USC's home for public health sciences


USC Master of Public Health Practicum

Practicum Requirement

An integral part of the USC MPH program is the practicum, a structured and supervised professional experience with an approved agency for which students receive academic credit. As a working partnership between students and public health agencies, the practicum offers students hands-on experience in an area of public health, including county, state, federal or community-based agencies. The goal of the practicum is to further students’ practical experience while enhancing the work of public health. Through the practicum, students have the opportunity to demonstrate an integration of coursework into a real-world setting, preparing them for a professional career in public health.

MPH Practicum Syllabus - PM 596:

  • Practicum Syllabus PM 596
    Practicum Syllabus - PM 596
Student Practicum Profile
Eligibility and Waiver Criteria

Students are eligible for the practicum (PM 596) upon completion of at least 3 MPH courses. We strongly recommend that these 3 classes include 2 public health core classes and one track core class. One of the 3 MPH classes may be taken concurrently with PM 596. In addition, students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in order to begin their practicum. Because the project students complete in PM 597: Public Health Capstone builds upon the practicum, we encourage you to complete the practicum before you register for PM 597.

For students entering the MPH Program in Fall 2013 or thereafter, the requirement for number of field work hours is 150 for dual degree students and 300 for general MPH students.

Automatic practicum hour waivers will be given to students enrolled in one of the USC MPH professional dual degree programs (i.e., MD/MPH, PharmD/MPH, PhD, Clinical Psychology/MPH or PPDPT/MPH). Dual degree students entering the program in Fall 2013 or thereafter will register for 1 units of PM 596 (Practicum) and 1 units of PM 597 (Capstone) and complete 150 field training hours.


Students with previous public health employment also may be eligible for a waiver of hours. Applications will only be considered if students can verify three years of continuous, paid, public health employment prior to enrollment in the MPH program. Public health work involves organized community-based efforts. Clinical experience involving individual patient care or health facility administration is not considered relevant public health experience.

International Practicum Opportunities

Aiming to expand students’ research and professional experience in addressing global health issues, faculty in the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health coordinate practicum opportunities to enhance the recruitment of diverse students into global health research and practice.

Forms to be completed by the Agency:

  • Information for New Practicum Supervisors
    Information for New Practicum Supervisors
  • Internship affiliation agreement
    Completed by the agency and signed by a designated staff member and the Vice Provost of Planning and Budget at USC. This form is completed prior to placing a student in a site. This form is not necessary for placements within USC.
  • Field Supervisor Evaluation Form
    Completed by the supervisor upon completion of hours.
  • International Practicum Affiliation Agreement


Forms to be completed by the Student:

  • MPH Competency Checklist
    To be completed ONE semester BEFORE you register for 596 (aka Student Interview Form).
  • Student Agreement-Legal Form
    This form outlines policies and procedures to be followed by students completing field training. This form is to be completed by the student and requires proof of health insurance.
  • List of Practicum Sites
    A List of Practicum Sites
  • Practicum Approval Form
    MPH Practicum Approval Form
  • Practicum FAQ
    Frequently asked questions regarding the USC MPH Practicum.