MPH Integrative Learning Experience Project

The integrative learning experience project allows Master of Public Health students to immerse themselves in a public health project, demonstrating their understanding of foundational and specialization competencies gained during their program.

This culminating experience can take many forms, such as an applied research or practice-based project, and includes a high-quality written product that reflects a student’s educational and professional objectives.

Students complete the experience at or near the end of the program and it may be done individually or as a group project. In group experiences, the school or program documents that the experience provides opportunities for individualized assessment of outcomes.

Project types

Depending on the specialization or program, projects may include:

Research paper or report

Examples include hypothesis- and non-hypothesis-based research, investigative, exploratory, or program evaluation activities under the guidance of a faculty member that generate quantitative and/or qualitative data relevant to a current public health issue and need.

Training manual

Examples include researching literature and developing worker public health-related practices and procedures for incorporation into hardcopy or digital manuals for agencies or organizations and used for purposes such as infection prevention and control, conducting outbreak investigation, conducting inspections at food service establishments, etc.

Legislative Testimony, Advocacy, or Policy Statements

Examples include researching literature and gathering other information from public documents, media, interviews, focus groups, and other applicable sources to develop testimony, advocacy, or policy statements regarding a current public health issue and need.

Students, in consultation with faculty, select foundational and specialization-specific competencies appropriate to the student’s educational and professional goals and the project. At least three competencies must be demonstrated and may include two foundational and one specialization competency, or two specialization and one foundational competency. 

Integrative learning experience projects should be developed and delivered in a manner that is useful to external stakeholders, such as non-profit or governmental organizations. Regardless of form, the student produces a high-quality written product that is appropriate for the student’s educational and professional objectives. A poster presentation is not an acceptable written product.

Projects involving human subjects must adhere to policies and procedures of the Ohio State’s Institutional Review Board. Projects involving infectious agents must adhere to the Institutional Biosafety Committee policies. Research involving animals must adhere to policies of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.


Assessment ensure a minimum of two faculty members reviews each student’s performance and the experience addresses the selected foundational and program/specialization specific competencies. Faculty assessment may be supplemented with assessments from other qualified individuals such as preceptors.

Combined (dual, joint, concurrent) degree students should have opportunities to incorporate their learning from both degree programs in a unique integrative experience. Documentation includes how the project ensures that the experience demonstrates synthesis of competencies.

Student Instructions

Check with your MPH specialization advisor or specialization program director to determine which options are permitted for your specialization.

Be thinking about possible ILE projects and appropriate faculty to work with to complete your proposed project. Your academic advisor should be a primary resource for this purpose, but you may also rely on other faculty within the Division or Program, College, or University. College and Division seminars are also useful in generating possible ideas for the ILE. The idea stage for preparing your ILE project should occur within the first two semesters of your MPH academic program.

Students may choose to complete a group ILE project. All students completing an MPH group ILE project must follow the guidelines that are established for the College of Public Health. The following guidelines specifically address additional guidelines that must be followed for any group MPH ILE projects completed by graduate students in the College of Public Health. Group ILE projects involve collaboration and careful attention to academic honesty must be applied to group work.

Group Project Guidelines

This likely will be your academic advisor; however, if there is a more appropriate faculty member to serve as advisor for your ILE project, you should formally move to change advisors (form available in the CPH Graduate Student Handbook). The ILE project advisor does need to be a College of Public Health faculty member from your division/program. Consult with your advisor and identify a faculty member from within your division/program who has an interest aligned with your ILE project interests.

If required by your Division/Program, consult with your advisor about the process for submitting a proposal.

Consult with your advisor to identify a second faculty member from within the university who will serve as the second reader for your ILE project. Both faculty members must have category M or P Graduate Faculty status at Ohio State. Any exceptions must be approved by the Division Chair/Program Director and the ASGC Chair. MPH programs and specializations may be more restrictive regarding committee membership, such as requiring that both faculty members must have a primary appointment in the College of Public Health.

Keep your committee, and especially your advisor, informed about your progress, and do not hesitate to ask for feedback or help as you progress.

Master of Public Health Integrative Learning Experience timeline

Download timeline

Project Guidelines

Review the instructions and guidelines on how to develop a public health project specific to your specialization or program.