Each year, 240+ UTHealth School of Public Health students participate in a practice-based experience (i.e., practicum) in Texas, the US, and in over 20 countries.
These students annually contribute 43,000+ hours of high-quality public health engagement leading to the betterment of themselves, their host organizations, and the communities they serve. Over 480 impactful products are produced annually due to these experiences, including community needs assessments; intervention development; community surveys; data collection and analysis; literature reviews; and more.
UTHealth SPH students enrolled across all six Texas campuses are prepared and eager for opportunities.
About the Practicum
Students enrolled in a Master of Public Health (MPH) or Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program are required to complete a practicum that both engages the student’s goals and interests and benefits the host organization and community. Students work with a faculty mentor and a community preceptor (site supervisor) to complete this 180-contact hour experience and produce required deliverables.
Experiences can be in-person or virtual; paid or unpaid; and occur during any semester (spring, summer, or fall).
All experiences are required to have a direct or indirect community engagement component which could include working with the community or through creating deliverables for the community (e.g., surveys, resources, informational materials).
Ready to Host a Student?
Preceptors are needed to help prepare our students for real-world public health practice. Serving as a preceptor benefits all involved and can help enhance the delivery of public health throughout the world.
Serve as a Community Preceptor
The community preceptor, or site supervisor, is an employee or an authorized affiliate of the host organization who oversees the practicum.
- Guide students on project and deliverables
- Orient students to a practice setting and organizational and institutional policies
- Provide supervision of students and feedback on performance
Hear from Recent Preceptors
"It's been a pleasure working with the UTHealth School of Public Health and (I) have enjoyed the various levels of competencies and skills from students."
-The Arc of the Capital Area
"I love the opportunity to host practicum students in our office. I have always had exceptional interns from the UTHealth School of Public Health, and the latest student was no exception. Our student made great contributions to our program to address the pandemic and advance our program through evaluation."
-University of Texas Administration
"The students that have volunteered at our office have been phenomenal. It's refreshing to see the next generation committed to the future of health in our community."
-Rawlings Dental Clinic
Connecting Students with Opportunities in Four Steps
- Identify Suitable Opportunities for Student Projects and Deliverables
Do you need an evaluation plan or a training webinar for program curriculum? Or maybe you are interested in writing a grant or creating health communication messaging. Examples of suitable deliverables are available by program and major in the resources linked below.
- Identify Student Characteristics that Best Fit the Opportunity
MPH and DrPH students across all programs (Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, Environmental Science, and Management, Policy & Community Health) are required to pursue a practicum. Depending on your project needs, you may want to select a student from a certain program or campus. This is also an opportunity for you to determine if this will be an in-person or virtual experience.
- Post and Promote your Opportunities
- UTHealth School of Public Health uses Handshake, the #1 early-career community platform, to post available practicum and employment opportunities. Employers can create a free account and post general and position-specific. A guide to Handshake for preceptors is available in the resources linked below.
- Let us know how we can help! The Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement can assist with posting opportunities to Handshake if needed and promote opportunities through various means of direct communication to our students.
Click Here to complete our Preceptor Inquiry Form and connect with a member of our practicum services team.
- Select a Student
- Identify a student that fits through your preferred means (e.g., interview) and work with them and their faculty mentor to produce and review a learning contract outlining expectations of the experience and student responsibilities.
- The learning contract process will be initiated by the student, and a fully-approved learning contract is required before the student can start their practicum experience.
The Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement provides tools and resources to students, faculty, and preceptors to help guide the practicum experience. These include the following resources for preceptors.
Have a question or would you like to discuss hosting a student? Our team is ready to help. Contact the Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement at Practicum@uth.tmc.edu.