Current Students

Field Experience

Field Experience is the name of the required practicum experience for MPH students enrolled prior to Fall 2018 (MPH students enrolled Fall 2018 or later need to complete an Applied Practice experience instead).

Field Experience is the opportunity students have to to implement their public health knowledge in a real world-setting. Students are to practice for 120 hrs under the supervision of a preceptor, enroll for 3 credits (course number PubH 7X96) and identify specific goals and objectives.

If you have questions about Field Experience requirements and eligibility, please contact your program coordinator or advisor.

Steps and Process to Follow:

If you enrolled in the MPH Program before Fall 2018, verify with your program coordinator and advisor about starting your Field Experience.

  1. Access the Field Experience Module using your University Internet ID. Click on “Start the learning agreement for a new field experience”:
    1. Student: this section will be automatically filled out. Review all information is correct.
    2. Faculty Advisor: select your SPH Academic Advisor using the drop-down menu or by providing their University Internet ID
    3. International Experience: if the experience will be international, select “yes”, complete the section and contact Mercedes Taneja ( for information on the Departmental Emergency Contact and how to register your upcoming travel with the GPS Alliance
    4. Preceptor: find your preceptor using the drop-down menu.
    5. Registration Information: complete section and ask program coordinator for any questions.
    6. Signatories. Provide electronic signatures using checkboxes.
  2. Save the Learning Agreement as a Draft (Save as a Draft) and return to it later, or Submit when it’s ready for submission.
  3. Once your Learning Agreement has been submitted, your academic advisor and preceptor will receive email notifications, asking them to review and approve your Learning Agreement electronically. They may request further information and clarification.
  4. Then, your Program Coordinator will receive an email notification asking them to review and approve the Learning Agreement. At that time, they will provide you with a permission number to register for the course.
  5. Once the four signatures are recorded (student’s, academic advisor’s, preceptor’s, program coordinator’s) students may begin their practice.
  6. After the experience has been completed (end date is in the past), the Field Experience module will send you a notification, asking you to complete the Student Evaluation.
  7. Once the Student Evaluation has been completed, your preceptor will be asked to complete a Preceptor Evaluation.
  8. When the Preceptor Evaluation has been completed, your advisor will be notified, for grading purposes.

Finding a Site and/or Preceptor:

Students utilize many different resources and strategies to locate field experience opportunities and connect with organizations:

  1. Begin by having a conversation with your academic advisor about your academic and career goals.
    Consider connecting with former and/or current supervisors of work and volunteer opportunities, related to Public Health.
  2. Visit the Field Experience Module, which allows you to search for past field experiences (once logged in, click “Search for past field experiences” under “Get Started”).
  3. Connect with SPH Alumni through alumni community events, SPH Mentor Program and utilize the University of Minnesota School of Public Health LinkedIn group to contact alumni to do an informational interview.
  4. Start networking with individuals who work in your area of interest (specific position, organization, industry) and ask for an informational interview (PDF). They are one of the best ways to learn about industries, careers and organizations and possibly field experience opportunities not advertised.
  5. Visit the SPH job posting system allows you to search for field experience opportunities and part-time opportunities that may meet the field experience requirement.

During and After Your Field Experience: Student Responsibilities:

  1. As mentioned above, complete the Student Evaluation (see a sample in the field experience module);
  2. Send a formal letter of thanks to their field preceptor;
  3. Keep a copy of your field experience learning agreement.

Contact Us

If you have questions about Field Experience requirements, please contact your program coordinator or advisor.

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