid or unpaid. During the practicum, a student is directly supervised by an appointed on-site preceptor. A HB faculty adviser and the HB field coordinator add additional support, guidance, and expertise to the experience.

Past summer practicum sites