Preceptor Information
Learn more about the practicum process from the perspective of preceptors. The Gillings MPH practicum is a 200 (minimum) hour planned, mentored and evaluated applied practice experience (paid or unpaid) that gives students an opportunity to use their MPH training in a professional public health setting.

Host an MPH Student

Are you a community-based public health professional with a ‘wish list’ of projects? Your list might be a great fit for a public health practicum. Partner with UNC Gillings by offering a practicum opportunity to Master of Public Health (MPH) students.

Organization and Preceptor Requirements

See the MPH Practicum Requirements page for details about the organization requirements and preceptor qualifications that must be met in order for an organization to host an MPH practicum student.

Preceptor Role and Responsibilities

Review the role and responsibilities of a preceptor.

The preceptor is the student’s main point of contact at the practicum organization. They mentor the practicum student and supervise the practicum work. The preceptor:

  • Establishes, in collaboration with the student and the student’s faculty mentor, an appropriate and feasible scope of work, which gets documented in the student’s learning agreement, that is directly aligned with the practicum organization’s needs and provides a valuable learning experience for the student;
  • Orients the student to the health topic(s), people, policies, procedures and norms related to the practicum work;
  • Meets regularly with the student to provide guidance, support and timely, constructive feedback;
  • Communicates with the student’s practicum manager (and the student’s faculty mentor as needed) to provide feedback on the student’s performance;
  • Models professional, ethical behavior;
  • Completes an evaluation of the student and the practicum experience; and
  • Identifies a suitable replacement if unable to continue in the role of a preceptor.

Practicum Activities

Learn more about the types of activities students complete during a practicum.

Practicum activities must allow for application of graduate-level public health skills and contribute to improvements in public health by informing, assessing, developing, implementing, evaluating, and/or leading policies, programs, and/or interventions at the population rather than individual level.. Examples of practicum activities include:

  • Data collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting
  • Cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit and cost-utility analysis
  • Needs assessment
  • Program design, implementation and evaluation
  • Quality improvement
  • Policy advocacy
  • Budgeting
  • Grant writing

Students are not limited to the activities listed above and can combine multiple activities during the practicum. Academic research or teaching, observation and/or treatment of patients, shadowing, and activities conducted solely under faculty supervision (e.g., case study or preparing a manuscript for publication) are not appropriate practicum activities. Students can only do a practicum with their regular place of employment if their practicum work will differ substantially from their current role and they have a preceptor who is not their regular supervisor.

Practicum Products

Learn more about the types of products students produce during a practicum.

A product is a tangible output from the student’s practicum work. Students must produce a minimum of two student-generated, practical, non-academic work products, produced for the practicum site’s use and benefit, that demonstrate attainment of five CEPH MPH Foundational Competencies. The preceptor and student determine the number and types of products a student completes based on the practicum organization’s needs, time constraints, and student interests and capabilities. Multiple students can work on the same practicum project; however, each student must produce at least two products that demonstrate individual competency attainment.

Examples of practicum products include:

  • Conceptual models
  • Curricula
  • Databases
  • Grant proposals
  • Guides (e.g., fundraising, resource, user)
  • Instruments (e.g., data collection, cost-tracking)
  • Materials (e.g, communication, media)
  • Literature reviews
  • Logic models
  • Plans (e.g., engagement, program, evaluation, marketing, dissemination)
  • Policy briefs
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Spreadsheets
  • Tools (e.g., advocacy, evaluation, funding, patient engagement)
  • Toolkits
  • Websites

Unacceptable products are reflection papers, contact hour logs, scholarly papers prepared to allow faculty to assess the experience, academic poster presentations, and other documents required for academic purposes.

Preceptor Checklist

The MPH Preceptor Checklist provides an overview of the steps that preceptors should take before, during and after a student’s practicum experience.

Preceptor Evaluation

After a student completes their practicum experience, please complete the UNC Gillings Practicum Preceptor Evaluation to provide feedback on the student’s performance and ongoing quality improvement efforts for the practicum program.

Additional Information
Looking for more details about the practicum process? Don't forget to review the practicum requirements. Additional information is also available for students.
Practicum Requirements
Student Information


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