Hosting an MPH intern

Hosting an MPH intern

MPH Internship

Information for Domestic Preceptors and Internship Sites

Thanks so much for your interest in learning more about hosting an MPH Intern.  Please review the details below, and reach out to the MPH Internship Coordinator – Tonya Johnson – at any time with questions.

About the MPH Internship

An internship is an experiential learning opportunity in which students apply their skills and knowledge in a work setting. It is different from a regular job in that it is centered on the educational experience and learning objectives, is time-limited, does not displace employees, and involves regular engagement with and feedback from a qualified preceptor.

The MPH internship is a 200-hour mentored experience, in which students work with a public health-related organization and develop at least 2 products/deliverables that demonstrate at least 5 MPH competencies. The MPH internship can be completed in one or two consecutive ten week terms.

Preceptor Step-by-Step Process

Learn the key details about the MPH internship through:

Please check with your site to see what onboarding requirements are needed, and follow the process accordingly. This might include things like background checks, drug screenings, trainings, etc.

Some sites also require an Affiliation Agreement between OSU and the Site to host interns. If an Affiliation Agreement is needed, please contact the MPH Internship Coordinator as soon as possible to initiate the process.

(Due to the volume of agreements that the OSU contracts office processes, setting up an Agreement can take several weeks to months, depending on the complexity).



It is not OSU policy to perform background checks on all OSU students, and OSU does not certify and/or vouch for the background of the students who participate in an internship. Accordingly, conduct your own background check, or require the student to obtain a background check, if you would like to determine fitness for duty using that information.

  If you have already identified a student for your project, skip to step 6.

The best projects are those that are well-defined, specific, and can be completed in a specified time period.  

Consider the needs of your organization and how a project could fulfill that need. Think about what products or deliverables the student could develop.

MPH internships must result in at least 2 products that demonstrate at least 5 MPH competencies. Also consider what qualifications are needed to complete the project.

Next, develop a position description (see bulleted list of suggested information to include below). Feel free to use or modify this Internship Position Description template if you’d like.     

  • Organization Description
  • Project Description and/or duties
  • Proposed products / deliverables
  • Time frame
  • Location (in-person, hybrid, remote)
  • Compensation
  • Qualifications
  • How to Apply, including application deadline

Email position description to the MPH Internship Coordinator, Tonya Johnson.

She will send out the opportunity to MPH students. Feel free to post the opportunity through other means as well (e.g., Handshake, LinkedIn, etc)

Follow your organization's screening and selection process. You're welcome to interview as many students as you are able. Once an intern has been selected, please inform the other applicants that the position has been filled so they know that they need to continue to seek out other opportunities.

Meet with student to discuss the internship project and proposed products. The student will use this information to develop the H510 Learning Agreement, which is a document that outlines the project scope, activities, learning objectives, and MPH competencies. It is helpful to work with the student to come to a consensus on the project scope, activities, products/deliverables*, and timeline. The student is required to submit and receive approval for the learning agreement prior to the start of the internship (by Friday of Week 10 the term before the internship).

Review onboarding requirements with the student, such as background checks, drug screening, trainings, etc. Provide a timeline for when the onboarding requirements will need to be met. It is also recommended to discuss a work schedule, as well as organizational culture and expectations for working at the site, such as communication processes, procedures for absences, computer access, etc.

*Note, upon completion of the internship, students are required to produce at least 2 tangible, applied work products (deliverables) developed for the internship site and turned in to OSU.

Provide the student with necessary information, guidance, instruction, and supervision for them to develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to successfully carry out the project. Regular engagement with and feedback from the preceptor is key to internship success.

Schedule at least weekly check-ins with the student to discuss project progress and provide mentorship/feedback. It's also helpful if you are able to introduce the student to staff, administration and stakeholders, as well as invite the student intern to relevant project and stakeholder meetings. This can greatly enhance the student's learning and understanding of public health work.

Feedback is important to the student’s growth and development. As such, preceptors are asked to complete a midway progress report half-way through the internship, and a final evaluation of work performance and work products at the end of the internship. The preceptor also signs off on hours completed at the end of the internship.

Preceptor Responsibilities

The preceptor oversees, mentors and supervises the student during the internship experience. Qualified preceptors possess public health credentials and/or sufficient public health experience to mentor the student in applying knowledge/skills and completing the internship project.

The preceptor:

  • Envisions the internship project
  • Selects student for the internship project
  • Supports student in developing the Internship Learning Agreement; signs off on agreement
  • Informs the organization’s leadership about the internship, and identifies a co-preceptor if needed
  • Communicates any onboarding procedures such as background checks, orientation, etc.
  • Provides a safe working space and access to necessary equipment/materials (for onsite internships)
  • Meets with the student intern regularly (at least weekly) for project feedback and guidance.
  • Invites student to team meetings and other relevant meetings, as appropriate.
  • Completes midway and final evaluation of the student intern, including the degree to which the learning objectives and competencies were met.
  • Confers with MPH internship coordinator if issues arise.