Applied Practice Experience

An applied practice experience is required of all Master of Public Health students.  The purpose of this course (IPHS 650) is for students to acquire experience and develop practical skills in the application of public health competencies and concepts.  After completing the integrated core curriculum, the applied practice experience provides an opportunity for students to:

  • apply the content and analytical skills of MPH degree coursework to issues, situations, contexts, and projects associated with the experience.
  • gain or enhance knowledge or skills related to public health competencies.
  • use journaling as a mode of inquiry, reflection, and learning.
  • create a synopsis to summarize the activities and products from the experience.

Students will work under the supervision of a preceptor, a practicing public health professional with an advanced degree in public health who are generally mid-management or higher at an organization, generally with three or more years experience post-masters degree.

Interested in becoming an internship site for an MPH student? Learn more

Current AP experience opportunities

MPH Students in Action

  1. Sampada Mudgalkar, MPH in Community Health Sciences student, completed her applied practice experience at the CDC Quarantine Station at O'Hare International Airport, tracking controlled substances and objects brought into the country.
  2. Colin Hendrickson, MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences student, completed his global applied practice experience in Kenya, working with SPH's Dr. Samuel Dorevitch researching solar-powered water disinfection.
  3. Cortney Alleyne, MPH in Community Health Sciences student, completed her applied practice experience at the UI Health Sickle Cell Center, analyzing what motivates or discourages sickle cell disease patients to participate or not participate in research studies.
  4. Paris Bates (right side of table, far end), MPH in Epidemiology student, interned at the UI Cancer Center, exploring cancer disparities among African American men in Chicago's south and west sides, particularly assessing for lifestyle risk factors associated with diet and tobacco use.
  5. Muhammad Saif Ullah, MPH in Community Health Sciences student, worked at the Chicago Department of Public Health's Office of Violence Prevention and Behavioral Health for his applied practice experience, preparing for accreditation of Chicago mental health centers.

Previous applied practice experience sites

Registration Requirements and Deadlines

It is SPH policy that students need to complete the integrated core curriculum and have a GPA of 3.0 or better to register for the applied practice (AP) experience. Students are required to register for their AP experience (IPHS 650) for a minimum of 3 credit hours but students can register for up to 5 credit hours (between 192 and 320 hours in the field, where 1 credit hour is equal to 64 contact hours). The applied practice experience can be completed in a single semester or over several semesters. Students may choose a cost saving option by requesting to register for 0 credit hours in the summer semester but, they must get approval from the applied practice experience advisor, the experience must overlap at least 4 weeks into the fall or spring semester, and the student has to be registered for 3-5 semester hours during that semester.  Please note, during the summer semester, students will still be charged a graduate base fee, tuition differentials, fees and assessments even though they are registered for 0 credit hours.

Registration Deadlines

Semester Meet with advisor Ideal submissions of learning agreement to advisor Register by (4:00 p.m. CST)
Spring 2021 Beginning of October December/January January 22
Summer 2021 Beginning of February April/May May 19
Fall 2021 Beginning of May July/August September 3

Registration Details

  • Ideally you should meet with your AP Experience advisor at least 3-4 months before you want to register for the course.
  • Typically, the advisor will have comments and edits that will need to be incorporated into the learning agreement you originally submit to them. You will also need your preceptor to review the document and sign it. We suggest you allow at least 2 weeks for this process. Please note that standard business/professional etiquette is to allow 3 business days for a response, this applies to both your AP advisor and your preceptor so you should plan accordingly.
  • Once you complete your learning agreement your advisor will submit it to the UIC SPH Office of Student Affairs (OSA). After they process your paperwork, you will receive an email from OSA stating that you have access to register for the course. Then you will have to go into the system and register for the course. In order to meet the deadline, you must go into the system and register for the course before the end of day (4:30pm) on the date indicated above.
  • If an IPHS 650 Registration Request form is submitted after the tenth day of term, you will no longer be able to electronically enroll or drop a class. The following will take place:
    1. Your request will be forwarded to the office of the registrar for processing.
    2. You will not receive an “access to register” for class email.
    3. You must log onto my.UIC within 24 hours of submission to ensure that your scheduleof classes reflect the additional course and hours.
    4. A $50.00 Late registration fee will be applied to your account if you are not alreadyenrolled in at least one other course for the term.

Human Subjects Research (HSR) Training

Students must complete CITI Initial Training through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research before starting their applied practice experience. If  you have any questions about these trainings, contact your division’s academic coordinator.

Planning your applied practice experience

Student Frequently Asked Questions