Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to register for the practicum and is a faculty approval code required?
Yes. Students wishing to conduct a practicum register for course PH 9997. Before registering, you must complete a learning contract.  The Office of Public Health Practice will email you a registration code after your learning contract. Please review and follow the step-by-step instructions for MPH and DrPH students on the practicum website as you prepare for and complete your practicum.

Are there any prerequisites to register for practicum?
No, there are no curricular prerequisites to register for practicum; however, we recommend that students complete their core courses before enrolling in a practicum. Consult your faculty advisor to help you determine the ideal time to complete your practicum.  

Do you have practicum opportunities available?
Current opportunities are listed at Find a Practicum.  (To access this site, you must be logged into the UTHealth intranet).  Many students design their own practicum projects with the help of their faculty mentor and/or preceptor.

May I complete the practicum requirement at my own place of employment?
Yes.  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, but you must first submit a learning contract. See reply to the question above. You will register and receive credit for the practicum course the following semester.  

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 additional requirements for international students to start a practicum?
Yes. See the International Students tab under the main Practicum webpage to learn more about obtain Curricular Practical Training (CPT) approval. 

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 waive the practicum requirement?
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?
No.  A single person cannot serve both the preceptor and faculty mentor roles on the same practicum. 

I can't find the practicum course on Canvas. What should I do?
The practicum course 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.. 

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 asks you to provide a reflection paper or similar report, however, you should follow his/her instructions.