MPH Internship Overview

What is the MPH internship?
According to the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), all MPH students must demonstrate competency attainment through an applied practice experience that is relevant to the student’s area of specialization.  For MPH students in the School of Public Health (SOPH), this applied practice experience is a three (3) credit hour internship completed over a single semester. The internship is planned, supervised, and evaluated throughout the semester by the faculty advisor, agency preceptor (site supervisor), and internship coordinator. The MPH Internship provides an opportunity for  students to gain hands-on experience in a public health practice setting.
Who completes an MPH Internship?
All MPH students are required to complete an internship as part of their degree curriculum. NO WAIVERS!
When do students complete the MPH Internship?
Students are eligible to complete the MPH internship after the completion of all of their core public health courses. Usually, this means that students must wait until their 3rd semester to complete the internship. The internship must be approved electronically by the faculty advisor and preceptor through InternTrack, the SOPH's system for managing internships, before the student can register. The internship must be completed in a single semester. MPH Internship Timeline.
Where can students complete the MPH Internship?
Internship sites may include governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial and for-profit settings or appropriate university-affiliated settings. To be appropriate for the MPH internship, university-affiliated settings must be primarily focused on community engagement, typically with external partners. University health promotion or wellness centers may be appropriate. Applied practice activities should allow students the opportunity to address a critical public health issue in the community and should not be primarily administrative or research in nature.
How do students secure an internship?
Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to secure an internship. Students should start looking for internships at least 2-3 months prior to the semester in which they intend to complete their internship. Internship opportunities are posted in the Get a Handle Student Newsletter and Handshake, UAB Career Center's job/internship search platform. Students are also encouraged to view a sampling of Past Internship Sites to see where other students have interned in the past. Students can also identify their own internship opportunity as long as it satisfies the MPH Internship Requirements. 
Students should not wait until the last 2-3 weeks before the semester begins to start thinking about where to complete the internship. 
What are the requirements of the MPH internship?
  • The focus of the internship MUST be public health practice. Internships which are solely academic research, clinical, and administrative internships are not appropriate. 
  • The internship must allow the student to demonstrate the attainment of five (5) MPH Competencies. Of these three (3) must be MPH Foundational Competencies, the remaining two (2) may be Foundational or Departmental Competencies.
  • The student must be able to submit a minimum of  two (2) work products demonstrating competency attainment in all five (5) competencies.  Products are tangible work items developed by the student during their internship. These products must be approved by the preceptor prior to the start of the internship and be beneficial to both the student and internship organization. 
  • The student must complete a minimum of 180 contact hours with the organization during the semester in which they register for the internship, however the student's preceptor can require the student complete additional hours. All hours must be completed in a single semester. 
  • The student must be registered before beginning the internship.
  • In order to register for the internship, the internship must be approved electronically by the faculty advisor and preceptor through InternTrack. 
  • Once approved in InternTrack, the student will register for a 3-credit hour course (EPI, ENH, HCO, HB, PUH 697/697Q) in BlazerNet under their faculty advisor. 
  • Students cannot start the internship prior to the first day of class and must have all hours completed by the last day of class for that semester. 
  • All core MPH courses must be completed to be eligible to complete the internship
  • All forms are tracked using InternTrack; all deliverables are submitted in InternTrack
Internship Documentation
The following documents are required as part of the planning and evaluation of the internship. 
  • Internship Description and Agreement (completed by the student; approved by the faculty advisor & preceptor)*
  • Student Midpoint Evaluation of Internship Experience 
  • Preceptor Midpoint Evaluation of Student Performance 
  • Faculty Advisor Midpoint Meeting Confirmation 
  • Student Final Evaluation of the Internship Experience
  • Hours Log (tracked by student)
  • A minimum of 2 Final Work Products demonstrating competency attainment 
  • Preceptor Final Evaluations of Student Performance
  • Student Final Internship Poster and attendance at Internship Poster Session
  • Other Deliverables and Products as determined by the Site and Preceptor
* Note: You CANNOT REGISTER until your Internship Description and Agreement form is complete with approvals in InternTrack.