First-hand experience in the field is a fundamental component of public health education.
At the University of Georgia College of Public Health, students gain practical skills and knowledge through real world experiences at health organizations in Georgia, across the nation and around the world.
However, these not possible without the participation of collaborating agencies and skilled practitioners or researchers who are willing to oversee the professional development of students.
Interested in hosting a CPH student internship or practicum?
Become a preceptor at the UGA College of Public Health! Read more to learn about degree programs offered at the College and how you and your organization can partner with us to help train and develop the public health workforce of the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does my organization become an approved Field Experience site for the UGA College of Public Health?
While our student often make initial contact with potential Field Experience sites they hope to work with, we are always interested in making additional sites and projects available to our students.
- Interested sites can make direct contact with the MPH/DrPH Practice Coordinator to learn more about the Field Experience process and competencies and to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
- If a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is already in place, the site needs to submit a Field Placement Request Form.
2. What are the basic requirements for site interested in hosting student field experiences?
A Field Experience site must:
- Be considered a public health organization, company, agency, etc.
- Be community-based.
- Operate with a mission that is reflective of any of the areas of public health: biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health policy and management, health promotion and behavior, gerontology, et al.
- Sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) set forth by the University of Georgia. An MOU is a legal document that must be signed by the site supervisor, or other colleagues as appropriate, with final approval and signature from the president of UGA.
- If the site has an in-house MOU agreement, the University will work to insure the best compromise for the site and the student.
- Be able to offer the student sufficient work space such as a desk and computer or lab space, etc.
PLEASE NOTE: Site Supervisors or Preceptors cannot hold a faculty appointment.
3. What would be required of my time?
While graduate students are prepared for minimal supervision at this level in their graduate program, we do expect site preceptors to provide as much time as is need to guide and mentor students through their projects.
- We expect the student to work independently, in groups, and with you as necessary.
- We suggest weekly or regular meetings with the student to make sure tasks are being completed and that you are clear about what is expected of the student.
- Students are required to complete time sheets or logs of their activity during the week. We ask that you sign off on this.
- We ask that you complete Midpoint and Final Evaluations of the student and his/her work. The surveys are brief in nature and designed to be user-friendly. The student is responsible for providing you with these forms.
4. What is required of the MPH or DrPH student?
Students are required to complete:
- A Field Experience Proposal and Approval Form prior to beginning the Field Experience.
- In addition to the student’s contact information, this form requires the site supervisor’s contact information and qualifications.
- This form also requires the student to describe the site setting, the project and the learning objectives that he/she is going to accomplish during the Field Experience. The project and learning objectives must address the MPH or DrPH competencies. (Please see the MPH/DrPH Site Supervisor Manual for reference.)
- The site supervisor is asked to sign this proposal as a ‘learning contract’ between the student and the site.
- If the learning objectives change during the Field Experience, the student is required to let the MPH/ DrPH CPH Practice Coordinator know. (Please see the MPH/DrPH Site Supervisor Manual Appendices for reference.)
- A Final Report
- Due one week before the last day of classes for the semester.
- The student is solely responsible for this document.
- A Time Log
- Due at the same time as the final report.
- The student is solely responsible for keeping track of their hours.
- The site supervisor is asked to sign-off on the time log.
5. How long is the Field Experience?
- The Field Experience is 300 hours in duration and takes place over the course of a Fall, Spring or Summer Semester.
- This can be done in a concentrated block of time (e.g. 40 hrs/week for 8 weeks) or distributed as the site supervisor and student see fit.
6. How many days should a student perform work onsite?
Ideally, students should work onsite at every opportunity. They should become a part of your staff team and should be learning skills such as working in a group, working with different personalities and working within a professional organization.
- The minimum requirement is two days per week, but the optimal time frame is three to five days per week.
- As long as the 300-hour time requirement is met, scheduling is generally left up to the student and the site supervisor.
7. How does the student selection process work?
- Field Experience sites interested in placing an intern can send a Field Placement Request Form to the MPH/DrPH Practice Coordinator.
- Students are advised on possible placements according to the forms submitted. Students then contact the site they would like to intern with.
- Field placement sites then determine how and whom to choose as an intern. This can be done through interviews and/or applications (having students send cover letters and resumes to the site).
8. What type of training and education do CPH students already have?
- MPH students will have an undergraduate degree and will have completed at least two semesters (~ 18-24 credit hrs) of public health coursework before entering into a Field Experience site.
