Frequently Asked Questions - Student

It’s good to start thinking as soon as you start the MPH program, even though you will not be eligible to register for the internship until after your core coursework is completed. The most beneficial internships are those that help you to gain experience in an organization or on a project relevant to what you want to do in your public health career.

Upload your resume to HireABlazer, if you do not currently have a document approved in the system. It often takes students several rounds of revision before their document is approved. You can also review internship opportunities, even if you’re not yet ready to apply. While looking at these opportunities it’s important to ask yourself, “Am I interested in gaining this experience, and is it related to my department/program?” If your answer is yes, be sure to identify what skills sets are more important to doing well in the internship and be sure you’ve highlighted in your resume what makes you a good candidate. You can also set up an appointment with Meagan Butler, your public health career advisor with UAB Career and Professional Development. UAB Career and Professional Development can assist with resume/CV review, setting up mock interviews, general career planning, determining the most effective job search strategies. 

No. Waivers are not granted for the MPH internship course.

Applied practice experiences may involve governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial and for-profit settings or appropriate university-affiliated settings. To be appropriate for applied practice experience activities, university-affiliated settings must be primarily focused on community engagement, typically with external partners. University health promotion or wellness centers may also be appropriate. Activities meeting the applied practical experience should be mutually beneficial to both the site and the student.

You can view past internship placement sites here

Yes. HOWEVER, your internship must still be public health-practice based AND it must go above and beyond what your normal job duties include i.e. your internship must be a separate project and/or additional activity. Your normal job duties will not fulfill the requirement. Please contact your internship coordinator if you have any questions. 

Ultimately, your faculty advisor will decide if the internship meets the requirements for your degree track. In general, your internship should align with the MPH Internship objectives listed in the syllabus.  Prior to completing the Internship Description and Agreement Form in InternTrack, you’re encouraged to meet with and identify the activities of the internship with your site supervisor; however, completing this information in the Internship Description and Agreement form is your responsibility. Through the activities of your internship, you must be able to apply at least five (5) competencies, of which at least three (3) must be MPH foundational competencies, along with any additional foundational or concentration-specific competencies, if appropriate. The focus should be on competencies related to your area of specialty in the MPH program. The activities will describe what you will do in your internship to be sure you achieve proficiency in the competency you selected. 

The majority of students will have their assigned faculty advisor serve as their faculty advisor for the internship course. However, you may ask another faculty member to serve as your faculty advisor if he/she is an expert in an area that relates to your internship. You must discuss this with your assigned faculty advisor, the faculty member you wish to be your supervisor, and your program coordinator prior to registering for the course.

Per the Internship Description and Agreement, your faculty advisor agrees to:
  • Assist the student in identifying organizations interested in participating in the internship program.
  • Review and approve the intern’s plan. Aid the student in outlining the objectives, competencies, and activities, if necessary, ensure that they meet CEPH requirements.
  • Advise the student if IRB approval is necessary.
  • Be accessible to students and the agency preceptor as needed during the period of field training. Discuss the student’s progress at least once midway through the internship.
  • Call the student for a conference whenever a potential problem appears to have arisen.
  • Remove the student if it is deemed that either the student or the setting is inappropriate.
  • Encourage the intern and the agency preceptor to provide constructive feedback regarding his/her academic preparation and the operation of the internship program.
  • Attend the poster session (if the student completes an alternative poster session, watch their internship video). If unable to attend the poster session, arrange for another faculty member in the department to stop by the student's poster.   
  • Evaluate the progress of the intern using program goals, preceptor reports, his/her evaluation, final report, and internship poster.
  • Assign a final grade (pass/fail) for the internship based on the final deliverables and evaluation.


Per the Internship Description and Agreement, your site supervisor agrees to:

  • Develop a job description along with the student intern before the internship begins.
  • Explain the structure and function of the agency.
  • If available, provide the student with space within the organization in which to work while doing the practice experience and include the student in agency/interagency meetings.
  • Introduce the student personnel within the agency and to representatives of other community agencies when relevant.
  • Provide direct guidance and supervision of the student during planned internship activities.
  • Notify the faculty advisor and internship coordinator if any problem arises.
  • Provide a model of professional work habits and attitudes.
  • Maintain periodic contact with the faculty supervisor and student intern. Discuss the student’s progress at least once midway through the internship.
  • Evaluate overall student performance at the completion of the internship. 

