A practicum is a planned, individualized, mentored, evaluated, experiential learning opportunity that serves as a bridge between a student’s academic training and applied public health practice.

The practicum provides special opportunities for learning that are different from, supplementary to, and supportive of the academic components of the Virginia Tech MPH degree program. All students will complete a practicum during their degree program, and are permitted to begin upon completion of 21 credits. Practicum experiences can occur anywhere, including both domestic and international settings, and can be paid or unpaid. During the practicum, a student is directly supervised and mentored by an appointed on-site preceptor. The student’s faculty advisor provides additional support, guidance, and expertise to the experience, and the MPH practicum coordinator handles the practicum logistics. 

Practicum students contribute to infectious disease research, program evaluation, communication and social media strategy, nutrition education and so much more.

MPH Practicum - Sam in India
MPH Practicum - Ashley
MPH Practicum - Penny in Malawi

The 8 week, 300 hour practicum offers students the opportunity to:

  • Apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom from core, concentration and professional preparation MPH courses;
  • Understand the social, political, economic, and organizational context within which public health activities occur;
  • Contribute to the work and impact of a public health agency, institution or organization;
  • Observe and learn from professionals in the field;
  • Explore areas of professional interest and develop career goals;
  • Gain feedback on professional skills and abilities;
  • Become acquainted with, and network with agencies and community groups engaged in public health efforts.