What is a Public Health Practicum?

The curriculum includes a practicum that allows students to gain practical experience working on a project related to their area of interest and/or career goals in public health. The practicum is a unique opportunity for students to synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired through coursework and other learning experiences and to apply theory and principle in a practical public health setting.

All students are required to complete the practicum. The practicum involves working with an agency/organization on an approved project, writing a final report and making an oral presentation. Projects may be program evaluations, case studies, research, policy analyses or descriptive studies.

The program’s location near the state capital—the center of a populous region with varied needs in public health—allows for numerous practicum sites. For example, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), world-renowned for its programs in public health, provides internship opportunities in areas such as chronic disease and injury control, maternal and child health, communicable disease control, occupational and environmental health, HIV prevention and rural health. In addition, opportunities are available through county public health offices. Students may also seek out practicum sites of their own choosing.

Practicum Program Coordinator Marcella Gonsalves, Ed.D., M.P.H. gives her three tips for a successful practium in this helpful article.