The Muskie School Graduate Program in Public Health field experience provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills learned in our academic program through a practice-based experience in a setting that is relevant to students’ interests and areas of specialization. Field site settings can include hospitals, health care systems, government agencies, community organizations, schools, research institutions, and private institutions.
Through the field experience, students will be able to:
- Integrate public health theory, knowledge, and skills in a community or public health practice setting;
- Experience public health practice in the field – organizational structure, local and organizational politics, program administration, community relationships, and program coordination;
- Develop a scope of work and complete defined activities that are linked to one or more MPH program competencies;
- Gain/expand/develop skills and knowledge in an area of interest not covered in depth elsewhere in the student’s educational plan;
- Demonstrate leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and creativity in the development and/or implementation of a public health practice activity.
Through the field experience, Muskie School Masters in Public Health Degree students will be able to:
- Begin or further develop their professional networks
- Gain work experience
- Develop greater mastery in one or more Masters in Public Health Program competencies.
A field experience is required of all students in the program as condition of graduation. Students can register (MPH 698) once they have completed three core courses.
Students are required to register for 3 credit hours and a minimum of 180 hours of field work.
While the field experience entails 180 hours of work over the course of an academic semester, students can be flexible in arranging work hours and location with their preceptors. For example, a field experience can be completed by working full time for a month during the summer.
Additional requirements include:
- A fully completed planning document that outlines expectations
- A scope of work that includes a brief description of the field placement activity, learning objectives, tasks, deliverables and timeline
- Weekly logs
- A final written report (3 pages) that summarizes information documented in the weekly logs. Students should include in their report a discussion of learning objectives and related competencies as evidenced through completed activities and products. Include a copy of any written or electronic deliverables produced for the placement organization.
Choosing the Site for the Field Experience
- The field experience will play a major role in furthering the careers of MPH students. Therefore, final choice of the site should be deferred until the student has had some discussion with his or her adviser regarding career plans. Students whose career plans are uncertain should at least be able to limit the options as part of these discussions and reflect on their professional goals. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule a meeting with the academic adviser to discuss plans for the field placement. It is the academic adviser’s responsibility to monitor each advisee’s progress, and suggest when it seems appropriate to begin discussions of the appropriate site.
- Students do not have to obtain the placement through the Muskie School. Many students locate excellent opportunities for field experiences with organizations that they have a direct interest in, or from other personal or professional sources. The Muskie School has assisted in the placement of graduate students in a variety of organizations; public, private and non-profit, with local, state and national organizations. Some positions are paid, but there are significant opportunities for which the lack of pay is offset by the valuable experience gained.
- Students enrolled for field placement credit will receive a Pass or Fail grade. To receive a passing grade, students must complete the required hours, submit the Weekly Log sheets, Final Report and the Field Placement Evaluation Form.
Approval of Preceptors and Preceptor Qualifications
Preceptors are identified through three major sources including those who:
- have existing relationships with faculty and staff;
- are considered respected leaders and practitioners in public health and/or health management and policy; and
- are identified by students as a potential preceptor.
Field Placement Deliverables
- Field Experience Planning Document (Academic Adviser, Student, Preceptor)
- Weekly Log – (Student)
- Final Report - (Student)
- Copy of product(s) if applicable – (Student)
- Evaluation of Placement – (Student)
- Preceptor Evaluation – (Preceptor)
Field Experience Planning Document
The Field Experience Planning Document consists of three sections. The first section is the face page in which specific information about the student, preceptor, field placement site, and arrangements for the field placement are entered.
The second section is where the student will provide a brief description of the overall goal of the placement in 250-300 words. This scope of work should reflect the planning conversations between the preceptor, the MPH student and the academic advisor.
The final section of the planning document consists of a template for the student to develop learning objectives (related to MPH competencies). Students should prepare the template with 3-4 learning objectives in consultation with academic advisor and preceptor. Under each learning objective, the student should list activities that will be completed in order to achieve the learning objective. Following the activities is a section that will indicate products, output or other evidence that the learning objective was achieved.
The Field Experience Planning Document should be signed by the Academic Adviser, Student, and Preceptor.
The Field Experience Guide Appendix contains all required forms and templates for the MPH field experience including checklists for both the student and the field experience preceptor.
For further questions and assistance, please contact the MPH Field Experience Coordinator, Judy Tupper, at (207) 228-8407 or email@example.com