Graduate Study

MPH Practicum

Students enrolled in the MPH in Nutritional Sciences program must complete a practicum as required by the School of Public Health.

Student Learning Objectives

By the end of this practicum, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the mission and unique contribution of the practicum’s sponsoring agency to public health.
  • Demonstrate collaboration and teamwork with community based partners.
  • Present a professional poster that communicates the objectives, methods, results, and conclusions from the practicum experience.

Practicum Settings

The placements should be representative of the kinds of work settings in which MPH students might be employed in their professional careers. These might include local, state or federal public health agencies, or non-governmental agencies engaged in health promotion or policy development.

  • The site enables the student to develop further and apply specific skills or competencies learned in the academic program (e.g., assessment, program planning, evaluation, management, data analysis, policy development, etc.)
  • The site provides a supervisor who is willing and able to spend regularly scheduled time with the student and provide guidance.
    In addition, the site supervisor should have a population health perspective.
  • The site should afford the student regular/daily contact with public health practitioners.
  • The site supervisor exhibits a willingness to gradually increase student responsibility and independence over the duration of the practicum experience.
  • The site exhibits a willingness to provide support, ranging from a desk and a phone, to stipends or salary, transportation and lodging.
  • The site is a good match with the needs of the student.
  • The site offers a uniquely valuable experience.

Credits and Time Commitment

The Nutritional Sciences MPH program was approved with a practicum requirement of at least 240 hours working in the field under the supervision of a qualified professional. In addition students spend 80 hours preparing for the experience by reviewing documents and literature and completing an Organizational Profile and Analysis. The Organizational Profile and Analysis is part of the SPH Student Written Assignment. In total MPH Nutrition students will complete 320 hours of work (6 credits) on their practicum.

MPH Nutritional Sciences Students Not in GCPD

  • Complete the practicum any time after the first year of courses (see Preparation below).
  • Register for 6 credits of NUTR 595.
  • The practicum (and credits) can be completed during a single quarter or spread over multiple quarters.

GCPD/MPH Nutrition Students

  • Complete the practicum during the Practice Experience (PE, 2nd year), registering for credit through NUTR 561.
  • International Students:  While enrolled in the Practice Experience (Year 2), students with an F-1 VISA must be registered for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). During their first year, F-1 students must work with the University’s International Student Services (ISS) office to register for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Students with a J-1 or J-2 VISA must also meet with their ISS adviser during Year 1 to apply for Academic Training for the Practice Experience.


Students should not begin a practicum before completing at least three quarters of academic work. Before the practicum students need to acquire some understanding of the core functions of public health – assessment, policy development and assurance, basic analytical skills in epidemiology and biostatistics, and master core concepts of the science of nutrition.

Coordination and Timeline

The practicum faculty adviser in the Nutritional Sciences Program assists each student in identifying potential practicum sites.  Communication between the Program and the practicum site should be directed to the practicum faculty adviser.

  • Students will complete the MPH Practicum Prerequisite Form, and upload a copy of the original to the SPH – MPH Practicum Dropbox during their 1st Autumn quarter.
  • Students will annually attend the MPH-Nutrition Practicum Session during autumn quarter until they have presented at this session.
  • Before pursuing a practicum project, students will arrange a time to meet one-on-one with the faculty adviser to discuss their practicum placement. Since students must complete 3 quarters of course work before beginning the practicum, this meeting will be during the spring quarter of the first year at the earliest. GCPD students meetings will be scheduled in the fall of the second year.
  • Students will outline their project and the deliverables on the MPH Practicum Learning Contract.
  • Before collecting your site supervisor’s signature, email your learning contract to the Faculty Advisor for approval of the scope and nature of the project. The faculty adviser will modify (as necessary) and return it to you.
  • Have your site supervisor approve and sign the form.
  • Have the faculty advisor sign the form.
  • Upload a signed copy of the MPH Practicum Learning Contract to the SPH – MPH Practicum Dropbox. Keep the original for your records
  • Once the SPH-MPH Practicum Program receives your completed MPH Practicum Learning Contract, they will check if there is a current Education Affiliation Agreement with the practicum site.  If not, one will be initiated. This contract may take a few weeks and must be in place before you start at the facility.
  • Complete your practicum project. Periodically report on your progress to the Faculty Advisor (at least quarterly).
  • Complete a Mid-Point Review with your site supervisor using the MPH Practicum Learning Contract as a point of reference.  Upload a copy to the SPH – MPH Practicum Dropbox.
  • When the project is finished have your site supervisor fill out and review the Site Supervisor Evaluation Form with you.
  • Submit the SPH Site Supervisor Evaluation Form, Student Written Assignment and a draft of your Power Point Poster to the Faculty Advisor for grading. GCPD students submit via Canvas while registered in 561 for their public health concentration. Non-GCPD students will email deliverables to the Faculty Advisor.  Students not completing all aspects of the practicum during the quarter they register for credits will receive an incomplete until the work is finished.
  • Once approved by the faculty adviser, submit Site Supervisor Evaluation Form, the Student Written Assignment and the final Power Point Poster to the SPH – MPH Practicum Dropbox.
  • The SPH-MPH Practicum program will send the final checklist to students once they have received all forms and deliverables. The student obtains required signatures from the faculty adviser and the Program, then submits the form to the SPH – MPH Practicum Dropbox.
  • Present at the MPH-Nutrition Practicum Session the following autumn quarter.

The Program is responsible for reviewing student files to make sure all necessary administrative requirements are complete and providing the SPH-MPH Practicum Program with all necessary student information for data entry into the practicum database.

The SPH-MPH Practicum Program is responsible for the administrative aspects of the SPH practicum program.

The SPH-MPH Practicum Program is also responsible for:

  • Maintaining and tracking practicum forms
  • Initiation, processing and tracking of affiliation agreements
  • Responding to requests from community sites
  • Coordinating, staffing and providing quarterly reports to SPH MPH Program Steering Committee
  • Coordinating the annual Practicum Reception and Practicum Panel
  • Revising student and site supervisor’s practicum handbooks
  • Advertising new opportunities to students
  • Managing the SPH practicum website
  • Maintaining the SPH practicum database
  • Serving as point of contact for agencies interested in mentoring students.

Practicum Relationship to Thesis Research

A field experience could serve as the basis for both the practicum and a thesis. However, neither requirement should be diluted simply to allow them to be combined. A field setting could suggest a line of research that might lead to a thesis topic, or begin the process, but combining the practicum and a thesis is neither required nor expected.


All students in the MPH in Nutritional Sciences program must complete a practicum as required by the School of Public Health.

Nutritional Sciences Practicum Faculty Adviser

Anne Lund, MPH, RDN, FAND
324 Raitt Hall

Nutritional Sciences Student and Academic Services

NSP Graduate Student Services
305 Raitt Hall

School of Public Health Office of Student Affairs

MPH Practicum Program
F350 Health Sciences, Box 357230