Applied Practical Experience (MPH)

In order to complete the Applied Practical Experience, it is required that all first year MPH students in the face-to-face and online programs complete at least 8 of the 12 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.

DSPH MPH students complete public health practice activities throughout their curriculum. The formal practice requirement is the Applied Practical Experience (APE). This 120-hour experience constitutes a supervised, hands-on public health opportunity within a public health practice setting alongside one of DSPH’s community partner organizations. For all MPH programs, the APE must result in the creation of two deliverables that demonstrate attainment of a minimum of five CEPH Foundational Competencies. The APE for most programs is distinct from the Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) and requires collaboration with an external organization. Please review the listed resources for APE below.

APE Timelines

For students on a full-time plan of study (5 or 6 quarters), APE generally occurs in the spring and/or summer of their first year. For students on a part-time plan of study, APE generally occurs in either the spring and/or summer of either their first or second year. For all programs, APE fulfills the PBHL500 course requirement, must occur after the successful completion of PBHL 510 & 511, and must be completed before starting their ILE. Students should review this document to review important deadlines and due dates for securing and approving their APE.

Practice Plan

A Practice Plan must be submitted by all students by February 15 in their first year of the MPH program. This plan simply asks whether or not an APE is secured – all students should complete this form regardless of whether they have an APE lined up or not.

Learning Agreement

A Learning Agreement is a necessary document for APE approval and must be approved prior to the quarter in which APE is to begin (see deadlines in timeline document above). The template for the Learning Agreement can be found here and be submitted via this link 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 from data collection and analysis, to policy assessment, to program design and evaluation, etc. 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 8 Professional Development Series (PDS) sessions 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 in order to receive PDS attendance credit. Review upcoming and past workshops.

Finding an APE

There are generally three avenues that MPH students secure placements: (1) through their own independent networking, (2) with faculty mentor support, or (2) through opportunities posted on Symplicity and Handshake. Note that these sites are resources for your APE search, but all potential opportunities should be discussed with your faculty mentor to ensure appropriateness for APE requirements and your specific interests. For more ways to find a project or internship, review the Internship and Job Search resources available on DASH.

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. 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. Use this document as inspiration for considering what you may like to do for APE and in seeking out connections with potential preceptors.

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

APE Overview for Preceptors

Use this document as talking points in describing 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.

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