Practicum Information for Preceptors

As a requirement established by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), all Master of Public Health students must complete a 135-hour applied learning experience, or practicum. Since practical knowledge and skills are essential to a successful career in public health, a planned, supervised, and evaluated practicum is an essential component of a public health professional degree program. The goal of the practicum is to provide opportunities for students to synthesize, integrate, and apply practical skills, knowledge, and training learned through courses, gain professional experience in a public health work environment, and to work on public health issues that are of particular interest to the student. 

New Practicum Sites and Preceptors 

Practicum Sites 

The MPH program partners with various community-based organizations in Detroit and surrounding areas in order to provide students with a quality experience that relates to the students professional interests and goals, provides them with an opportunity to explore new fields or organizations, and enhances their professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes, all while serving their host site. Types of host sites include but are not limited to: 

  • Local and state public health agencies 
  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • Hospitals and for-profit businesses . 

Site Preceptors 

Preceptors are responsible for providing guidance, supervision, and evaluation of the public health activities in the field. Site preceptors usually have an advanced degree, ideally an MPH, and at least five years public health work experience. Site preceptors are expected to orient the student to the agency/organization and assist the student in gaining access to resources, information, and data required for the student to complete the learning goals and objectives of the practicum. Those who are interested in becoming an MPH practicum preceptor should fill out the New Practicum Preceptor Application

The Practicum Process for Preceptors 

Proposed Work

All established MPH practicum preceptors will be surveyed prior to the start of each new semester to gauge their interest in and ability to host one or more practicum students in the semester following. At that time, any interested preceptors will be expected to submit a summary of proposed work. The summary should include the number of students the site and/or preceptor would like to host and brief descriptions of the work students will be expected to complete. Please see the proposed work for Spring/Summer 2019 below. 


After students complete the requirements to become eligible to enroll in the practicum, they will meet in-person with the Practicum Director at which time they will address their interests, career goals, and skills. In addition, students will review the proposed work, submitted by each preceptor, with the Practicum Director. When a suitable placement is identified, students will be required to reach out to the preceptor via email, attaching their resume, and requesting an informational meeting with the preceptor. This meeting will serve as an opportunity for the preceptor to meet directly with the student to discuss the site, the proposed work, and determine if the student will be a good fit for the site. 

The Learning Contract

Students are required to choose at least three core competencies and at least two concentration competencies to focus on throughout their practicum. The Learning Contract establishes those student-desired competencies, the site/preceptor expectations, deliverables, and timeline prior to the start of the practicum. Preceptors should be prepared to discuss these items with the student at the in-person meeting or within the first week of the students' practicum work hours. 

Completion of the Practicum

In order to complete the practicum, students are required to submit an updated resume, a signed time log, an abstract, and a poster detailing their practicum. They must also demonstrate that they have achieved their selected competencies through submission of their required Deliverables.