Health Behavior MPH Practicum

Spring 2014 graduate Mieka Sanderson presents information about her summer 2013 practicum.

Spring 2014 graduate Mieka Sanderson presents information about her summer 2013 practicum.

The practicum is a unique field training opportunity that supplements and reinforces the academic components of our MPH program.

The Council on Education for Public Health, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and the Department of Health Behavior 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 offers a student opportunities to:
  • Apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom (e.g., 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, work alongside and learn from professionals in the field
  • Explore areas of professional interest, network and develop career goals
  • Gain feedback on professional skills and abilities
  • Network with agencies and community groups engaged in public health efforts

Students may do a 200-hour, 300-hour, or 400-hour practicum over the summer between the first and second years of the MPH program. Practica can take place in 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 faculty adviser and the department’s field coordinator add additional support, guidance, and expertise to the experience.

NOTE: MSPH-to-PhD track students must complete a research-based practicum (HBEH 744) that is at least 200 hours long and results in a manuscript.

Past summer practicum sites



FAQs for Potential Practicum Agencies & Preceptors (pdf)