Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to register for the practicum and is a faculty approval code required?
Yes, you register for PH 9997. Registration requires that you complete a learning contract before enrolling in the practicum and online seminar. When you register for PH 9997, you are enrolled in the online seminar. The Office of Public Health Practice will forward the approval code after you complete the practicum orientation and learning contract.  

Are there any prerequisites to register for practicum?
No, there are no curricular prerequisites to register for practicum. Consult your faculty advisor to help you determine the ideal time to complete your practicum.  Complete the online practicum orientation.

Do you have practica available or do I need to develop one?
Current opportunities are listed at Find a Practicum.  (To access this site, you must be logged into the UTHealth intranet).  Many students in consultation with faculty design their own practicum. 

May I complete the practicum requirement at my own place of employment?
Yes, this is possible.  As with any other practicum, you must develop a learning contract with learning objectives and a final product. Your work for the practicum should be separate from and in addition to your job duties as an employee. Likewise, your final product should not be something that you would create as part of your job, without the practicum. 

May I start my practicum in the middle of a semester even if I have not yet registered for the practicum course?
Yes.  First complete a learning contract. Then e-mail your faculty mentor and our office at to let us know that you have a learning contract that requires our approval. Once we receive registration codes for the following semester, we will send you a registration code and you can then register for the practicum course. Regardless of when you start, you are required to complete 180 hours of practicum for 3 credits (1 credit = 60 hours). 

I am ready to start my practicum, but I missed the registration deadline.  What should I do?
You may still start your practicum this semester. See reply to the question above.  You will register and receive credit for the practicum course the following semester.  

May I complete a practicum in a one month? 
Yes. Your schedule to complete the required 180 practicum hours is up to you, your faculty mentor, and your preceptor. 

May I spread my practicum over more than one semester?
Yes, with your faculty mentor's and preceptor's approval.  Your learning contract should reflect the planned start and end date of your practicum and the number of hours per week.  

May I enroll in more than three credit hours for practicum?
 If approved by your faculty advisor, you may enroll in more than three practicum credit hours. However, only three credit hours count toward your degree.

What happens if I have already registered for practicum and won’t be able to complete the requirements during the semester?
Notify your faculty mentor that you won't be able to complete your practicum hours and/or the final product(s).  Your faculty mentor can assign an incomplete for the semester. When you complete the requirements, your faculty mentor will change your grade. E-mail to notify us that you will be completing your practicum the following semester.

Are there special requirements for international students?
See the International Students tab under the main Practicum webpage. 

Do I get paid for my practicum?
Some preceptors provide a stipend, but most practica are unpaid. If you are an international student and you will receive a stipend or your unpaid practicum converts to a paid practicum (or vice-versa), notify your international advisor of the change.

I have experience in public health. Can I opt out of or waive the practicum?
No, all MPH and DrPH students are required to complete a practicum.  

Who can serve as my faculty mentor?
Typically, your faculty advisor will fill this role; however, any faculty at the UTHealth School of Public Health can act as your faculty sponsor.

Can my faculty mentor also be my preceptor?
Beginning in the Fall 2017 semester, we will no longer allow one person to serve BOTH the preceptor and faculty sponsor roles on the same practicum. 

I can't find the practicum course on Canvas. What should I do?
The practicum course currently is not on Canvas.  Complete your learning contract objectives, practicum contact hours, and final product(s) and send your final product(s) to your faculty mentor. The practicum office will not make additional assignments beyond your learning contract commitments. Your faculty mentor, however, may make additional assignments or request additional information.

Where are the evaluations and who should complete the evaluations?
Near the end of the semester, you will receive an e-mail to the online student evaluation. Your preceptor will also receive an e-mail to complete an online evaluation of your performance on the practicum and of the practicum program. Your faculty mentor will receive a copy of the preceptor’s evaluation.

I need to travel for my practicum. Can the Office of Public Health Practice fund my travel?
Unfortunately, the Office of Public Health Practice does not have any funding available for student travel.  However, the School of Public Health offers the Palmer Beasley M.D. Travel Award in International Research, which may be used for international travel for practicum.  For more details about applying to this funding opportunity, find the award under General Scholarships on the Endowed Scholarships webpage. 

 Additionally, the Student Assistance Fund (up to $200) may be used to offset your practicum travel expenses.  For more information on this award, refer to the Student Assistance webpage.

If traveling for your practicum, please refer to Practicum Travel webpage to obtain approval for your travel.  Please note that for UTHealth to reimburse you for any of your travel, you must purchase your airline ticket through Corporate Travel Planners. 

Am I required to submit an e-Mag article for my practicum?
No, the Office of Public Health Practice does not require you to submit an e-Mag article or reflection paper to our office.  If your faculty mentor (sponsor) asks you to provide a reflection paper or similar report, however, you should follow his/her instructions.