The practicum is a planned, mentored and evaluated work experience that enables students to integrate and apply knowledge, skills and values from their health behavior training into a practical, professional public health environment in the public or private sector. The practicum gives students an opportunity to:

  • Apply public health concepts and skills in a real-world setting
  • Contribute to the work and impact of a public health-related organization
  • Explore areas of professional interest, network and develop career goals
  • Observe and learn from professionals in the field
  • Gain feedback on professional skills and performance
  • Demonstrate competency

Health behavior students complete a minimum of 240 practicum hours during the summer between their first and second years in the program. Practicums can be paid or unpaid opportunities and can occur in any country approved for student travel. Students are hosted by organizations that work with public health data, plan public health interventions, provide a public health service or work on public health policy, such as a nonprofit organization, hospital, local or state health department or for-profit firm.

During the practicum, students are mentored by a practicing public health professional with a master of public health or equivalent degree and experience. Topics are selected and the work is designed based on the host agency’s needs and each student’s experience, abilities and interests. Students can conduct a range of activities including qualitative and quantitative research, data analysis, program implementation and evaluation, communication and social media strategy development and grant writing. Students are required to produce a minimum of two products in the practicum setting, for the practicum setting.

Prior to and during the practicum experience, the department offers guidance and expertise supporting each student to find an appropriate placement, identify potential funding mechanisms and complete a successful practicum experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Practicum

Community Partners

Are you interested in hosting a practicum student? If so, visit our Community Partners page. Community partners are essential to health behavior students and to the program.

Our students contribute over 23,000 hours of work to community partners each year.

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