Applied Practical Experience (MPH)

In order to complete the Applied Practical Experience, it is required that first year MPH students* complete at least 6 of the 9 offered Professional Development Series workshops. To view the schedule of upcoming workshops as well as recordings of prior workshops, visit the Professional Development Series page.

*The following programs are excluded from this requirement: BA, BS, BA/MPH, BS/MPH, MS, MD/MPH, JD/MPH, EMPH, PhD and DrPH.

DSPH MPH students complete public health practice activities throughout their curriculum. The formal practice requirement is the Applied Practical Experience (APE). This experience constitutes a supervised, hands-on public health opportunity within a public health practice setting alongside one of DSPH’s community partner organizations, at a student’s current workplace, or any approved external site. For all MPH programs, the APE must result in the creation of three CEPH Foundational Competencies and two Major Competencies.  . The APE for most programs requires approximately 120 hours of dedicated time and is distinct from the Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) and requires collaboration with an external organization. Please review the listed resources for APE below.

Note: All students interested in engaging in a project at their workplace must complete tasks that are outside of their current job duties. The APE may be combined with the Independent Study if it is an internship or a consulting project, or it may be a separate experience. (Note: the experience that is solely research within an academic institution may not satisfy program requirements.)

APE Timelines
APE Timelines

The APE fulfills the PBHL500 course requirement (after the successful completion of PBHL 510 & 511) and should be completed before starting Integrated Learning Experience (ILE). Students should review the following APE Practice for important deadlines and due dates to ensure that their APE secured and approved.

Students should review this document to review important deadlines and due dates for securing and approving their APE.







Practice Plan

August 3rd

August 3rd

February 15th

February 15th

Searching for an APE





Discuss Practice Plan





Submit Learning Agreement to Faculty Mentor and Preceptor

August 15th

December 13th

Mar 1st

May 17th

Submit Completed Learning Agreement

August 31st

December 6th

Mar 15th

May 31st

2023 Deadline extended to June 7th

Note: International Students must complete and submit Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Paperwork by the end of the current term, before the term they would like to complete their APE in. See form.

Practice Plan
Practice Plan

A Practice Plan must be submitted by all students by February 15 in their first year of the MPH program. All students should complete this form regardless of whether they have an APE lined up or not. The Practice Plan enables staff to get a sense of where are students are in the process of acquiring and APE as long as where their interest are so that we can better reach out to partners with internship opportunities.

Learning Agreement
Learning Agreement

The Learning Agreement an agreement between preceptors, students, and the students faculty mentor is a necessary document for APE approval. The learning agreement enables all parties to have a clear understanding of the scope of the internship, the timeline, as well as what deliverables must be met. The Learning agreement must be approved and signed by all parties prior to the quarter in which APE is to begin (see deadlines in timeline document above).

Review the template for the Learning Agreement.

Submit your Learning Agreement for approval.

What kind of deliverables am I expected to create and submit?

Students are expected to demonstrate at least five MPH Foundational Competencies through two deliverables. These skills range may range from but are not limited to: data collection and analysis, to policy assessment, to program design and evaluation. Therefore, the deliverables students submit may vary. Often, these are in the form of policy briefs, reports (data analysis reports, program evaluations, needs assessments), health communication/education materials, presentations, or protocols/manuals. However, this is not an exhaustive list. 

What else do I have to complete before APE?

MPH students are expected to attend at least 6 Professional Development Series (PDS) workshops prior to receiving approval for their APE. Many of these sessions are recorded, but it is not guaranteed that every session will be. Students must complete the evaluation to receive PDS attendance credit. Review upcoming workshops.

Finding an APE
Finding an APE

MPH students may secure placements through either: (1) their own independent networking, (2) with faculty mentor support, or (2) through opportunities posted on Symplicity and Handshake. For more ways to find a project or internship, review the Internship and Job Search resources available on DASH. All potential opportunities should be discussed with your faculty mentor to ensure appropriateness for the APE requirement and your specific interests.

Note: While many EMPH students are already working in the field of public health, it is expected that individuals elevate their professional careers by completing this degree; therefore, an experience that enhances the work in which students are already engaged is a key part of their education.

Preceptor Overview

The Preceptor Overview contains talking points that will aid you when in you engaging with potential preceptors about requirements for the APE. The Overview contains: an overview of the APE, responsibilities of the students, responsibilities of the preceptor, etc. This will aid in you in crafting the type of experience that you expect to have at their organization, the skills you’re hoping to learn, as well as general timelines and expectations. 

Past Project Guides
Past Project Guides

This document lists by topic and organization some of the past projects that students have completed while at DSPH for either APE or ILE during the 2020-2021 AY. This document can be used as inspiration for considering what you may like to do for your APE and in seeking out connections with potential preceptors. (*Note that these guides feature past projects and are not ones that are currently available, nor is there a guarantee that similar projects will be available in the future.)

Click here to see an example of an APE done by some of DSPH Executive MPH students.

Learn more about the options available to complete the Applied Practical Experience requirement.

Learn more by viewing previous Informational Sessions:

  • Review the Designing YOUR APE Information Session held on April 4, 2023.
    In this session, Tariem Burroughs, Director of Experiential Learning and Career Services, discusses how you can design your ideal APE and deliverables. We go over how to scale a project, how to connect competencies to deliverables, and how to develop an APE timeline.
  • Review the International Student APE Information Session held on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
    During this event, Kea Glenn, Associate Director of ISSS, and Tariem Burroughs, Director of Experiential Learning and Career Services, discuss regulations regarding any employment in the US or on-campus, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and volunteering/internships.
  • Review the APE Panel held on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 (passcode: 1GVgKF#x).
    During this event, Tariem Burroughs, Director of Experiential Learning and Career Services, moderates student panelists sharing their experiences going through the APE process, what it’s like doing an APE, and lessons learned from their APE experience.