A well-designed practicum project will be one of your most rewarding learning experiences during the MPH program. While you will continue to seek professional development throughout your career, the practicum is a unique window of opportunity to work in a new type of organization, learn new skills, work with accomplished professionals, and build up competencies that are expected of a leading public health practitioner.
A successful practicum experience begins with identifying a suitable project early in your program and having a clear understanding of deadlines and requirements for your particular field of study.
So how do you identify the project and host agency for your practicum? You will likely explore several possibilities and it is important to know that each potential project presents different opportunities. One option, for example, may be with a type of organization you would like to work with in the future and would add to your content knowledge and help build your network, but it may not add many new skills or competencies. A second option may be not be in your content area and is out of your comfort zone, but offers you a chance to add new types of project experience that would add breadth to your portfolio and a chance to take the lead on innovative policy recommendations. Consider that Practicum is a time when you can take risks and stretch – and that challenges and surprises are likely to offer you some of your most intriguing and lasting learnings.