MPH Applied Practice Experience

MPH students demonstrate competency attainment through an Applied Practice Experience (APE). Experiences may be concentrated in time or may be spread throughout a student's enrollment. We encourage MPH students to complete their APE in one term. If there is a need to extend beyond one term, then the student will receive an Incomplete ("I") grade, assuming there has been either demonstration of good progress or there was a delay due to extenuating factors. Students can select one of the three options below for their APE.  The most common APE students select is the practicum.

Practicum or Internship (completed during a summer or academic term)
An example is unpaid or paid, full-time or part-time work by an MPH student to gain applied practice at one of more agencies or organizations, under the guidance of a site preceptor, for a total minimum of 120 hours.

Course-based (e.g., PUBHLTH 7189) activities (e.g., performing a needed task for a public health or health care organization under the supervision of a faculty member as an individual or group of students)..An example is unpaid or paid, full-time or part-time work by an MPH student assisting a faculty member who is in turn assisting an agency or organization (e.g., local or state agency; hospital/health care system) for a total of minimum of 120 hours).

Activities linked to service learning, as defined by the program, school or university... An example is activity by an MPH student within an approved service-learning course involving a form of experiential education characterized by student participation in an organized service activity that (1) is connected to specific learning outcomes; (2) meets identified community need(s); and (3) provides structured time for students reflection and connection of the service experience to learning (Ohio State Office Service Learning) for a total minimum of 120 hours.

APE Settings
APE may involve governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial and for-profit settings or appropriate university-affiliated settings. To be appropriate for applied practice experience activities, university-affiliated settings must be primarily focused on community engagement, typically with external partners.  University health promotion wellness centers may also be appropriate. The school or program identifies sites in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the agencies or organizations involved. Activities meeting APE should be mutually beneficial to both the site and the student. The APE allow each student to demonstrate attainment of at least five competencies, of which at least three must be foundational competencies (as defined in Criterion D.2.)The school or program assesses each student's competency attainment in practical and applied settings through a portfolio approach which reviews practical, applied work products that were produced for the site's use and benefit. Review of the student's performance in the APE must be based on at least two practical,  non-academic work-products and on validating that the work products demonstrate the student's attainment of the designated competencies.

Examples of Suitable Work Products
Examples of suitable work products include:

  • project plans
  • grant proposals
  • training manuals
  • lesson plans
  • surveys
  • memos
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • presentations
  • spreadsheets
  • websites
  • photos (with accompanying explanatory text)
  • other digital artifacts of learning.  

Note: " Reflection papers, contact log hours, scholarly papers prepared to allow faculty to assess the experience, poster presentations, and other documents required for academic purposes may not be counted toward the minimum of two work products".

The materials may originate from multiple experiences (e.g., applied community-based courses and service-learning courses throughout the curriculum) or single, intensive experience (e.g., an internship requiring a significant time commitment with one site). While students may complete experiences as individuals or as groups in a structuredexperience each student must present two products demonstrating individual competency attainment.  Combined degree students have the opportunities to integrate and apply their learning from both degree programs through applied practice experiences.  The school or program structures applied practice experience requirements to support its mission and students' career goals, to the extent possible.

Fulfilling the APE Requirements

Prior to Enrollment in the Applied Practice Experience
Note: Most students typically enroll in the APE in the summer of the first year in the MPH Program 

  • Students must complete at least 20 hours of course work in the MPH Program. PEP students must have at least 15 hours of course work completed.
  • Attend an APE Orientation Session which is held in autumn semester. Information to register for APE orientations can be found on the career events page  
  • Utilize resources in autumn semester to explore APE opportunities (Attend career fairs, Handshake, Faculty Advisor, Coordinator, Student Newsletter, or organizational websites)
  • Identity a main contact at the APE site/agency who agrees to serve as the APE site supervisor
  • Work with the APE site supervisor and your faculty advisor to develop goals, competencies, and proposed deliverables 
  • Complete the Online Learning Agreement and obtain approval 

 APE Deliverables

1. (APE) Final report   
2. (APE) Work-Product #1
3. (APE) Work-product #2
4. Student Evaluation
5. Preceptor Evaluation
6. Faculty Advisor Evaluation

At the completion of the (APE), the student will submit a final report. The final report should be an integrated discussion of APE goals and objectives in addition to an assessment of the extent to which the APE experience allowed the student the opportunity to address the three foundational competencies and two specialization competencies as outlined in the students learning agreement. The list of competencies can be found here .

Students (How to Plan for the APE Experience)

Faculty (Advising MPH students with the APE)

Preceptors (Working with APE students)