MPH Internship

MPH Internship

MPH graduate program

Develop professional capabilities, build networks and learn from experts in the field


MPH Internship Coordinator
Tonya Johnson, MPH
[email protected]
Women’s Building 203B

About the internship

The MPH internship is a carefully planned 200-hour professional experience in which students apply the knowledge, skills, and theories learned in the classroom in real-world settings. It is an opportunity for students to demonstrate professional competency in a public health practice setting, while building networks and learning from experts in the field.

The internship is a 6 credit course (H510), which can be completed in one or two consecutive terms (1 term = 20 hours per week for 10 weeks, 6 credits; 2 terms = 10 hours per week for 20 weeks, 3 credits per term).

Prior to the start of the internship, the student completes an “H510 Learning Agreement”, which outlines the learning objectives, tasks/activities, deliverables, and competencies that will be met in the internship. The learning agreement is due by Friday of Week 10 the term before the internship starts.

Throughout the internship, students complete a few required assignments (e.g., discussion boards, evaluations, summaries, internship portfolio, etc), which are submitted through the H510 Canvas site.

Internship course learning outcomes

  • Apply new and existing skills in the field of public health under preceptor supervision.
  • Apply MPH coursework in real-world settings.
  • Articulate and examine the profession of public health and sub-specialties within the field.
  • Demonstrate increased independence, capacity and professionalism in preparation for post-MPH career.

Internship Requirements

The internship is a required course for the MPH degree. As stated in the   MPH Internship Handbook, the following criteria must be met for the internship to take place:

  • Student has completed at least one full academic year of coursework (at least 30 credits) 
  • Internship addresses at least 5 MPH competencies, and leads to at least 2 products (portfolio items)
  • Internship results in at least 200 hours of supervised/mentored work
  • Internship site and projects specifically relate to student’s MPH program option
  • Internship is completed at an organization based in the community
  • Preceptor (site supervisor) must have public health, or other appropriate health-related, credentials and sufficient experience in their field to provide mentorship and supervision of internships (e.g., at least 2 years of relevant experience + graduate degree; at least 5 years relevant experience + Bachelor’s degree).
  • Internship   H510 Learning Agreement is approved by the preceptor, faculty advisor, and MPH internship coordinator by week 10 of the term prior to the internship.

International students

Students with non-U.S. citizenship who are attending OSU on a visa must complete and file a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) application with the Office of International Services (OIS). This requirement is very important and must be complete before the internship begins. International students must attend the required CPT workshop in advance.

The OIS requires the following:

  • CPT application
  • Statement of objectives
  • I-94
  • Offer letter from internship site

Things that don’t meet requirements

While valuable, the following opportunities do not meet the internship requirements (thus will not be approved):

  • Academic faculty member as preceptor
  • OSU academic department as the internship site
  • Internships outside of program option
  • Internships completed in first year of the MPH program
  • Internships completed at current place of employment (unless the internship duties and supervisor are completely different from current paid position)

Internship planning process


Step 1

Approx. 2 terms in advance

  • Read the   MPH Internship Handbook
  • Complete MPH Internship Orientation (in Canvas or in-person) – contact MPH internship coordinator for details

Step 2

Approx. 2 terms in advance

  • Do preliminary thinking about areas of interest and potential placements
  • If considering International placement meet with IE3 Advisor regarding requirements “3 terms in advance”

Step 3

Approx. 1-2 terms in advance

  • Meet with MPH Internship Coordinator and faculty advisor to discuss ideas and receive further direction.

Step 4

Approx. 1-2 terms in advance

  • Research potential sites for availability of placements, type of work environment, and range of opportunities.
  • Identify a selection of sites

Step 5

Approx. 1 term in advance

  • Contact site(s) of interest
    • discuss activities and terms of placement
  • Make final decisions.
  • Complete   H510 Learning Agreement in consultation with preceptor, faculty advisor, and MPH Internship Coordinator

Step 6

Due week 10 of the term PRIOR to internship placement

Revise and submit signed copies of the following to faculty advisor and MPH Internship Coordinator

  • Final   H510 Learning Agreement
  • Advisor Internship Approval Form
  • MPH Internship Coordinator Signature Form
  • Preceptor Signature Form

Note You will not be able to register for H510 credits until your paperwork has been received by the Internship Coordinator

Step 7

See University Academic Calendar for registration deadlines

  • Receive override from the MPH Internship Coordinator to register.
  • Register for H510 credits
  • You must register for H510 credits for the entire duration of actual internship
  • Set schedule with preceptor
  • Be prepared to complete the internship hours and assignments (see H510 Canvas site) as soon as the term begins.

Finding an Internship

Students are responsible for finding an internship site with support from the MPH Internship Coordinator and faculty advisor. Students find internships in many different ways.

Some ideas might be:

Internship postings

Internship Postings are sent out via student listserv and posted in Module 6 of the “MPH Internship Orientation” in Canvas. Contact Tonya Johnson if you need access to the Canvas site.

Forms and Documents

International Internships

Plan early for an international internship!

Students from any MPH option may complete an international internship.

As one resource for pursuing international internships, students can contact IE3 / OSU GO to discuss their internship, current University policies, and safety protocols. IE3 has a variety of internship opportunities available, and is also available to work with students on individualized internships if desired.

Due to extra lead time needed to plan international internships, students should contact IE3/OSU GO at least three terms in advance of an international internship.

MPH Internship Examples

  • Work with health system to develop study question, analyze data, and make inferences from the data to improve patient outcomes
  • Work with state health department to develop a model methodology for health impacts of wildfires
  • Work with research program to develop new study question, analyze data, and make inferences from the data

  • Work with Environmental Health and Safety department to develop and implement a Near-miss Management system
  • Work with industry partner to assess occupational safety hazards and make recommendations for improvements
  • Work with government agency to assess level of environmental hazard in a targeted region.

  • Work with state health department to investigate food borne illness outbreaks
  • Work with health department to conduct an epidemiological study of 10-year trends of sexually transmitted infections
  • Work with non-profit on epidemiological study of malnutrition

  • Work with non-profit to conduct and analyze key informant interviews among refugee populations in Oregon to identify areas of significant need
  • Work with NGO to assess child nutrition needs in India and develop culturally responsive educational materials
  • Work with village in Botswana to assess reproductive health needs

  • Work with non-profit to develop a program plan for a culturally responsive intervention
  • Work with health department to develop and pilot a food environment observation tool
  • Work with public health firm to conduct health promotion program evaluations

  • Engage community coalitions in prioritizing areas of need, and identifying evidence-based strategies to address those needs
  • Work with health system to analyze patient experience data and make quality improvement recommendations  
  • Work with health system to develop policies and procedures for implementing a patient advisory council

  • Work with health coalition to conduct and analyze a readiness assessment; prepare recommendations based on findings
  • Work with state health department to assess barriers to accessing school based health centers and identify policy recommendations to address barriers
  • Work with health department and stakeholders to conduct a health equity assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Be sure to check through the H510 FAQ to see if it is already answered.


MPH Internship Coordinator
Tonya Johnson, MPH
[email protected]
Women’s Building 203B