No, your internship preceptor should be different from your faculty advisor. You preceptor will be overseeing and evaluating your performance with the organization during the internship. Your faculty advisor helps you to connect your internship experiences back to your academic program and provides additional guidance for questions you may have while completing the internship.

Yes.  You cannot start your internship until you have registered for the course, and not before the first day of class for the semester.  Do not wait until the last minute to start this process.  In order to have the hold lifted from the course, you must do the following:

  • Secure an internship location
  • Complete the Internship Description and Agreement form in InternTrack
  • Have your faculty advisor and preceptor electronically sign off on your Internship Description and Agreement Form
  • Once the signatures are on file, your program coordinator will be notified and your hold will be lifted.

A hold will be placed on the internship course. In order to have the hold removed, complete the Internship Description and Agreement form in InternTrack. Request that your faculty advisor and site supervisor log in to electronically sign off on this document. Once both signatures are on file, a hyperlink on your main screen title “Request Hold to be Lifted” will become active. Click on this link to prompt an email to be sent to your program coordinator with confirmation that the signatures are on file. Your Program Coordinator will then go in and lift the hold from the course. Do not wait until the last minute to complete this process as sending the email does not automatically remove the hold in the system. 

You will need to register for the 3-hour internship course specific to your department (HCO, ENH, EPI, HB, PUH). Regardless of the department, the course number is 697. Be sure to register under your faculty advisor.

You will receive a Pass or No Pass grade for your internship. Your grade is assigned by your faculty advisor based on completion of the internship requirements.

Students are required to work at least 180 hours over the semester.  This is an estimate of approximately 13 hours per week. However, preceptors can require the student complete additional hours. You should be fully engaged with your organization during that time. While internship projects may require you to occasionally travel offsite from the organization you are working with, you cannot work from home and count hours toward your internship.

The student is responsible for arranging a method to keep track of the number of hours worked with the organization during their internship. At the end of the semester, the preceptor is asked to verify that the student completed a minimum of 180 hours, or the number of hours agreed upon by the organization and student.

You are eligible for internship after completing your core coursework. You cannot start your internship before the first day of classes. In addition, in order to start your internship you must complete the following: Internship Description and Agreement, obtain electronic approval from your preceptor (site supervisor) and faculty advisor, receive confirmation the hold has been lifted from the course, and register for the internship course.

Yes, interns can be “fired” from an internship position. However, we request that any problems at a site be reported by the student or site supervisor as soon as possible so that any issue can be resolved prior to taking the steps to remove a student from an internship position.

You will be required to do the following:

  • Submit a 5 page paper reflecting on your internship experience
  • Submit an evaluation of your internship
  • Create a poster, professionally print your poster, and attend the poster session
  • Domplete any final projects (and required hours) expected by the site and preceptor

You should also talk with your site supervisor to be sure he/she completes the final evaluation in InternTrack. All documents will be able to be viewed by all parties. Any concerns you do not want to address in the paper of evaluation should be brought to the attention of your faculty advisor or the Office of Public Health Practice and your internship coordinator,

At the end of the internship, prior to the end of exams for that semester, a poster session will be held to showcase the internships completed during that semester. You will receive additional instructions on creating your poster prior to the event. Attendance is mandatory, as it is a required component to the internship experience. Limited exceptions will be made for students completed internships out of the state or country, completing their residemcu at the time of the poster session, or cannot attend due to medical reasons. Students who are unable to present during the poster session must request for an alternate presentation option at least two weeks prior to the poster session via InternTrack. 

Yes. If you are a F-1 or J-1 visa holder, please be sure to read, understand, and follow the requirements stated on the Internship Polices and Procedures page in advance of your internship search. If you have any questions about your status or the requirements, please contact the International Scholar and Student Services office at 934-3328. 

Most internships in Hire a Blazer will have a deadline or end posting date. Do not expect to hear from the organization until after the deadline, if given. After the deadline for applications, most organizations will spend a week reviewing applications, a week to conducting interviews, and a week to notify applicants. Most organizations will only contact those that they are interested in interviewing for the internship position. This process normally takes several weeks. Be sure to apply early so you have adequate time to complete your initial paperwork, get signatures, and register for the internship course.

It depends. The range for stipends or salaries varies widely depending on the organization.  If travel and relocation are involved, students might expect some sort of compensation or stipend. Some organizations have a need for an intern, but are unable to provide a stipend. They normally offer something unique that students cannot find elsewhere.