- DrPH students will have a Master’s degree, professional experience, and coursework at the Doctorate level.
- Concentration areas within the MPH and DrPH programs may have slightly different requirements of its students.
9. Do I need to stay in regular contact with the CPH Practice Coordinator?
- During the Semester, the Practice Coordinator will make arrangements to meet with you and you and the student. This will usually be done by conference call, but a face to face meeting can be arranged.
- Site Supervisors are encouraged to contact the Practice Coordinator at any time to discuss ongoing Field Experiences.
10. What should I do in the event of a major problem or conflict?
You should contact the MPH/DrPH Practice Coordinator immediately by email at [email protected].
11. How do I advertise and recruit students for my Field Experience site?
- The best method to recruit or advertise for any student interns you may need by submitting a Field Placement Request Form directly to the MPH/DrPH Practice Coordinator. Please note, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the site and the University must be in place.
- Forms can be emailed or faxed.
- The Practice Coordinator can also provide email announcements to all of the students, or to specific students in desired concentration areas. She will also be able to add your name to a list of ‘approved’ Field Experience sites which is posted for students internally at UGA.
12. Can I refer others for approval as Field Experience sites?
You may certainly refer other sites to our MPH Practice Coordinator’s office. Please send an email to [email protected] to make initial contact.
13. Where can I find information about my student intern’s field experience/practicum requirements?
The information can be found in the MPH-DrPH Site Managers Manual or can be referenced on the CPH website’s MPH and DrPH degree program pages.
Undergraduate Degree Programs
Field experience in the form of an internship and/or practicum is required for all undergraduate majors and certificate programs at the UGA College of Public Health. If you are interested in hosting a CPH undergraduate student at your site, please contact the internship coordinator for that student’s degree program.
Undergraduate Internship Contacts:
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Science
- Dr. Anne Marie Zimeri, [email protected]
- Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Behavior
- Dr. Katie Darby Hein, [email protected]
Graduate Degree Programs
Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH)
While the Field Experience is but one phase in Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Programs, it is arguably the most important one. Practical knowledge and skills are essential to successful practice as public health professionals. As a part of a professional degree program, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in basic public health concepts. They demonstrate the application of these concepts through a Field Experience that is relevant to their area of concentration.
Together the Academic Program of Study and the Field Experience are designed to guide students in developing the competencies and skills necessary to assume professional roles in public health. However, it is the Field Experience component that provides an individualized, experiential learning opportunity through which students can truly apply and test their academic training in practice or research in a real-world setting.
To insure sound educational experiences, the MPH and DrPH Programs have developed the following principles to guide the Field Experience component. Following these guidelines will provide maximum benefit for both student and Field Experience site.
- Field Experience training for an individual student must be planned in terms of his/her abilities, and needs and interests as an integral part of the total training experiences in which he/she is participating;
- The student must be an active participant in planning his/her Field Experience training;
- The experiences offered the student should meet real needs of the site in its particular mission, goals and objectives. If at all possible, the student should be given the opportunity to function as a full-fledged staff member. It is important that the student make a contribution to the site that is significant and positive;
- The Field Experience should be designed so that the student has an opportunity for responsible participation in a significant project common to the activities of public health professionals. The resources available must be adequate for this purpose;
- Field Experience training must be under the guidance and supervision of an individual who is able to make a learning experience out of a work situation and who is professionally competent in the student’s area of specialization. This person should hold a degree and should have thorough experience in that particular health setting;
- The site provides experiential learning to improve student competencies;
- Evaluation of the Field Experience must be in terms of:
- the student’s growth in understanding of and abilities needed in situations faced by public health professionals;
- the student’s contributions to the agency’s program.
Graduate Education Director
Explore these resources to learn more about our professional degree programs, degree program competencies, and the field experience process.
Field experience in the form of a practicum or research is required for all certificate programs at the UGA College of Public Health. If you are interested in hosting a CPH certificate student at your site, please contact the internship coordinator for that student’s certificate program.
Certificate Internship Contacts:
- Undergraduate Certificate in Global Health
- Heather McEachern, [email protected]
- Graduate Certificate in Disaster Management
- Dr. Curt Harris, [email protected]
- Graduate Certificate in Gerontology
- Send inquiry to [email protected]
- Graduate Certificate in Global Health
- Dr. Paula Davis-Olwell, [email protected]